Tagged: Trump

John Ostrander Loses It

Twenty years ago this month saw the publication of the first issue of my twelve issue historical western, The Kents (which has since been gathered into a TPB and is on sale at Amazon, among other places; end of plug). The book chronicles how the ancestors of Clark Kent’s adoptive family came to live in Kansas and was set before, during, and after the Civil War.

Of all my work, this is one thing of which I’m exceptionally proud. I did a great deal of research for the project and while by no means a history per se, it has a great deal of history in it.

One of the goals I set for myself was to try to convey to the reader how the characters, the people, of that time felt about the events that engulfed them. We, of course, know how that conflict resolved itself but they did not. Was the nation going to tear itself apart? How many more would die? If I was a soldier, would I die or be wounded or maimed? Would my loved one live or die?

The same uncertainties apply to other conflicts, such as WWI and II, Korea and Vietnam. I recently saw the movie Dunkirk (which I found to be harrowing and brilliant) and, if you know anything about that story, you know how it winds up. However, what the movie makes so plain is that no one actually involved at the time had any real idea of how it would be resolved. If anything, they expected the British and French troops gathered at Dunkirk would be annihilated or captured.

Nobody today knows how our story will end. Over the past days / weeks / months of the Trump presidency, we’ve seen the country roil like a broken thing. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m 68 years old and I’ve never seen anything like it. I doubt not only the competence of the most powerful man in the world but his sanity. He lashes out not only at perceived enemies but at the very institutions that power our democracy.

All of us are in the middle of this story and we do not know how it will end. Do we all understand that it does not have to end well? Our country, our way of governing, is an experiment that could still fail. There is no reason that it has to survive. Every great country or civilization has fallen. Every single one. Some aspect of what they were may continue but the main substance collapses. There are those both within and without our borders who would see us ripped apart. And we appear to be doing it. Our survival is not a given and no one should assume it is.

How will our story be written, a hundred years from now? Will it be a story of triumph and, if so, whose triumph? Or will it be a story of tragedy and a fall from grace? Who will write that story?

Abraham Lincoln, in his famed Gettysburg Address, said, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated {to liberty}, can long endure.” That’s as true today as it was then.

Any bets?

Dennis O’Neil: Justice League Vs… Trump?


If I’d looked around my tiny, cluttered office, just before Marifran came through the door I would not have seen an Oujia Board, a tarot deck, a tortoise shell, an I Ching, tea leaves, an icoshedral apparatus, dice, Chinese coins, or even the astrology section of the Journal News. So why, when she arrived, did Marifran accuse me of being a fortune teller?

Don’t get me wrong. If you wat to believe that a deck of cards or the random formation of leaves in a cup can somehow reveal the future (or maybe even the past) or lay some coin on a nice lady who will study your palm and then…tell you something?

I’m skeptical of such business, but I’m not a total disbeliever mostly because a family friend, now gone, did some pretty inexplicable things like discerning an event in the past that Marifran does not talk about ever, not because it’s shameful but because it’s painful – this after she’d known Mari for less than an hour and refused any kind of reward. (By the way, this happened at a costume party, so Mari’s dress revealed nothing about her, though even if it had it wouldn’t help a fortune teller at work) Even if she’d accepted money, her feat would have been impressive, But she didn’t. Super impressive?

Which leaves me… where? Maybe just waiting for the jury to come in.

So…I’m waiting for the metaphorical jury to come in and instead, here comes the cute little schoolteacher and she’s saying something about me being a prophet. Huh?

Okay, back up an hour or two. I go out to get the papers and there, on the stoop, are two packages. Inside, I open them and, well, whaddaya know! Books. Big, big books. Several copies of The Bronze Age Justice League of America: Omnibus Volume One.

Lotta book there: 852 pages of story, the first published in 1969, the last in 1974. I wrote that lead story, catchily titled “Snapper Carr…Super Traitor.” In it, the JLA are trying to locate a bad guy who has technology that turns people into bullies. Eventually, they get a name for him, which is – wait for it – Trump. And on page 16, Batman thinks: I wondered what I’ve been locked in. The impromptu jail was a model of the new Trump Satellite.

The main plot concerns “Trump’s” using bigotry lies and hatred to mentally enslave the unsuspecting citizenry. There’s a final plot twist but I see no need for a spoiler alert here. You get the idea.

And I’m still not a believer. But… 48 years ago that piece appeared, long before I had the pleasure of knowing that Donald Trump existed. Coincidence? Okay. But a damn spooky one.