John Ostrander
John Ostrander at the 2009 Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration
Born (1949-04-20) April 20, 1949 (age 74)
Notable works
Eternal Warrior
Martian Manhunter
The Spectre
Star Wars: Legacy
Suicide Squad
Spouse(s)Kim Yale

John Ostrander (born April 20, 1949[1]) is an American writer of comic books, including Suicide Squad, Grimjack and Star Wars: Legacy.

He co-created the Oracle persona for Barbara Gordon and created the second and modern version of the antihero/supervillain team the Suicide Squad, of which the films Suicide Squad (2016) and The Suicide Squad (2021) are based on.


Ostrander studied theology with the intent of becoming a Catholic priest,[2] but now describes himself as an agnostic.[3]

Originally an actor in the Organic Theater Company in Chicago, Ostrander moved into writing comics in 1983.[4] His first published works were stories about the character "Sargon, Mistress of War", and appeared in the First Comics series Warp!, based on a series of plays by that same Chicago theatre company. He and Timothy Truman co-created the character Grimjack, who originally appeared in a backup story in the First Comics title, Starslayer, before receiving his own title. Just prior to entering the comics industry, Ostrander had a supporting character named for him in The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl series. His friend, writer Paul Kupperberg, incorporated him into the Supergirl storyline in 1982.[5]

Ostrander made his DC Comics debut by plotting the miniseries Legends, which was scripted by Len Wein and penciled by John Byrne.[6] A new version of the Suicide Squad was introduced in Legends, including the team's leader, Amanda Waller.[7] The character has been substantially adapted into animated and live-action media and is portrayed by Viola Davis in the 2016 film Suicide Squad and the 2021 The Suicide Squad. Following Legends, Ostrander and artist Luke McDonnell launched the Suicide Squad into their own title in 1987[8] and developed several characters for the series.[9] Later that same year, he and actor/writer Del Close created the Wasteland series with a rotating roster of artists.[10] He and Close had previously worked together on Munden's Bar backup stories in Grimjack.[11]

From 1987 until her death from breast cancer in 1997, Ostrander frequently co-wrote with his wife Kim Yale including on the Manhunter series.[4] It was while working together on Suicide Squad that they recast Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, into the information and computer specialist Oracle.[12]

Ostrander has been a frequent collaborator with artist Tom Mandrake. They have worked together on Grimjack, Firestorm the Nuclear Man, The Spectre, and Martian Manhunter.[13] Ostrander's in-depth explorations of morality were used in his work writing The Spectre,[14] a DC Comics series about the manifestation of the wrath of God. His focus on the character's human aspect, a dead police detective from the 1930s named Jim Corrigan, and his exploration of moral and theological themes. In issue #54 (June 1997), the creative team introduced the character Michael Holt as a new version of Mister Terrific.[15] Following the end of The Spectre series, they moved onto a Martian Manhunter series.[16] In December 2006, a story-arc titled "Grotesk" by Ostrander and Mandrake appeared in Batman issues 659–662.[17]

In 1990, Ostrander launched an ongoing Hawkworld series[4] which followed Timothy Truman's limited series of the same name. In 1993, the title was cancelled and relaunched as Hawkman with art by Jan Duursema.[18]

At Marvel Comics, Ostrander has worked on X-Men, Bishop, Quicksilver, Heroes for Hire and the Punisher, as well as the Western mini-series Blaze of Glory: The Last Ride of the Western Heroes.[19]

He has written the Elfquest character Jink for WaRP Graphics, Hotspur for Eclipse Comics; Lady Death for Chaos! Comics; Magnus, Robot Fighter, Rai and the Future Force and Eternal Warrior for Valiant Comics. He was one of the main writers on Star Wars: Republic for Dark Horse Comics, and his story arcs include "Twilight", "Darkness", and "The Clone Wars" stories. He is the writer of Star Wars: Legacy.[4] An unreleased Doctor Who audio drama titled "Deadman's Hand" was written by Ostrander for Big Finish Productions. As announced, the story was to feature the Seventh Doctor,[20] Ace and Hex[21] in the American wild west.[20]

Ostrander contributed to the Silver Age Sentinels short story anthologies from Guardians of Order.[22] He was nominated for the Comics Buyer's Guide Award for Favorite Writer in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. In 2010, he co-wrote Secret Six issues 14–18 with writer Gail Simone.[9] Ostrander maintains an online presence on the World Famous Comics Network[23] and writes a weekly column on the ComicMix site.[24] Ostrander has a cameo as Dr. Fitzgibbon in the 2021 film The Suicide Squad.[25]

Personal life

Ostrander suffers from glaucoma. To help cover the costs incurred by his treatment for it, a benefit auction was organized for the 2009 Chicago Comic Con.[9][26]


Dark Horse Comics

  • Comics' Greatest World Out of the Vortex #1–3 (1993)
  • Predator vs. Magnus Robot Fighter #1–2 (1992)
  • Star Wars #19–22, 32–45 (2000–2002)
  • Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #1–5 (2011–2012)
  • Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #1–5 (2012–2013)
  • Star Wars: Boba Fett: Agent of Doom (2000)
  • Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi #0–5 (2012)
  • Star Wars: Jedi: Aayla Secura #1 (2003)
  • Star Wars: Jedi: Count Dooku #1 (2003)
  • Star Wars: Jedi: Mace Windu #1 (2003)
  • Star Wars: Jedi: Shaak Ti #1 (2003)
  • Star Wars: Legacy #0–50, 0 12 (2006–2010)
  • Star Wars: Legacy: War #1–6 (2010–2011)
  • Star Wars: Purge #1 (2005)
  • Star Wars: Purge: Seconds to Die #1 (2009)
  • Star Wars: Republic #19–22, 32–35, 46–50, 54, 59, 61–66, 68–78, 81–83 (2001–2006)
  • Star Wars Tales #3, 8 (2000–2001)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Volume 3: The Wind Raiders of Taloraan (2009)

DC Comics

First Comics

Image Comics

Marvel Comics

Valiant Comics


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Brian John (January 2005). "John Ostrander Interview January 2005". QRD. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. I was raised [Roman Catholic] and even thought of becoming a priest, to the point of going to the seminary for a year.
  3. ^ Ostrander, John (September 18, 2008). "Economic Fundamentalists". ComicMix. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. If I'm an agnostic about deities, I might as well doubt economists, too.
  4. ^ a b c d John Ostrander at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 1-893905-61-6.
  6. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. DC's next big crossover showcased John Byrne's pencils on all six of the miniseries' issues. Entitled Legends, this new limited series was plotted by writer John Ostrander and scripted by Len Wein...By the series' end, the stage was set for several new ongoing titles, including...the Suicide Squad, as well as the Justice League. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Riesman, Abraham (August 4, 2016). "The Progressive, Controversial History of Suicide Squad's Amanda Waller". Vulture. Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Readers met the reluctant foot soldiers of Task Force X — informally known as the Suicide Squad — who were directed by Waller and corraled in the field by [Rick] Flag.
  8. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 228: "Writer John Ostrander gave the new Suicide Squad its own series, having brought the team to life in 1986's Legends miniseries...With the team's own title, Ostrander was helped by artist Luke McDonnell."
  9. ^ a b c Armitage, Hugh (February 6, 2010). "Ostrander, Simone 'Six' team-up concludes". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  10. ^ Fryer, Kim (July 1987). "DC News". The Comics Journal. Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books (116): 28.
  11. ^ Fiffe, Michel. "WASTELAND: The John Ostrander Interview," Factual Opinion (March 6, 2012).
  12. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 239: "Barbara [Gordon] set herself as an information guru...Called Oracle, Barbara was recruited by the Suicide Squad in the pages of issue #23 of the Squad's comic, written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, and pencilled by Luke McDonnell."
  13. ^ "John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake collaborations". Grand Comics Database. n.d.
  14. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 255: "The crime fighter from beyond the grave, the Spectre, was back in a new series by writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake."
  15. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 279: "The Spectre ongoing series was nearing its end, but that didn't stop writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake from pooling their creative forces to create one of the DCU's newest shining stars...An inspired and reborn [Michael] Holt then picked up the mantle of Mr. Terrific."
  16. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 285: "The fan-favorite team of writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake, fresh off their lengthy run on The Spectre, were ready to take on another caped powerhouse with Martian Manhunter.
  17. ^ "DC Annunces [sic] Content Updates For "Batman" #659-662". Comic Book Resources. November 14, 2006. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 260: "Chicago had a guardian angel with armored wings in Hawkman's latest adventures by writer John Ostrander and artist Jan Duursema."
  19. ^ Watson, Polly, "Makin' History With John Ostrander", Published in The Marvel Comics July 1998 Catalogue, Dated July 1998
  20. ^ a b "The Inquisitor Returns!". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 341. Panini Comics. 31 March 2004. p. 6.
  21. ^ "Exclusive! Gary Russell Reveals the Future of the Eighth Doctor Audios - Final McGann 'Season'". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 343. Panini Comics. 26 May 2004. p. 4.
  22. ^ Appelcline, Shannon (2011). Designers & Dragons. Swindon, United Kingdom: Mongoose Publishing. p. 337. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  23. ^ The Official John Ostrander Message Board Archived 2007-03-23 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ John Ostrander's weekly column on ComicMix
  25. ^ Holmes, Adam (October 29, 2020). "The Suicide Squad Has A Cameo That Longtime DC Comics Fans Will Appreciate". CINEMABLEND. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  26. ^ Goellner, Caleb (July 22, 2009). "Help John Ostrander Fight Glaucoma". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
Preceded byChuck Dixon The Punisher writer 1995–1997 Succeeded byChristopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski Preceded byDevin K. Grayson Catwoman vol. 2 writer 1999–2000 Succeeded byBronwyn Carlton Preceded byRick Veitch Aquaman vol. 5 writer 2003–2004 Succeeded byWill Pfeifer Preceded byWill Pfeifer Aquaman vol. 5 writer 2004 Succeeded byJohn Arcudi