John Ostrander is an American writer of comics. Originally an actor in a Chicago theatre company, he moved into writing comics in 1983. His first published works were stories about "Sargon, Mistress of War" published in the First Comics series "Warp", based on a series of plays by that same Chicago theatre company. He is co-creator of the character Grimjack with Timothy Truman, published originally as a back up story in the First Comics title, Starslayer, before going on to appear in a comic of the same name, again published by First Comics in the mid 1980s. First Comics ceased publication in 1991, and Ostrander went on to work at other comics companies.
Prior to his career in comic books, Ostrander studied theology with the intent of becoming a Catholic priest. His in-depth explorations of morality were later used in his work writing The Spectre, a DC Comics series about the manifestation of the wrath of God. His focus on the character's human aspect, a dead cop named Jim Corrigan, and his exploration of moral and theological themes brought new life to a character often thought of as impossible to write. He has also worked on Firestorm, Justice League, Martian Manhunter, Manhunter, Suicide Squad, and Wasteland for DC.
From the mid-1980s until her death from breast cancer in 1997, Ostrander frequently co-wrote with his wife Kim Yale. It was while working with her that he made what is probably his most lasting contribution to the DC Universe: the recasting of Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, into the information and computer specialist Oracle.
At Marvel comics, Ostrander has also worked on X-Men, Bishop, Quicksilver, Heroes for Hire and the Punisher.
He has had a significant career at Dark Horse Comics as well, writing (or co-writing) the overwhelming majority of the company's Star Wars titles set in the prequel trilogy era, most notably the flagship title, Star Wars: Republic. His most significant contribution at Dark Horse is arguably his help in creating Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos, the only two characters who were created in comics and then moved to a Star Wars feature film.
Ostrander has also written for other comics companies: Hotspur
for Eclipse Comics; Lady Death
for Chaos! Comics; Magnus, Robot Fighter, Rai and the Future Force
, and Eternal Warrior
for Valiant Comics.