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John Ostrander’s farewell letter from FIRESTORM #100

The second volume of Firestorm was cancelled at issue #100 during the summer of 1990. I was so bummed when this series ended! I still think the Elemental Firestorm run was an excellently written and drawn batch of comics. Writer John Ostrander published a letter to the fans in the back of issue #100 discussing the cancellation and his reasons for leaving. Click the image below to read the letter.

John Ostrander's farewell letter in Firestorm #100

If you’d like to read more, click here for the FIRESTORM FAN interview with John Ostrander!

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  1. I somewhat bitterly recall that letter. Especially how Ostrander considered (perhaps rightly) that it would be easier to bring the character back that much sooner if the book was cancelled while the character had a strong following.

    Firestorm showed up (still in Elemental form) in the War of the Gods mini-series (right on the heels of Shadowstorm making a surprise–and to date his ONLY–reappearance, in the pages of the final issues Captain Atom pre-Armageddon 2001), and that was it (not counting appearances of a Firestorm from the past, as in Armageddon: Inferno, which was little more than a cameo, anyway) for roughly 16 years.

  2. outburst says:

    Well DC is certainly cashing in on this the easy way these days. I think there is definitely some truth to it being harder to pick up new readers when you’re at issue 100 or more. People will look at that number and think “I’ll have a lot of back issues to hunt down if I’m into this.”

    But then re-starting a B-List title every 50 to 100 issues is somewhat frustrating too for loyal readers.

    I’ll admit that I’m one of the lost sales towards the end of it. I didn’t entirely mind the matrix switch-up and introduction of new personalities but when Firestorm stopped looking like Firestorm, stopped acting like Firestorm, I lost interest.

    Plain and simple, I was a young teen at this time. I used to fantasize that I could be Firestorm. It wasn’t Superman or Batman that I could associate with, it was the young, funny and mistake-prone Firestorm that seemed so easy to relate to.

    It’s not that Ostrander’s work was bad. The stories were actually probably a step up in a lot of ways. I tried keeping up with issues but it was a complete game-changer and was too much of a change for me.

    When it comes to our heroes, we’re a possessive bunch and I think by nature, humans don’t accept change very well. It’s why thousands of people throw up their internet arms over Superman’s disappearing underoos. And it’s why some of us breathe a sigh of relief now to see Ronnie Raymond back in the familiar red-and-yellow garb, even if it’s not all the same, it’s familiar enough to not be too much of a culture shock.

  3. Frank says:

    This is one of those stupid self-fulfilling prophesies of comics. Why hadn’t anyone heard about the Elemental Firestorm? Maybe because DC never promoted it worth a damn, if at all? What would be the point, seeing as its author decided “a while back” that it was his last major pass at the character before leaving with #100 anyway? As a major, non-commercial reorientation of the character, this would never have flown as a #1. Fans would have been indignant, and the avenue never pursued. If comics are never allowed to reach #90, then the opportunities to take such chances never arise. Maybe Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman would have taken a pass at this or a similarly extreme reinterpretation of Firestorm if given the chance, but no, let’s just end a book selling at least survival numbers so we can brag about everyone walking away rather than getting cancelled. It’s arrogant, cowardly, and anti-creative. John Ostrander got to play with this book after #50, with a locked-in audience, then denied anyone else the same opportunity. The stated logic was revealed as utterly fraudulent, since it took something like twelve years for a Firestorm relaunch to happen. Creators and editors just want the prestige and temporary sales bump of a new volume, so they can “own” the success and have an excuse to deny any failure on “their” part.

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