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Jai Nitz Wakes Up with "Dream Thief"

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  • Posted on 15th Sep, 2022 04:18 AM
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Comic Book Resources spoke with Jai Nitz about his upcoming "Dream Thief" from Dark Horse Comics, upending expectations, getting help from your friends and writing for yourself.

"What would you do if you woke up next to a dead body?"

This question provided the inception of "Dream Thief," Dark Horse Comics' gritty new creator-owned drama with a supernatural tinge by writer Jai Nitz ("Green Hornet") and artist Greg Smallwood The five issue miniseries debuts May 15 and follows the not-so-noble John Lincoln: a thief who finds himself a vessel for vengeful spirits after stealing an ancient mask from a museum.

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Nitz describes "Dream Thief" as a career-defining project, and to that end he's pouring everything he has into the book. Nitz recruited artist Greg Smallwood himself and tapped his network of friends in the comic book industry to illustrate a series of variant covers for the book.

Comic Book Resources spoke with Nitz about the process of bringing "Dream Thief" to life, the inspirations behind the story, what to do when you wake up next to a dead body and the power of a mask.

Jai, what's the story you're telling in "Dream Thief?" Where did it come from?

Nitz included Alex Ross' initial sketch with the pitch, which may or may not have helped Dark Horse decide to accept the book

How different is it working on your own title as opposed to working on an established property, such as your "Green Hornet" work? Is your process different, and do they offer different rewards or challenges?

The parameters are the same: 22 pages, write to the artist's strengths, entertain the reader.But the differences can be monumental.With "Green Hornet" I get the crutch that the reader already knows who the characters are and how they behave.But that crutch works against me, in that I can't repeat the stories or the emotional notes that previous writers have hit.If I do that, I'm cheating the reader out of his or her money, and that's not cool.I don't want to give people something they've read before.That carries over to a creator-owned book like "Dream Thief."I want to give readers a story they've never heard before.But also, there are challenges to telling people a new story.I have to lay a lot of groundwork while retaining clarity and entertaining the reader.

James Ellroy spoke to my screenwriting class at KU.He told me that instead of writing what you know, you should write what you want to read,because what you know can be boring, but what you want to read is always exciting to you.You can't worry about writing for this group or that guy; you should write for an audience of one -- yourself. If you write what you want to read, your audience will always be entertained.I don't know if that's myopic or the best advice I've ever received.The proof will be in "Dream Thief."

"Dream Thief" #1 debuts May 15.

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