As the television series Grimm hits the midpoint of it's third season, Dynamite Entertainment is chugging along with their comic adaptions. Jai Nitz takes the writing reins on this new four-part story that cross monster hunting with basketball. Chris Roberson caught up with Nitz about the new series and his bad-mouthing a certain type of pastry.
CHRIS ROBERSON: Confession time: I haven't watched any of the GRIMM series yet. But I thought you did a fantastic job introducing the characters and their world in this first issue. Was it difficult to balance telling a story that would be welcoming to new readers as well as satisfying established fans?
JAI NITZ- It wasn't difficult, but I was cognizant of it. It's different from the normal comic book problem of character awareness, you know? I mean, readers may not know who the current Venom is, but they're aware of his powers and history. But with Grimm, I found that a lot of people had watched the show so the pressure was on to nail the characters immediately, and many readers had never seen the show, so I had to nail the characters and establish their origins.
CR: While I haven't watched the show myself, a lot of my friends here in Portland DO. And one of the things they always mention about the show is the use of Portland as a location. How important was the physical setting of this story to you?
JN- Using Portland as a location was the crux of my pitch. I wanted to use real locations that would be hard to shoot in for the television show for logistical and financial reasons. It'd be really REALLY hard to film an episode of Grimm during a Portland Trailblazers game. So that was the first place I set an issue. I had to work really hard not to make it an homage to the great Jean Claude Van Damme's Sudden Death.
CR: The "barrier negotiation" scene is a fantastic bit of writing on your part. Concise, compact, lets you know everything you need to know about the characters and established a lot more along the way, just in a small number of pages. But I take issue with you disrespecting the cake donut, sir! I'll have you know that some of us PREFER cake donuts. This isn't going to be a problem between us, is it?
JN- I think "fantastic" is a stretch. You're too kind. I did, however, read book after book about FBI hostage negotiators for an aborted pitch. So I have all this knowledge that I haven't used and I thought this would be a good place to use it. Glad it worked. I'm with you on the cake donut thing. I think if you ask most people, that's the one they'd pass on in the dozen box. You and I are the people who've had donuts so many times that we know the difference. So I tip my hat to your deeper understanding of the donut world.
CR: One of the things I liked most about this first issue is the way that it functions almost like a done-in-one standalone, but is clearly setting up a larger storyline at the same time. Do you have a preference one way or the other, short and self-contained or long and serialized?
JN- I wrote a series at Dynamite for the Green Hornet movie called Parallel Lives. It was a prequel to the movie and each chapter was a stand alone showing Kato's training (cars, gadgets, fighting, science, etc.). I'm really proud of that book and I know my editor thinks it's an under-appreciated gem at Dynamite. So when I pitched this mini I told him, because he's the only one who would get it, "it's like Parallel Lives, but for Grimm." He was on board after that. So, yeah, I designed it this way. I wanted each issue to be a one-and-done that built on the other chapters but they weren't required. The last issue, however, you kinda need to read them all to get the climax.
CR: And finally, what else are you working on that readers might be interested to hear about?
JN- The same day Grimm: The Warlock #1 comes out, I have a story in A+X #15 from Marvel. The cover artist on GtW, Greg Smallwood, handles the cover and interiors of the A+X story featuring Dr. Strange and Beast. Greg and I teamed up for Dream Thief from Dark Horse and the TPB of our first arc will be out in March. About the time that hits we'll have an announcement on Volume 2. In January we'll be announcing another new project of mine at Dark Horse, too. I've been working steadily at Dynamite for the last four years, so I expect something will be on the horizon after this mini comes out.
Grimm: The Warlock #1 is on sale now.