Mark Waid Gets Grimm With Writer Jai Nitz

As we reach the penultimate Mark Waid interview, he sits down with Jai Nitz to talk about Grimm: The Warlock the Dynamite Entertainment series based on the popular TV show.

Mark Waid: Jai, how familiar were you with the GRIMM show before you started? Now? Where does the story "fit" in TV continuity?

Jai Nitz: When Dynamite originally announced that they got the license I immediately boned up on the show. I had been working monthly at Dynamite for a few years and I saw Grimm as a good opportunity to extend my streak. Then the show writers decided to write the comic and all my research was for naught. But the book sold pretty well, so they decided to do a spin off. All my research paid off.

MW: Talk to me a little about the cast. Who's there, how do they relate to one another, and what about them (if anything) are you drawing from your own life?

JN: The main thing I drew on from my life is my relationship with real police detectives. Their world-view is very different from how it's portrayed on TV. The boys in blue don't get much credit in most TV or movies. I wanted to make the cops as three-dimensional as the villains and supporting characters. The main character is Nick Burkhardt. He's a police detective in Portland who finds out he's from a long line of hunters of fairy-folk. The fairy-folk are called Wesen and the hunters are called Grimms. So, from jump street Nick is in a precarious position. He can't just go around killing citizens (even if they are werewolves or ogres) and he doesn't particularly want to kill people. So he finds this new middle ground as a lawman for extra-human crimes. Besides Nick we have his partner Hank who is in on his secret and his best friend Monroe who is a Blutbad (werewolf). Together they solve crimes and keep the forces of darkness at bay.

MW: How much freedom do you have as a storyteller on a book like this?

JN: A lot. Not much. Ha. It's like any licensed property. They trust you to tell a good story but they don't want you stepping on their toes. The way I pitched the book was "things you can only do in a comic" and the Grimm show people liked that angle. So they've left me alone on most story elements. They've had me change a detail here or there, but nothing major. The only time they had a major change I presented my case and they agreed after I explained it all better. So I've been pretty happy with the folks at NBC and my Dynamite editors.

MW: What is it about this story that makes you passionate to tell it?

JN: I like taking chances with my work. I like trying new storytelling techniques and tricks. Dynamite is a great place to do that because my editors trust me and the artists are game. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I feel like I'm giving every page my full effort and we're never cheating the fans. I feel the same way about Grimm: The Warlock. I have heard from A LOT of Grimm viewers and they've all responded positively to the comic. They appreciate that the comic isn't the show, but I still capture the voice of the characters. People digging my work makes me passionate.

MW: Fill in the blanks for me: If you're a fan of ____________ and _____________, you will really like Grimm: The Warlock.

JN: If you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Barney Miller you'll like Grimm: The Warlock. I think you and I might be the only people in the world who know what that means, but I stand by it.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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