Dream Thief Interview with Jai Nitz

by Rob Caprilozzi

After stealing an Aboriginal mask from a museum, John Lincoln realizes that the spirits of the vengeful dead are possessing his body and mind while he sleeps! His old problems have been replaced by bloody hands and the disposal of bodies—and now remembering where he spent last night has never been more important!

We caught up with writer, Jai Nitz to talk about Dream Thief.

Horror News Network: How did you come up with the concept for Dream Thief?

Jai Nitz: There are a lot of little things that went into the genesis of DREAM THIEF. One of the main concepts I like to address is that superpowers would probably be more of a curse than a gift. The idea of being an infallible dispenser of justice would actually be a curse. Everyone wants justice to work without fail 100% of the time (that’s how we set up our Justice System), but it doesn’t. So if you had superpowers that made you deliver justice to murderers… meaning you kill murderers, it would be an unexplainable-to-the-law curse.

Dream Thief started with, “What would you do if you woke up next to a dead body?” I think about crazy stuff like that all the time. Maybe I’m weird. Maybe I’m creative. But putting me in that situation is different than putting John Lincoln in the same scenario. And that’s the fun of it. John Lincoln doesn’t behave the same way I do, so it’s fun to run the same horrible set of circumstances and see someone else get out of it.

Horror News Network: Can you give us more information on the main character, John Lincoln?

Jai Nitz: John Lincoln is a character I want to write, but not a character I want to be. I think it’s easy to say you’d want to be Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. It’s easy to say you’d want to be Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. I don’t think a lot of people want to be Tony Soprano, but they sure like to watch him to see what happens next. John Lincoln has more in common with AJ Soprano than Tony, but I think that makes him fun to write. Lincoln is a selfish and self-centered guy. He says and does things that make him really hard to like sometimes. One of my buddies read the first issue and suggested I change some of Lincoln’s dialogue because he came off so unlikeable. But that was the point. He’s such a dick and hard to like that his journey to becoming a hero will be all the more satisfying when it happens.

Horror News Network: Can you tell us more about the vengeful dead that are possessing John’s body?

Jai Nitz: Thirty-three percent of murders (deaths classified as murders by police) go unsolved. That’s one out of three. That means for every murder you hear about on the news, there’s a good chance the family gets no justice; the killer slips between the cracks and remains on the loose. The ghosts possessing Lincoln are the spirits who got no justice. They’re back because they can’t rest in the afterlife. And for some reason, they can take over John Lincoln. The “why” of the story is important, but you don’t have a lot of time to ask questions when you wake up next to a dead body and have to figure out what to do next. “Why” is a luxury.

Horror News Network: What can we expect from this book in terms of scares, blood and gore?

Jai Nitz: The scares are all psychological. They come from realizing how close we all are to complete chaos. The scares come from the fact that we’re all a hair away from death at all times. Knowledge is scary. The blood and gore, on the other hand, comes from the skilled hands of John Lincoln. People die in pretty terrible ways at the hands of the Dream Thief. The revenged dead are not concerned about leaving a bloody trail; they just want their justice from beyond.

Horror News Network: Can you talk a bit about the art of Greg Smallwood on this series?

Jai Nitz: I could talk for hours about Greg Smallwood because he’s a genius. He’s handling everything you see. He’s doing pencils, inks, colors, letters, branding design, logo design, everything. First of all, that’s so rare in comics. There have always been people who could wear many different hats in comics, but I’ve never met anyone who has taken on as much responsibility as Greg and done so well at every aspect. Also, this is Greg’s first comic. He’s never been published by any comic company before. I can’t describe how amazing that fact is. To use a sports analogy, he’s like Bo Jackson. He’s a world class football, baseball, and track athlete rolled into one. And if he tried anything else, he’d be good at it too. Mark my words, Greg will be nominated for every major award comics has to offer in his career. He’s that good. Also, he’s a great guy. Greg and I live about a mile from each other. We hang out all the time. I’m blessed to make a comic book with him, but I’m also lucky to call him my friend.

Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about you and this series?

Jai Nitz: You can find out more about the series by going to DarkHorse.com. You can also find more Dream Thief art and fun stuff on the Dark Horse Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @DarkHorseComics.

You can find out more about Greg by checking out his blog: http://www.gregsmallwoodtheartist.com/. You can follow me on Twitter @JAINITZ1 (someone already had JAINITZ, can you believe that?) and you can follow Greg on Twitter @SavageSmallwood. I have a web site, but honestly the best way to find me is to Google me. I’m the only “Jai Nitz” on the planet, so when you Google me, you get… me. You get info about books I’m currently working on like Dream Thief and Green Hornet plus stuff I’ve done in the past like Silver Star, El Diablo, Paper Museum, and Heaven’s Devils. The internet puts all this info at your fingertips.

Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say about Dream Thief?

Jai Nitz: I think Dream Thief is the best thing I’ve ever written. I think Greg Smallwood is the best artist I’ve ever worked with. Dream Thief is also the closest thing to my voice as a writer and has the most “me” in it. So, live or die, success or flop, critical darling or golden raspberry, Dream Thief is from the heart. It happens to be from a heart of darkness that kills people while it sleeps.

Horror News Network: Thanks for your time, Jai!

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