The best thing about being a comic book creator is working in a medium you truly love. That’s certainly the case for Jai Nitz, whose love of comics has brought him to Marvel, Image, DC, Dark Horse, Dynamite and more with a combination of creator-owned comics and work-for-hire on books like Green Hornet. While Nitz remains busy on that title at Dynamite Entertainment and others, he also happens to love talking about comics, especially with his fellow creators.
In a special series of interviews all this week, Nitz sits down with fellow Dynamite creators to talk about their craft, their current and upcoming projects, and try to get a few secrets out of them in the process. Oh, and of course, promote Green Hornet: Legacy #42 by Nitz and artist Jethro Morales, which ends the story – and the series – with an all out brawl, hitting stores this Wednesday, October 23, 2013.
First up is writer Shannon Eric Denton. Denton has done copious work for Dynamite, but most recently the Vampirella Halloween Special 2013, orderable now at your local retailer. Nitz and Denton talked about Vampirella, Halloween, working for Dynamite, and more.
Jai Nitz: Shannon, what’s your favorite memory of Halloween?
Shannon Eric Denton: My dad was Naval Aviator and was often out to sea when Halloween rolled around. So my favorite Halloweens were the couple where he was home.
Nitz: Vampirella and Halloween go together like peanut butter and jelly. What can we expect from your story?
Denton: Well, for starters our story actually takes place at Halloween. So not only do you get Vampirella, Dracula, and Eva for the price of admission you get trick and treats also! Without giving too much away we’re going to see these great characters come together again in an attempt to save the day from the forces of evil (see Ron Marz’s fabulous Prophecy for the first go around)! Some time has passed since that first “team-up” so we’ll see how the “dynam”ic between these characters has evolved since the Prophecy storyline as well.
Nitz: What brought you to Dynamite and Vampirella?
Denton: On my end it is a big love for their characters. From Vampirella to Lone Ranger to Green Hornet to The Spider to Doc Savage, the Shadow, the Phantom…I could run down their entire catalogue but I’ll just leave it at it’s a massively fun playground and I’m glad I was invited to play. Even since my WildStorm days (with books like Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash) it’s pretty clear Nick and Joseph are open to making comics fun. I love that energy they bring to making comics. Making comics should be fun.
Nitz: The solicitation information says that Vampirella is teamed up with stalwarts like Eva and Dracula. What is something new you brought to their mythology?
Denton: As I was mentioning before, it’s the character dynamics between these three I was trying to make new. It’s been a bit since we last saw them and while Dracula and Vampirella are pretty seasoned in their careers, Eva is really just starting to come into her own despite having previously helped save the world and all. We’ll also go up against a new threat for these three that they have never faced in all of their adventures together.
Nitz: You have had a long career working in all facets of comic book and animation production. What is it about writing comics that draws you back in?
Denton: I feel as though I’m involved in all aspects of the story (as I’m still drawing it all out in my mind when I write). My favorite creators were always the writer/artists… I guess I’ve always seen myself as more of a storyteller and it just so happens some folks want to hire me as a writer, some as an artist. I’m happy with either situation. It’s all springing from the same source on my side of things. I want to tell stories.
Nitz: Your Vampirella artist Dietrich Smith worked at Extreme studios back in the day. You did too. Have you known his work for a while?
Denton: Yes! The bonds forged during the birth of Image Comics were strong ones. I’ve always been very thankful that so many talented friends were born out of our Extreme Studios days. Though many of us ended up in TV and film, our hearts will always be in comics. I’m thankful every time I get to work on a comic!
Nitz: You’ve had a recent run of writing projects at Dynamite. What other works (recent and future) can we look for from Shannon Eric Denton?
Denton: Track down the Lone Ranger and The Spider Annuals for starters. I was really happy with how those turned out and the artists on both did an amazing job. (Matt Triano and Igor Vitorino respectively). Vampirella Halloween Special of course and be on the look-out for some Green Hornet coming up soon as well! (and whatever else I can talk them into letting me write). You can find me at www.shannondenton.com.
Thanks again, while driving watch out for the little ones who aren’t watching for anything but candy this Halloween, and may your week be full of treats!
Jai Nitz is an American comic book writer who has written for Dark Horse, Marvel, DC, Image, Disney, Dynamite, and other publishers. He won the prestigious Xeric Foundation grant in 2003 for his self-published anthology, Paper Museum. He won the Bram Stoker Award in 2004 for excellence in illustrated narrative for Heaven’s Devils from Image Comics. He also works as a professor at his alma mater, the University of Kansas, teaching courses on comic books and film. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his girlfriend and two sons.