The 2015 Darrell Award for Best Midsouth SF/F/H Other Media Work was won by Dream Thief # 4, a comic book by Jai Nitz. As Mr. Nitz mentioned in his acceptance speech, this was the first time a Darrell Award has been given for a comic book.
Jai Nitz was unable to attend MidSouthCon 33, at which the 2015 Darrell Awards were presented. He sent in remarks, which were read out by Cullen Johnson. Everyone enjoyed his remarks so much that we asked for his permission to share them here on the blog. He graciously agreed to allow us to do so.
The shortest Oscar acceptance speech in history was Alfred Hitchcock for his lifetime achievement award.He picked up the statue and simply said, “Thank you.” Then he left the stage. That’s it. I have always fantasized about winning an Oscar and only saying, “Thanks,” so I could be in the record books (suck it, Hitchcock!). But then some joker would win one, smile and nod, then walk off without a word and I’d be back to being a footnote. Ah well.
I think the lesson here is that we all fantasize about winning awards and what we’d say when we won. The experts all tout the same advice: be short and sweet, don’t read a list, and don’t ramble. I am neither short, nor sweet. I like lists. And I tend to ramble.
With all that said, I wouldn’t have won this award if it wasn’t for Memphis. Memphis is Beale Street. Memphis is Elvis. Memphis is barbeque. Memphis is Shelby Foote. Memphis is Stax Records. Memphis is the Lorraine Motel. Memphis was a place I’d been before and a place I wanted to talk about in my fiction.
When I sat down to write Dream Thief in 2012 I set the book in my childhood home of Atlanta, but I wanted John Lincoln’s adventures to take him all over the South. I wanted to shine a light on the people I knew and the different cultures I loved. I wanted my readers to be as excited as I was about the South. I wanted them to feel the music, the food, the crime, and the history. I wanted to write about the secrets we keep and the faces we show the world. And I hope the irony of a character with the last name Lincoln touring the South is not lost on you.
I also wouldn’t have won this award without Greg Smallwood. Greg is the artist on, and co-creator of, Dream Thief. His powerful visuals and deft storytelling made this comic the best it could be. He used his own family photos of their trip to Graceland as reference for the story. He was fully invested, and it shows. I’d also like to thank our editor Patrick Thorpe and our publisher Dark Horse Comics. They saw fit to let us do our thing and never meddle. They gave us the freest of reins, so part of this award belongs to them.
Finally, I’d like to thank my two sons. They haven’t gotten to see the world the way I have, but one place I know I’ll take them is Memphis for a Lot-A-Burger.
Thanks to the Darrell Awards, the voters, and the readers. To my knowledge, a comic book has never won the award, so it’s nice to be first, but it’s nicer to know that my chosen medium is taken seriously by the fine folks of a town I love. Thank you all.