NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 is offered in August's Previews catalog. The Outhouse sits down with writer/creator Dirk Manning to discuss things that goes bump in the 'boardroom'
In NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 1 Dirk Manning told us Tales of Terror in Volume 2 he reminded us why we should Leave the Lights On. Now the master of eight-page horror returns with NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 from Image/Shadowline Comics telling us why the Demon Days are upon us! I had the opportunity to sit down Dirk to talk about all things NIGHTMARE WORLD and the new upcoming collection of terror.
For those not familiar with NIGHTMARE WORLD can you give our readers an overview of the series?
NIGHTMARE WORLD is a series of stand-alone short stories all written by me and drawn by different artists. It's a horror book in the vein of EC Comics or "The Twilight Zone"... but what makes NIGHTMARE WORLD so unique is that even though every story in the series is a stand-alone story, as you read them all you will see how they start to weave together as part of one GIANT story.
It's a really cool approach that has never been done before... or at least was never done before we first did it, anyway. Yes, I'm looking at you, TRICK 'R TREAT! [laughs]
Who are the artists that contribute to NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3?
Oh, gosh... how much time do you have? [laughs]
In total NIGHTMARE WORLD is a series of 52 short stories, and every story has a different artist or art team on it... although some artists/teams came back for several stories. When all is said and done about 35 different artists worked on the series with me over the years, but here are some of the "bigger" names fans might recognize: Renae de Liz (WOMANTHOLOGY, THE LAST UNICORN), Seth Damoose (XENOHOLICS, BRAT-HALLA), Kristen Perry (character designer for GUILD WARS 2), Len O'Grady (artist on FARSEEKER, colorist for ARES, JUDGE DREDD, THE SECRET HISTORY), Erich Owen (MAIL ORDER NINJA and some of the William Shatner comics), Mark Winters (Wizards of the Coast), Anthony Peruzzo (FRACTURED FABLES), Josh Ross (TALES OF MR. RHEE), Austin McKinley (now an award-winning short film maker in Florida), Dominic Marco (colorist for several Zenescope covers), Owen Gieni (AVENGELYNE)...
The list goes on and on, but you're getting the idea, right? We really captured "lightning in a bottle" with this series when we all jammed together on it... and that fact that so many of my friends have also gone on to do so much other cool stuff is a testament to how dedicated they all are... as well as how cool NIGHTMARE WORLD is. [laughs]
Does NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: "Demon Days" have a story theme to it? In other words, were these stories chosen to be collected because of something common across them or it was just a matter of these were next in line?
Given that this is the third NIGHTMARE WORLD print collection of 13 stories, and that there 52 stories in the entire series, anyone who's good at math will know that – as of this collection – we'll have 3/4ths of the series in print.
Given this, it was tough for me to try and figure out what 13 stories of the remaining 26 to put in this collection. Ultimately I decided that I wanted to treat NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: "Demon Days" as the "third act" of a four-act play, which is exactly what it is. Considering this, we really "pull back the curtain" in this collection and show the forces that have been working behind the scenes throughout the series... and that "force" is of course Lucifer, who we learn had a huge hand in the awakening of Cthulhu in order to kick-start the Armageddon.
Considering all of this, NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 is a much "tighter" read than the first two books in regards to the "big story," but it also still serves first and foremost as a collection of 13 great genre-hopping stand-alone horror stories.
In this collection what story stands out for you as a writer? And what story stands out in terms of art? What story gave you the most challenge both in terms of writing and finding the proper artist to match the story?
Oh, gosh... you're trying to make me choose between my babies, aren't you? [laughs]
I think one particular story that really stands out to me – and seemingly everyone who's seen a sneak-peek of the book – is "Hungry Like the Wolf" by me and Stacie Ponder. It's a stick-art style wolfman story that is absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. It was a really fun story to write since all of the dialogue is also told in pictures, and the art is just amazing and, again, "laugh out loud" funny.
That aside, I also think that both stories illustrated by Anthony Peruzzo are just great. We open NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 with a barbarian story titled "Frozen" that has been completely redrawn by him exclusively for this collection, and then end the book with our story "Paranoid," which focuses on a rather philosophical discussion between Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster... and interestingly enough, both these stories take place in the exact same place! [laughs]
All of the artists featured in this collection are really, really good... but I can't wait to wait to collaborate with Anthony again soon on some more – larger – projects.
The covers to collected editions of NIGHTMARE WORLD volume 1 & 2 represent some very dark and eerie horror tones: A girl on boat about to be attacked by a creature, a sleeping child about to be abducted from his bed... but the cover of NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 is a vibrant and colorful rendering of a corporate board room of all places! What can you tell me about the NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 cover and how you went about deciding what image you want on a collected cover?
Jim Valentino has that same reaction when he saw the cover to NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3. [laughs]
Seriously, though, given all that we're going through in the world these days, is there really anyplace scarier than a corporate boardroom? [laughs]
You kind of hit the nail right on the head juxtaposing those first two cover against the new one concerning why we did it this way: Those first two images are much more "overt" in terms of their horror.. but with NIGHTMRE WORLD Volume 3 we wanted to do something a bit different right off the bat not only to keep people on their toes... but also because that image sets the "tone" for this book.
Like I said a minute ago, we're really "pulling back the curtain" in this volume and showing just how much all of this ties together... and the front and (especially) back cover both do that quite well. There are so many cool "Easter Eggs" on both covers that I grin ear to ear every time I look at them... and I think it will give readers the same reaction, too.
Is this the final collection of your NIGHTMARE WORLD stories or there more for a potential Volume 4?
Given that there's 13 remaining stories in the series, there's definitely the POTENTIAL for a NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 4, sure! [laughs] As for whether or not it will happen next October... honestly, I'm not sure.
There's that "completist" part of me that would love to see the whole series in print, but there's something cool to be said for having a "trilogy" of books in print and those last 13 stories out there online for people to check out, you know? Given that we started NIGHTMARE WORLD as an exclusively online comic there's that part of me that thinks it would be really cool and "punk rock" to keep it that way.
Furthermore, man, I gotta tell ya'... it's A LOT of work to put each of these collections together. It's not like we just pull the pages off the web and slap them into a book, you know? Rather, we go through and remaster the art and lettering – sometimes to the point of just starting from scratch. It then becomes a question of where we – the artists and I want to spend our time: On tweaking and preparing NIGHTMARE WORLD for print or moving forward to new things like TALES OF MR. RHEE and FARSEEKER and some of the other cool stuff we now have coming down the pike.
All of that being said, we all TRULY love this series. It's been a labor of love for all of us – especially me – since the beginning, and I wouldn't rule out a NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 4 or perhaps even a giant omnibus-style hardcover that collects all 52 stories in print... I'm just not making any promises at the moment. [laughs]
Then again, if we get a ton of pre-orders on NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3 (AUG110447), well, we'd pretty much have to release NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 4 in print, wouldn't we? [laughs]
One way or another, though, all of the stories not in print (and the original versions of all the rest) will stay available at www.ShadowlineOnline.com (at least!) for a long, long time...
With three volumes of NIGHTMARE WORLD collected, and you've put in a lot of mileage what does the series mean to you?
Like I said, NIGHTMARE WORLD truly is a labor of love, man. Sure, a moment ago I was talking about the numbers and the logistics of putting these print collections together – which really is a lot of work – but make no mistake: I am SO very proud and excited about the fact that these books are now being released as these great TPB collections from Image Comics/Shadowline. It's a real... validation of the years of work that I and all of the artists put into it over the years.
I couldn't possibly been to calculate the number of man hours that went into this series over the years (although perhaps letterer/book designer Jim Reddington could since he's worked side-by-side with me on all of it from the beginning) , but we've all put the crazy amount of hours into it we have over the years because we're passionate about NIGHTMARE WORLD.
I realize I may seem a little "biased" saying this, but I'm willing to stand up our three NIGHTMARE WORLD collections against ANY other horror book (or even anthology book) out there in comparison, and I can promise you that we're AT LEAST on equal footing with every one of them. AT LEAST.
The amount of amazing artists on this series, combined with the quality and diversity of the stories, is simply unparalleled by just about any other book on the shelves, and that's why so many who aren't even into horror will check out NIGHTMARE WORLD online or in print and then e-mail me saying "You know what... I'm not really into horror, but this is a very good series."
Quality will win out every time, regardless of genre, and that's what we've proven three times in a row now with these three NIGHTMARE WORLD collections from Shadowline.
In closing, why NIGHTMARE WORLD? Why should people run out to their local comic shops or online retailers and pre-order NIGHTMARE WORLD volume 3 from Image Comics/Shadowline while it's being solicited from Diamond Previews (AUG110447) right now?
Besides the fact that it's awesome and that even people who normally don't like horror end-up raving about it? [laughs]
I said it before and I'll say it again: We really captured lightning in a bottle with NIGHTMARE WORLD in terms of the amazing artists that have worked on this series, and when you combine such amazing artistic talents with cool genre-hopping stories that they were excited to draw.
Robots, Cthulhu, gangsters, ghosts, zombies, cowboys, aliens, Sherlock Holmes, fairies, serial killers, the Chupacabra, ninjas fighting samurai... you name it and we've probably got a NIGHTMARE WORLD story about it – well-written and beautifully drawn to boot!
Honestly, though, because of the negative stereotypes about horror and the fact that this is a creator-owned book rather than a big corporate one, NIGHTMARE WORLD isn't necessarily the type of book that comic stores will order a shelf copy of like they will with, say, a BATMAN book or something.... So pre-ordering it is CRUCIAL. Anyone reading this who wants a copy should make sure they call their local comic shop and ask them to PRE-ORDER (AUG110447) a copy. We're right there on p189 of PREVIEWS in the Image Comics section, and we even got an "Image Spotlight" designation to boot.
If that's not an option, though, people can also go to www.DCBService.com and pre-order a copy through them for a whopping 50% off cover price *and* get an exclusive free music CD to boot. DCBS are a very, very good online vendor and I'm happy to do this promotion with them – especially for people who don't have local comic shops and need to get their comics via mail-order. In fact, they're also re-offering the first two NIGHTMARE WORLD books for 40% off cover price as well, so anyone who has yet to pick-up the books would do well in doing so now, as I'll probably even toss-in some extra free swag with the NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 1 and NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 2 re-orders as well.
In fact, here's the direct link to the special promotion they're doing for NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: http://bit.ly/qtGOE3
Where will people be able to find you online or at conventions?
I'm always posting away on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/DirkManning) and Twitter (www.Twitter.com/DirkManning), so those are two easy ways for people to keep tabs on what I'm doing and the comics I have coming out.
As for conventions, I'll be appearing at DETROIT FANFARE at the end of September, doing a signing-tour throughout the Midwest to celebrate the release of NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: "Demon Days" in October, and then hitting the MID-OHIO CON in October. After that I'll probably be recuperating until Spring, at which time I believe the plan is for me to be hitting as many of the cons as possible with Shadowline Comics since Jim Valentino has agreed to let me sleep under the table... [laughs]
I love meeting new readers both at fans and at shows, so I really encourage people to come by and check out my work both online at www.ShadowlineOnline.com or at a convention. It's all for the love of good comics, you know?
You can read TALES OF MR. RHEE here at the Outhouse!
Here are some preview pages from NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: "Demon Days" PRE-ORDER (AUG110447) a copy from PREVIEWS(p189 of in the Image Comics section.)
|Hungry Like the Wolf||Frozen||Paranoid||For Those About to Rock (We Salute you)||While You Sleep, I Destroy Your World|
Written or Contributed by: BKThomson aka Brad Thomson