Local author creates ‘Nightmare World’Written by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For some, growing up can be a horrific proposition, but writer Dirk Manning has channeled the experience into a successful comic book series. Manning, who is appearing Oct. 23 at Westfield Franklin Park Mall’s Borders Books, calls “Nightmare World” a “series of 53 stand-alone stories that intertwine to tell a story best summarized as The Cthulhu mythos meets “Paradise Lost.”
“‘Nightmare World’ originally started with the intention of it being an ‘online portfolio’ that both I and a series of artists could use to demonstrate our ability to make good comics,” Manning said. “Little did we know that reader and creator enthusiasm alike from across the Internet would propel it from being a six-story portfolio project to a massive collection of 53 stand-alone short stories that all tie together in one big magnum opus about Lucifer unleashing Cthulhu to kick-start the Armageddon.”
As a webcomic, it progressed through several starts at a succession of online sites until finally landing at the prestigious Shadowline Comics, a branch of Image. Now, the company has collected the series into two beautifully horrific paperback collections, and its writer is pretty damn excited about returning to Toledo.
“Expect candy and silly shenanigans as well as a chance to get signed copies of ‘Nightmare World’ Volumes 1 and 2,” he said. “What’s the point in inviting people out if we’re not going to make a party out of it, right?”
The series’ theme of creeping terror isn’t an accident, but one of great interest and experimentation to Manning.
“The truth of the matter is that I think a good, cerebral horror story can say a lot more about the human experience than any other genre,” he said. “Make no mistake: ‘Nightmare World’ is not a blood and guts series. We’re much more like ‘The Twilight Zone’ than, say, ‘Saw’ or something gross and mean like that. We focus on creating unsettling, suspenseful and sometimes even flat-out funny short stories that reside in the horror genre — even if it’s by default — that are meant to linger with readers for a long time after they read them. When we hear we’ve done that, we know we’re doing what we set out to do with the series.”