Dirk Manning hosts or takes part in a number of panels I attend and this year I decided to finally go to his booth and talk to him. At C2E2 earlier this year I picked up the first Nightmare World horror anthology. Then at Wizard World Chicago I picked up the other two volumes.
Dirk Manning writes all of the stories in the series and has a different artist draw each one. The first volume has a pretty diverse assortment of tales exploring a number of different kinds of horror. At first they seem to all be unrelated but there are certain themes that seem to pop up again. In the next two volumes these ideas are taken on even more such as, things not always being what they seem, and wishes not always turning out how you expect, the consequences of breaking promises or the dangers of making deals with people and/or things you can’t trust.
In volume two, while the tales can still stand on their own, we start to see that their is a bigger story going on in the background. They are not necessarily told in any chronological order so it can take an extra read to figure out how they all fit together.
In volume three there is a stick-man werewolf story. Apparently people thought he was joking about that one but it is there in print now for all to see.
Also in volume three a number of the stories start to feel more directly related to the Big Picture of the series. And towards the end Dirk Manning gives the audience a few peek-behind-the-curtain like shorts about how some of the past stories were related to each other.
Overall Volume One stands out as the best in my opinion with ‘Knee Deep In The Dead’ and ‘Violet’ being my favorite stories.
Dirk Manning says there are plans for a volume four of Nightmare World. I don’t know if it will pick up where the last one left off or if it will take us to some other world with completely different horrifying events.
UPDATE: I just received Dirk Manning’s newsletter and indeed the Kickstarter for Nightmare World volume 4 and a Nightmare World omnibus are coming in October.