Long running series are great, but sometimes you don’t want to have to worry about complex ongoing stories. That’s where a one-shot comes in. NIGHTMARE MAN, which actually contains two separate stories, is a horror one shot that not only creeped me out, but it made me laugh.
The title story opens up with a man in therapy, talking about the “Nightmare Man”who gave him nightmares in his childhood and the guy who looks like him at the coffee shop. The nightmares are both vivid and upsetting, which put the story squarely in the horror genre. But the more I got to know the supposed Nightmare Man, the more I liked him. He’s kinda cool. He wears red sunglasses and a leather jacket and sports a snazzy goatee. He’s like a cross between Lobo and an 80s hair band guitarist. The story managed to throw some surprises my way and make me laugh to go along with the nightmares. While I appreciate the simplicity of a one-shot, I could definitely stand to read more about the Nightmare Man.
The second story, Little Things, sticks closer to the horror genre. The story reminded me of something you might see in Tales from the Crypt. The characters lack the pizazz of the Nightmare Man, but the story builds up to a nifty gut punch at the end. One thing to be aware of is the transition between the Nightmare Man story is pretty abrupt so it might take you a few panels to realize the story has shifted.
The art style throughout the issue is consistent. The coloring is washed out and the lines are a bit impressionistic. This fits the tone of the book quite well, as it lends an air of uncertainty that matches the storytelling.
While the horror genre isn’t my favorite, this one-shot exceeded my expectations. Rather than relying on blood and violence, it employs strong writing to tell creepy stories. There is some vivid nightmare imagery and cursing, so parental discretion is advised.
Are you going to pick up the title? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!