"Nightmare World: Volume Two - Leave the Light On" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Seth Damoose, Grant Perkins, Jason Meek, Austin McKinley, Josh Ross, Renae De Liz, Jeff Welborn, Senk Chhour, Erich Owen, Josh Ross, Len O'Grady, and Anthony Peruzzo
2009, 128 Pages
Graphic Novel released on October 26th, 2010
Picking up where they left off with the first volume, Thirteen Tales of Terror, Image Comics released Nightmare World: Volume Two - Leave the Light On, bringing together another thirteen stories from author Dirk Manning's epic webcomic. Originally published online, the story is broken out into a total of 52 eight-page comics by different artists. They're all from the same universe, but they don't seem to connect at first. That starts to change with this volume.
While the previous volume gave readers a broad idea of what was going on in this world, this one begins to tie some of those seemingly unrelated stories together. We're given a glimpse of Cthulu himself as he rises from the sea as well as a super hero that might just be humanity's salvation. There's a goth kid looking to break into the music business by sacrificing a friend to the devil and a noir story about star-crossed lovers. This collection has a bit of everything, but when read with the first volume it makes some things a bit clearer regarding the overall scope of Nightmare World.
As with Thirteen Tales of Terror, Leave the Light On doesn't have a bad story in the bunch. Each eight-page tale stands on its own as a solid horror comic. The connection to the larger plot is nice, but not necessary to enjoy the book. Obviously you don't have to have read volume one to comprehend this.
The artwork has a huge range as the thirteen stories are handled by twelve different artists. They go from a noir style reminiscent of pulp fiction in The Guns of Love Disastrous to a cartoonish vibe in No One Knows to a pencil and paper sketch in Ring of Fire. The change in the artists keeps the book fresh without confusing things the way it might in an ongoing comic book since each story is its own.
There are still a lot of questions that are left in Nightmare World after half of the stories have been collected. The overall storyline has several missing pieces at this point, but fortunately you can find all of these as well as the other half of the stories online at Shadowline Comics. What you won't find is the prose story Bad Romance that is included exclusively in Leave the Light On. The tale gives some great background info on a character that becomes a major player in the story so it's definitely worth checking out.