First appearing in Clue Comics #1 in January 1943, Nightmare is a captivating Golden Age comic book character created by the talented duo Alan Mandel and Dan Barry, and published by Hillman Periodicals.
Bob White, a private investigator, finds himself with an extraordinary ability after an accident: he can enter the dreams of others. Embracing this newfound power, Bob assumes the identity of Nightmare, a crime-fighter who harnesses his dream-invading prowess to crack cases, thwart evildoers, and lend a helping hand to those in need. Alongside him is Sleepy, his trusty sidekick, who shares the same remarkable gift of stepping into people’s dreams.
The stories of Nightmare found in Clue Comics, an anthology series teeming with superheroes, detective narratives, and thrilling adventures, are a testament to the imaginative storytelling that characterized the Golden Age of comic books.
Howard Hall had always been an outcast at school, unable to connect with his peers or make friends. He found solace in his unique connection to a part of himself he called Hannah. From a young age, Howard would retreat inward, exploring his bond with Hannah at night, away from the watchful eyes of his parents.
Growing up, Howard realized he was different from other kids. He didn’t enjoy the activities his classmates were passionate about, but at first he didn’t mind because he had Hannah. Their bond went beyond friendship; Hannah represented a side of Howard that was intrinsically connected to his true self.
As Howard grew into adolescence though, his isolation began to take a deep toll on him and his parents. They worried about his well-being, as depression, paranoia, and even insanity ran in the family. Howard felt like he was living a lie in public, but he was unsure why. His depression sank deeper and deeper, even with Hannah’s presence, but also because of her. He questioned his sanity, wondering if his connection to Hannah was real or merely a delusion.
One night, Howard reached a breaking point. As he sat in his dimly lit room, tears streaming down his face, he felt a shift in the air. In that moment, Hannah emerged, revealing herself as more than just a figment of his imagination. As Howard had come of age, their bond had grown stronger, allowing her to manifest as a tangible force.
Curious to explore the extent of their newfound power, Howard and Hannah ventured out into the night. The city streets, usually bustling with life, were now shrouded in darkness. They wandered aimlessly, unsure of what they were looking for or what they might find.
As they turned a corner, they stumbled upon a dangerous situation unfolding in a dimly lit alley. A man, armed with a knife, was attempting to mug an innocent passerby. Fear gripped Howard’s heart, but he also felt a surge of adrenaline, an instinct to act.
Channeling Hannah’s power, he focused on their connection, and his shadow transformed into a powerful, solid form. Hannah leaped into action, easily overpowering the mugger and disarming him. The would-be victim, eyes wide with awe and gratitude, hurried away to safety.
In the aftermath of their first successful intervention, Howard and Hannah stood in the alley, catching their breath. As they looked at each other, they realized the potential of their unique bond. They could use their combined powers to protect the innocent and fight crime. Embracing their destiny, they became Nightshade, a heroic force dedicated to making the world a safer place.
Necromancy, Physical Transformation – Communication with the dead, spectral form.
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