You just simply keep a good slasher down. Throughout 8 movies, a shitty remake and a Tales From The Crypt-esque style syndicated television show, not to mention millions and millions of dollars worth of merchandise, Freddy Krueger has haunted the dreams of the world for more than 30 years.
Now that the movies are seemingly over, at least for the foreseeable future, I decided to take a look back at some of the other mediums that Freddy has dreamed his way into, especially in the world of Comics.
In 1991, the same year that Freddy’s Dead hit theaters, independent publisher, Innovation Comics, obtained the rights to publish a new line (pun intended) of stories featuring the Springwood Slasher. This would take the form of 3 story arcs.
The first 2 arc, published in Nightmares on Elm Street, take place between Nightmare 5 and Freddy’s Dead. While fairly run of the mill in the art work department, the stories massively expand on several ideas that were never fully fleshed out in parts 3 through 5, namely the physics, rules and realms of the dreamscape.
The first arc (issues 1 and 2) features an all new character, Cybil Houch, a Jack The Ripper researcher. Cybil has been having nightmares of The Ripper for weeks as he stalks her in her dreams.
Through Jack’s exposition we learn that he was also a Freddy like figure, possessing powers much like his, though the extent of them aren’t spoken of in much detail. That in itself could have been a very interesting comic in itself as it hints at dream monsters throughout mankind’s history.
We come to find that Cybil was a one time college room mate of Nancy Thompson. As Nancy’s home begins to appear in her Freddy induced nightmares she decides to hunt down her room mate, only to find out that she had died several years later.
Cybil tracks down Dr. Neil Gordon from Nightmare 3 who is currently working on dream therapy after his run in with Freddy. Neil realizes that Freddy is once again killing and rushes to Cybil’s aid after she falls asleep while on the phone with him.
Neil decides to take Cybil into the dream world and finds Nancy alive and well in what she calls “The Beautiful Dream”, a sort of Anti-Nightmare that Freddy can’t touch. Nancy has been protecting Neil for years from Freddy and growing in her powers as a dream protector, but not yet strong enough to take on Freddy.
Towards the end of the arc, we also discover that, aside from The Beautiful Dream and The Nightmare, there is a 3rd dreamscape. This plane is reserved for the dreams of the unborn, where babies, still in their mothers womb reside in their perpetual dream until birth.
The 3 face off with Freddy for a “final” showdown in what I am calling The “Babyscape” with an abrupt ending that comes out of nowhere and leaves you confused as to what really just happened.
The story is finished in the following arc, but we as the reader don’t know that at first and until I was able to finally read the next four issues, I was seriously disappointed in what was clearly an end to that particular story.
The first two comics are interesting from a story perspective for a few reasons…
One of the biggest points of confusion for me with the Nightmare series was part 4. While one of the best of sequels, right behind 3 in my opinion, it always seemed like there was a bigger story that was left on some part of the cutting room floor. In particular the idea that was only hinted on of the Dream Gate Guardians when Freddy tells Alice that he has been guarding his gate for a long time after she assumes her mantle as The Dream Master. This idea however is central to the story in Nightmares as we learn that Nancy is the guardian of the Beautiful Dream while Freddy is the guardian of The Nightmares.
Of course this also raises a question that, as Nightmare Guardians have been around throughout mankind’s history, has there also been a Beautiful Dream guardian as well, and what about the Babyscape? Is there a guardian for that as well?
The final panel of issue 2 also raises the question that, since Freddy is stuck in Springfield, are there other Nightmare Gate Guardians elsewhere in the world, possibly stuck in their respective killing fields, still haunting the dreams of those that live there. Questions we may never find the answer to.
Personally I loved that the books touched on things that were presented in Nightmares 3, 4 and 5. There was enough familiarity in the comics to make it seem like we were coming back to a world we were already familiar with while presenting new ideas and expanding on ones already presented.
All in all the first story arc in Nightmares On Elm Street does a wonderful job on expanding on the universe of the Elm Street movies and reunite us with some of our favorite Freddy survivors. The artwork, while certainly nothing special, gets the job done and, for an independent publisher, isn’t too bad.
If you are interested in these books, they are available on ebay and amazon, but can run on the slightly pricey side of things. If the price deters you, there are always ways to read them. The internet is a big, big place.
In Part 2 we will be taking a look at the next 4 issues of the 6 issue run of Nightmares, how it abruptly throws us into a new, yet familiar story and expands the universe even further, but until then, sweet dreams!