Written by Gary Winnick
Illustrated by Gary Winnick
Covers by Gary Winnick
Red 5 Comics
Release Date: April 23, 2014
Cover Price: $3.50
Mary wakes up in a dream world with her teddy bear and no memory. In the surreal, whimsical, and bizarre world of Bad Dreams, Mary soon finds herself set on a journey to free Mother Night from her imprisonment, so sleep can once again return to the dreamworld. She is joined by Nimrod, Sir Spanks (a Night Mouse Knight), Spide, and Shroom… all who seem to know just a little bit more about her than she does.
Bad Dreams is a surreal, all-ages comic. It has all the right mixes of fantasy, fairy-tale, mythology, and mystery thrown into the mix. Mary, our protagonist functions as a kind of everyman (or everywoman) who is inexplicably pulled into a conflict that she’s not really involved with. She must continue forward, though, because a mysterious and vindictive woman is after her and will stop at nothing to prevent the Mother Night’s release from her imprisonment.
This is Gary Winnick‘s book. He wrote and illustrated it. So the entire five-part story feels very uniform, detail oriented, and artistic. The story reads like a classic fairy-tale told with a modern voice. In fact, the mystery thread running throughout the series begs a second read-through once all the storytelling threads come together. Winnick wove some very important clues throughout the book and a subsequent read-through is almost like reading an entirely different story. This is an incredible achievement on the part of the script.
The art work is likewise wonderful. It would be best to describe it as “black & color” because while Bad Dreams is a full-color comic, it uses rich black lines, silhouettes and outlines throughout the pages. The characters Nimrod, Sir Spanks, and Spide are almost entirely black. Thematically, this fits well with Mary’s quest to restore the night. Visually, it is quite pleasing and stunning.
Bad Dreams is a multi-layered all-ages comic that both young and old will find intriguing and entertaining. It is a mysterious fairytale with an ending I did not see coming. This is a great title for story-lovers to explore.