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Marvel Database

Quote1.png Mortal fools! I am the Master of the Subconscious, the Midnight Leviathan -- proof positive that the most precious of dreams too often fall prey to...Nightmare! Quote2.png



Like each of the Fear Lords, Nightmare was a mystery, and his origin (or even his very existence) was known to few.[6][7]

He was both a conceptual entity, part of all existence like Eternity, and a deity.[8]

Nightmare was born in the Everinnye dimension,[5] just like the Dweller-in-Darkness. The Dweller turned his back on his fellow denizens by following the Way of the Shamblu, disembodying his head and existing in physical form.[5] He considered Nightmare to be his cousin, but Nightmare rejected that designation, being aware of the Dweller's full origins,[9] stating that he had no cousin and especially not the Dweller, for he had chosen the way of the Shamblu.Nightmare, according to the Dweller, degraded himself by adopting his shape and by living in exile among the Lower Universes.[10]

The Dweller's creation D'Spayre was also considered his "cousin".[7]

Early years

Nightmare controlled one of the Splinter Realms,[11] known as the Nightmare Realm, within the Dream Dimension.[5] He was considered to be one of the most powerful beings in the Splinter Realms.[12]

His legions included Doggerel, Succubus, the Hanon Tramps (who smothered sleeping people),[13] and the Silurian Guard (who included Gleeg, a captain) who watched over the gates of Nightmare's fortress.[12]

Gnit was Nightmare's own personal nightmare.[13] His natural enemies includes the denizens of the adjacent Realm of Madness, and Gulgol, a monster who never sleeps.

Nightmare allied with Shuma Gorath to further his own ends.[8]

Lords of the Splinter Realms

The Lords of the Splinter Realms gathered only twice in the 47,000 years before the Modern Age.[14] It is unknown if Nightmare attended either of those two gatherings, or if he was even ever part of that parliament.

Fathering Dreamqueen

Approximately 800 years ago, Nightmare raped the demoness Zilla Char, producing a daughter, Dreamqueen.

Later, 350 years ago, Nightmare meddled with the Dreamqueen's schemes involving Native Americans.[15]

Modern Age

When a young Peter Parker was fishing with his Uncle Ben, they were attacked by monsters. This was revealed to have been a nightmare. Later, as Peter had just begun to fall asleep again Nightmare appeared and decided to feast on the young boy's dreams, until Stan Lee knocked him out with a tennis racket to the head.[16]

Nightmare plagued the Hulk with hallucinations and nightmares for years.[17]

Fathering Hybrids

In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Karl, a faithful worshiper of Nightmare and member of a cult slept with Naomi, an unbelieving member of the cult, profiting from the stars' alignment causing the dimensional barriers to weaken to serve as a vessel for Nightmare, allowing Nightmare to impregnate Naomi. Two weeks later, pregnant Naomi flew the cult with Jerry Ward. Karl and Nightmare witnessed the scene, but despite Karl's proposal to stop them, Nightmare left then be, as his son being raised among normal people would serve his purposes and interests. She birthed Terrance Ward, who would grew to be able to shapeshift into a person's worst fear.[18]

Nightmare claimed that his daughter Daydream was conceived by forcibly entering the mind of the Hulk's late wife, Betty Ross, raping her in her sleep.[17] Other accounts states he seduced a human woman in her sleep,[13] or sired Daydream with the woman in deep sleep.[5]

First encounters with Doctor Strange

One of his first conflicts in the modern age was with Doctor Strange. They battled when Nightmare haunted the dreams of a corrupt businessman. When Dr. Strange entered his dreams, Nightmare attempted to trap him there, leaving his physical body undefended while the man, afraid that the secret of his crimes had been found out, would try to kill Strange. Strange managed to escape Nightmare's dimension with the help of the Ancient One.[19]

Seeking to conquer our dimension, he began trapping people in their dreams in hope of gaining information on how to defeat Dr. Strange and his master, the Ancient One. His plan was foiled by Strange, who freed the captives and escaped Nightmare's dimension.[20]

Further Schemes

He captured Eternity leading to the destruction of Earth, which was remade by Eternity.[21]

Following the joint funeral of Biotron, Queen Esmera, and Prince Shaitan, the Microns traveled into the brain of Arcturus Rann to battle Nightmare.[22]

Doctor Doom kidnapped Dazzler and sent her on a mission to recover one of the Merlin stones. It was in the dream realm where she encountered Nightmare. He refused to hand over the Merlin stone and Dazzler was once again pressed into action. After she turned on her dazzling array of power, Nightmare suddenly decided that the Merlin stone was a gaudy bauble and not worth all this effort to keep in his possession.[23]

When Strange was searching the many mystical realms trying to find Clea and Morgana Blessing, he confronted Nightmare. It was revealed that Morgana's trip into the past caused this chain of events and that if her soul were to regress back to her earliest incarnation it would destroy all of humanity and -- as a result Nightmare himself. Not wishing to meet his end so that he may continue to rule the Nightmare Realm, Nightmare begrudgingly offers his aid to Dr. Strange, helping him pinpoint the exact eras that Morgana has traveled into.[24] Dr. Strange, with the aid of Nightmare, was sent to Ancient Egypt.[25]

Betty, overwhelmed by the loss of Bruce, suffered a miscarriage. Unfortunately, D'Spayre and Nightmare tapped into Betty's nightmares, competing to win her soul. The Hulk was drawn into the battle over Betty's soul and he battled through all they could muster to reach Betty and give her a renewed sense of hope.[26]

Ghost Rider and Daniel Ketch were both separated and taken to Nightmare's Realm, there Nightmare tried to renew his partnership with Zarathos, but neither of them knew what he was talking about. Zodiak tried to get to Ghost Rider the same way Ghost Rider got to him, through Stig. Ghost Rider and Dan merged completely and escaped Nightmare's Realm.[27]

The Fear Lords

Fear Lords

Nightmare became a member of the Fear Lords. The Dweller-in-Darkness summoned the others to join him in causing 'The Great Fear' to take over Earth. The Straw Man warned them that he considered the Earth his home. He alerted Doctor Strange to their plot, asking Strange to appear on his "Horror TV" station. Strange consulted the Book of the Vishanti and began preparing with Clea and Rintrah for their attack.[28] The Lurking Unknown attacked the Straw Man, setting him on fire. But he, Kkallakku, and Nox were defeated by Strange, Clea, and Rintrah. D'Spayre then challenged the Dweller-in-Darkness and Nightmare to try and out do one another, offering to assist the victor. In actuality, their combined torment caused human despair which empowered D'Spayre.[29] Nightmare and Dweller-in-Darkness fled. A 'man without fear' was needed, so Daredevil was summoned by the Straw Man (who had formed another body) to help the others. They managed to defeat D'Spayre.[30]

Further Encounters

Nightmare was considered one of the deadliest enemies of the Sleepwalkers, the dream police. He was unable to influence them not due to them not needing to sleep. In a plan to change this he entered the mind of one Sleepwalker's human host, Rick Sheridan. He used his mind to send Sleepwalker mad, finally allowing him access to his people's minds. He sacrificed his way home to prevent the Nightmare from harming his people.[31]

Nightmare took control of Morbius, the Living Vampire as a trap for Dr. Strange. When Strange came looking for Morbius, the trap worked and Nightmare took over Strange's physical body.[32] Nightmare physically entered the real world by taking control of Strange's body. Morbius was freed and he and Nightmare in Strange's body fought.[33][34]

Nightmare (Earth-616) from Marvel Fanfare 34 001.jpg

Club Fear

Nightmare expressed that he had grown bored and run out of ideas to torment dreamers with. He visited the realms of mortals to seek 'motivation.' He took control of a nightclub, renaming it 'Club Fear.'[35] Patrons were briefly exposed to their nightmares. There he posed as owner Edvard Haberdash, becoming romantically involved with a horror movie actress.[36]

Further Plots

The threat of the Archenemy led the Lords of the Splinter Realms, including Nightmare, to gather for the third time in 47,000 years and briefly unite their realms and pool their power into Amanda Sefton.[14]

Later, Nightmare was able to access human minds through the concept of the 'American dream'. Many people who were deeply patriotic or had achieved a degree of success through hard work were going on violent rampages. Nightmare was soon stopped by the combined forces of Captain America, Sharon Carter, and S.H.I.E.L.D.[37]

Nightmare grew stronger by gaining strength from the fear and panic after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Along the way he also found his renegade daughter Daydream. Nightmare claimed that this daughter was conceived by forcibly entering the mind of the Hulk's late wife, Betty, raping her in her sleep. Nightmare was temporarily killed by the Hulk in retaliation.[17]

Nightmare once attacked Magik (Jimaine Szardos) and Nightcrawler, while under Hive's control, attempting to claim the Soulsword.[38]

Secret Invasion

During the Skrull Secret Invasion, Nightmare battled Hercules and the God Squad when they by passed through his realm to reach the realm of the Skrull Pantheon and after angering them by feeding on their fears in an attempt to gain enough power to take over the waking world.[3]


Nightmare (Earth-616) from Avengers The Initiative Vol 1 30 0001.jpg

After the Superhuman Civil War, his son Terrance Ward joined the Initiative and trained at Camp Hammond under the codename "Trauma".[39] Nightmare unleashed horrors upon the camp, inflicting everyone with their worst fears. He forced Penance to remember everything he had forgotten, the pain and guilt incapacitating him.[40] However, Tigra helped him recover, and he forced Nightmare to release Trauma. Trauma and Penance were invited to join the Avengers Resistance, but both declined.[41]

Chaos War

Nightmare was the first to fall in the Chaos King's onslaught against the forces of Earth, his powers claimed to destroy the minds of the rallied mortal heroes and eliminating many of the planet's prime defenders, leaving only certain gods and some shielded humans to attempt to counter his chaos and darkness.[42][43]

Fear Itself

After the Serpent War, the fear energies of the Asgardian god of Fear washed across the world and infected numerous people, including Kid Loki.[citation needed] Nightmare began collecting the fear energies of these infected sleepers in order to create a crown from which he could channel the power into him. After harvesting the fear energies from a Polish girl, Nightmare found an enormous amount of it in Loki, but couldn't take it because Loki soon woke up.[44] Loki and his allies, Hellstrom and Leah, began racing Nightmare from infected sleeper to infected sleeper in order to eliminate the fear energies before Nightmare could harvest them. However, the task proved exhausting, and Loki offered to give Nightmare his large amount of fear energies, which was enough to make the crown, so no innocent would be put at risk any more.[45]

Back in the dream dimension, Nightmare created the Fear Crown, the key to ultimate power. However, Loki had alerted the other Fear Lords about Nightmare's plans, and they fought Nightmare in a never ending cycle of attempts to take the crown one Fear Lord from another.[46] Alerted by the spirit of the old Loki, Mephisto entered the cycle and took the crown from the Fear Lords. Kid Loki sacrificed himself in order to stop the crown from existing anymore, by allowing an echo of his old-self, Ikol, take over his body.[47]

When the Silver Surfer returned Dawn Greenwood to Earth, She fell under Nightmare's influence, due to an unusual universal lunar alignment. With the help of Doctor Strange and the Hulk, Dawn and Norrin managed to free the Earth.[48]


After learning that Loki, as the newly-appointed king of Jotunheim, was neglecting the throne, Nightmare launched an attack on the realm, hoping to use the land of the Frost Giants as a stepping stone to conquer the rest of the Ten Realms. His invasion was quickly thwarted since Loki happened to have returned home, and Nightmare was promptly defeated when the magic snowman Frösti devoured him and digested him back to the Nightmare Dimension.[49] Enraged by the embarrassing defeat, Nightmare resurfaced on Earth, where Loki was spending most of his time,[50] and confronted him in Washington Square Park outside of the Stark Unlimited HQ.[51]

After Nightmare failed to trap Loki in his worst fear, since he was already living in it due to his uneventful new life as king, Loki convinced him to form a pact to forfeit their immortality for a duel to the death. As soon as the duel started, Loki used his previously-schemed preparations to make a prototype flying car dive out of the Stark building and into Nightmare, killing him. Nightmare subsequently found himself in Heaven, where he was greeted by the One-Above-All to the afterlife, much to the fiend's rage.[52]

Powers and Abilities

Power Grid[56]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Virtually Unlimited:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Virtually Indestructible:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Warp:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Incalculable:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Omniscient


Nightmare is a Class Three Demon[5][53] who is able to capture a sleeping person's astral form and bring it to his realm. There they are tormented in various ways as he chooses,[citation needed] he can also possess people to work through them.[37]

Nightmare can summon a number of lower beings in his realm such as Succubi to do his bidding.[citation needed]

Nightmare can summon his mount, Dreamstalker when needed.[citation needed]

Under normal conditions, Nightmare cannot affect an individual who is awake. However, his images and other creations can continue to haunt a person in their waking hours.[citation needed]

Nightmare has been shown capable of simultaneously subduing two Earth demigods, an Eternal, an Elder God, and a genius-level human teenager with ease through magic while assessing their worst fears from the darkest crevices of their minds, though is actually capable of sustaining reasonable physical harm with one strike from Hercules. His existence and vast knowledge is known to the Council of Godheads.[54]

As long as there are beings that dream, Nightmare will exist. While he has been defeated, he can never truly be destroyed.[citation needed]


Nightmare is much weaker when outside of his realm, and can be overcome while in it by a being who has completely conquered their fear.[citation needed]



Mystic Prod: Nightmare's wand is capable of generating a maze which is nearly impossible to escape.[citation needed]





See Also

Links and References


  1. Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #5
  2. Doctor Strange #182
  3. 3.0 3.1 Incredible Hercules #118
  4. Doctor Strange #183
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Nightmare's entry
  6. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31; The Book of the Vishanti: A Gathering of Fear Part One
  7. 7.0 7.1 Fear Itself: Fellowship of Fear #1; Fear Lords' entry
  8. 8.0 8.1 Doctor Strange Vol 2 #34
  9. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #32
  10. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #33; The Book of the Vishanti: A Gathering of Fear Part III
  11. Magik #1
  12. 12.0 12.1 Magik #2
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities #1; Nightmare's entry
  14. 14.0 14.1 Magik #3
  15. Alpha Flight #67
  16. Sensational Spider-Man #-1
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Incredible Hulk Vol 2 #81
  18. Avengers: The Initiative #30
  19. Strange Tales #110
  20. Strange Tales #116
  21. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #13
  22. Micronauts #29
  23. Dazzler #4-5
  24. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #52
  25. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #53
  26. Incredible Hulk #360
  27. Ghost Rider (Vol. 3) #11-30
  28. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31-33
  29. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #38
  30. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #39-40
  31. Sleepwalker #12
  32. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #52
  33. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #53
  34. Morbius: The Living Vampire #9
  35. Nightmare #1-2
  36. Nightmare #3-4
  37. 37.0 37.1 Captain America Vol 3 #8-12
  38. Nightcrawler Vol 3 #9-11
  39. Avengers: The Initiative Special #1; Fear For Your Life
  40. Avengers: The Initiative #25
  41. Avengers: The Initiative #28-30
  42. Chaos War #1
  43. Chaos War: Ares #1
  44. Journey into Mystery #634
  45. Journey into Mystery #635
  46. Journey into Mystery #635-636
  47. Journey into Mystery #645
  48. Silver Surfer Vol 7 #5
  49. Loki Vol 3 #1
  50. Loki Vol 3 #2
  51. Loki Vol 3 #3
  52. Loki Vol 3 #4
  53. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18; Appendix
  54. Incredible Hercules #117-118
  55. Strange Tales Vol 2 #7
  56. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Vol 1 8
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