Nightmare is a male comic supervillain who features in Marvel Comics.
Nightmare was a demon that, as his name suggests, dwells in the nightmares of sleeping beings. He feeds on the fear that bad dreams produce, and can also use them to torture or mentally influence sentient lifeforms in their sleep. Nightmare has been opposed by many super-heroes, including the Hulk, Ghost Rider, and, most frequently, Doctor Strange.
Long ago, Zeus of the Olympian Gods came to Nightmare where he asked the demon to care for one of the Night Shards that contained the scattered power of the banished goddess Nyx. He asked the demon to hide the relic within the dream to prevent the goddess of night from ever recovering her power. In exchange, Zeus promised that the Olympians would never trespass in Nightmare's realm. (Avengers: No Road Home v1 #3)
Lord of Dreams
During the Skrull Secret Invasion, the God Squad formed who sought to challenge the invaders by attacking their deities within their own realm. However, they needed to find the pantheon's home through the Dreamtime and thus sought a map of this collective unconscious. As such, they petitioned the fear lord Nightmare who agreed but in exchange for each of the Squad's members revealing their deepest fears. Secretly, Nightmare inended to use the divine fears of immortal gods to conquer the world but Hercules along with the others manage to escape their imprisonment. This allowed Amatsu-Mikabosh to steal the map through trickery after having created a shadow duplicate of himself to fool Nightmare. This infuriated the Lord of Nightmares who summoned an army of monsters to attack the God Squad who quickly managed to escape his realm. (Incredible Hercules v1 #118)
When Nyx was freed, she sought to reunite the scattered pieces of her soul and determined that one of the Night Shards was hidden in the realm of Nightmare. Thus, she dispatched her son Hypnos who was the god of sleep and could force the sleeping inhabitants to serve as his army. This act deprived Nightmare of his power thus weakening him and leading to him being unable to push back against his attacker. A group of Avengers fell into his realm and he attempted to force their aid but ended up asking for their help. (Avengers: No Road Home v1 #3)
Following the War of the Realms, Nightmare decided to invade the realm of Jotunheim that was weakened after the conflict and ruled by the new King Loki. From there, he intended to get access to the World Tree Yggdrassil and thus devour the other nine realms. However, he was defeated by Loki and was consumed by a Norn Stone empowered construct called Frosti who digested him and intended to excrete Nightmare back to his home dimension. (Loki v3 #1)
Trapped within a stalemate, Loki proposed that the pair fight as mortals and give up their otherworldly nature as part of their duel. Nightmare came to agree but after doing so it was Loki who betrayed him by having a Stark Industries car fall from its showroom on top of the Lord of Dreams. Upon being killed, Nightmare as a mortal now was relegated to journeying to the afterlife where he came to meet the One-Above-All and cursed Loki's name for his treachery in putting him in Heaven. (Loki v3 #4)
Personality and attributes
His domain led to him being known as the Lord of Dreams. (Incredible Hercules v1 #118)
Powers and abilities
His realm bent to his will before he could even think it with all its inhabitants enslaved to his will. (Nightmare v1 #1)
Among his minions was the diminutive dog-faced demon named Doggerel who was noted for being his competent major-domo. (Nightmare v1 #1)
He ruled the borderlands between madness and myth which led to him being privy to knowledge beyond the understanding of some gods. Within his infinite libraries, he had charts that led to the realms of other pantheons as dreamers from other worlds do fall into his clutches from time to time. (Incredible Hercules v1 #118)
- Nightmare was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko where he made his first appearance in Strange Tales v1 #110 (July, 1963).
In other media
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Nightmare appeared as an antagonist in the animated television series in the episode "Strange" where he was voiced by actor Mark Hamill.
- In Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell, Nightmare appeared as an antagonist in the animated film where he was voiced by actor Matthew Waterson. An inhabitant of the Dream Dimension, he had numerous shadow creatures at his command where he kidnapped children to become his servants. Those children taken in their dreams were transformed into terrifying monsters in their nightmares with these becoming his army to invade the waking world.
- Doctor Strange v1:
- Nightmare v1:
- Avengers: No Road Home v1:
- Loki v3: