How to make an awesome horror anthology with Nightmare World creator Dirk Manning

February 16, 2017

Dirk Manning is a horror institution. He’s been touring around the Midwest for nearly a decade with his amazing horror anthology Nightmare World, and more recently his companion series Tales of Mr. Rhee. He one of the few guys I know that cons as much and as hard as me. He did 31 appearances last year to my 45, but he’s been doing it for a lot longer too, so that stamina is even more impressive. Here’s Dirk’s bio, straight from www.dirkmanning.com.

DIRK MANNING is best known as the writer/creator of comic series such as TALES OF MR. RHEE (Devil’s Due) and NIGHTMARE WORLD (Image Comics/Shadowline), as well as the author of the ongoing inspirational column/book collection WRITE OR WRONG: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CREATING COMICS (Caliber/Bleeding Cool).

If you’ve heard of him, that’s probably why.

That being said, Dirk has also written stories for other comics too, including LOVE STORIES TO DIE FOR (Image Comics/Shadowline), Riley Rossmo’s DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, and THE LEGEND OF OZ: THE WICKED WEST (Big Dog Ink) among various other anthologies.

Dirk has also written several short films for the popular YouTube horror film series BLACKBOX TV, including “The Hunger, in which Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite plays the villain.

Dirk frequents the comic convention circuit, especially in the Midwestern section of the United States, and when not on the road he lives on the Internet and can be found online on FacebookTwitter and Instagram @dirkmanning.

Cthulhu is his homeboy… and no, he doesn’t wear the scarf and top hat in real life.*

*When alone in his office writing, though? Every damn time.

The reasons I wanted to have Dirk on the show should be obvious: He loves monsters, he makes awesome anthology books, and he gives way more than he asks. He was one of the other teachers on Tyler James’s 6-Day Kickstarter challenge with me earlier this year as one example of his generosity.

The main reason I wanted him on, though, was to talk about anthologies. As you may know, I just launched a new Kickstarter a couple of days ago for my new anthology Monsters and Other Scary Shit: A monster anthology about monsters. It’s a 224-page anthology full of creators of all types jamming out about monsters. There’s cute monsters, scary monsters, sci-fi monsters, fantasy monsters, and more from creators who’ve worked on Star Wars, Transformers, Invader Zim, and more.

If you haven’t yet, check it out by clicking here. For just $40 you get the hardcover delivered to your door (in the US. Intl shipping charges apply), a digital print of the cover (trust me you’re gonna want it), and a pdf/cbz of the book. There are NO ADDITIONAL CHARGES (domestically).

In conjunction with the launch, we are having a bunch of amazing anthology creators on the show: Christine Hipp (Manthology, Secret Anthology), Gwendolyn Dreyer and Nicholas Doan (Monster Elementary), Amanda Meadows (Devastator Quarterly), DJ Kirkbride (Eisner Winning Popgun Anthology), Brandon Perlow (Eisner Nominated Watson and Holmes anthology), and Dirk.

I wanted to have them on to ask one specific question: How do you make an awesome anthology. I asked all of them to put together a list of their five best anthology tips. The first half of the show is the same BS banter you love, and it’s followed by five specific bullet points to help you plan a better anthology. Every episode we’ll recap the five tips here. Here are Dirk’s.

  • Select a theme.
  • Strive for artistic diversity.
  • Don’t have any filler story. Make sure every story is amazing.
  • Avoid overdone twist endings. They are for children.
  • Offer something uniquely you.

We discuss the tips in detail during the show, so I hope you tune in and learn something over the campaign to help you build an amazing campaign.

If you like this episode, go find dirk online @dirkmanning on Twitter and Instagram. If you dig the show, subscribe, rate, and review it today on iTunes by clicking here.

And don’t forget to check out our awesome monster anthology, Monsters and Other Scary Shit, live on Kickstarter now, by clicking here.

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