If you’re a Dirk Manning completist (don’t laugh, they are legion!) this is the stuff you’ll want to get (or at least know about)! To make you’re life easier, I’m not including all the con-exclusive and/or self-published work I’ve done in this list. If you have any of it, though, well, you’re truly an old-school and/or very loyal reader/friend. Thank you!
NIGHTMARE WORLD: “The Long Hard Road Out of Hell” #1
- Features four stories from the online NIGHTMARE WORLD series, including an early version of “Frozen” that has never been reprinted and was later redrawn by a different artist for the Image Comics/Shadowline collections. Each story also contains an illustrated Dirk Manning pin-up/introduction piece that has never appeared in print outside this collection. Finally, this issue also contains a fifth Dirk Manning pin-up that serves as an introduction to three short one-page NIGHTMARE WORLD stories that served as “Halloween Specials” during the original online run of the series. Although this comic was marketed as “1 of 4,” the remaining three issues were never released. The covers were all meant to form one giant image (with the back covers also all forming a giant H.P. Lovecraft-style Necronomicon), with the full image later appearing in print as part of the introduction to NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 2: “Leave the Light On” from Image Comics/Shadowline.
THE WALKING DEAD #46 (Image Comics)
- My first (and only) letter to a comic book is published, in which I ask Robert Kirkman if zombies poop. His answer is quite entertaining, and he even seemed to gross himself out a bit as he answered it.
NIGHTMARE WORLD (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- After self-publishing — and completing — the whole series online over the course of several years, NIGHTMARE WORLD is picked-up by Image Comics/Shadowline as part of their online comic hub. By the second month it is the site’s most-read online comic, and remains that way throughout the duration of its two-year run at the site.
NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 1: “Thirteen Tales of Terror” (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- Collects 13 stories from the online comic series NIGHTMARE WORLD (remastering several of them for print in the process) as well as an exclusive two-page prose story
NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 2: “Leave the Light On” (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- Collects 13 more stories from the online comic series NIGHTMARE WORLD (remastering several of them for print in the process) as well as another exclusive two-page prose story
FARSEEKER (ACTIVATE Comix)
- Artist Len O’Grady and I published the first full issue (and a few pages from the second) of our all-ages-friendly fantasy comic at the prestigious ACT-I-VATE Comix webcomic hub before work on the series had to be postponed. We are both clamoring to return to it, though! Honest!
TALES OF MR. RHEE (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- The thirteen eight-page stories that comprise TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1: “Procreation (of the Wicked)” began running at the rate of two pages a week (one page every Tuesday and Thursday) at www.ShadowlineOnline.com
NIGHTMARE WORLD Volume 3: “Demon Days” (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- Collects 13 more stories from the online comic series NIGHTMARE WORLD (remastering several of them for print in the process) as well as a third exclusive two-page prose story
DARK MISCHIEF Volume 1 (DreamWalker Press)
- Includes the three short one-page stories that originally appeared in the Ape Comics release NIGHTMARE WORLD #1 as well as the introductory pin-up, this time with different dialogue.
BOMB QUEEN Volume 6: “Time Bomb” (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- I wrote the two-page foreword to this collection, titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Queen” for Jimmie Robinson. He returned the favor by naming one the heroes in the book “Dirk Devil,” which is his playful nickname for me.
WRITE OR WRONG: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CREATING COMICS (Transfuzion Publishing)
- 216 pages of practical advice and anecdotes about how writers can bridge the gap from being aspiring comic creators to real-life professional ones. This book collects numerous completely remastered/re-edited columns from the early days of the WRITE OR WRONG column from NEWSARAMA.com and combines them with several new columns/chapters to create a 26 chapter “field guide” to creating comics.
BlackBox TV presents “The Hunger” (Blackbox TV/YouTube)
- A short 8-minute film written by Dirk Manning for the popular YouTube horror movie series.
SHAKESPEARE SHAKEN (Red Stylo Media)
- Contributed the forward to the collection as well as the short story “The Iron Tongue of Midnight,” which tells of Queen Mab’s secret relationship with Mercutio and how it impacted the events of Romeo and Juliet. Oh… and all the dialogue was written in Iambic Pentameter, too. That’s pretty cool, huh?
BlackBox TV: “The Secret History of Silverwood” (BlackBox TV)
- BlackBox TV founder Tony V. hired myself and artist Anthony Peruzzo to craft a 12-page comic that revealed the back-story of the town Silverwood from his YouTube horror film series of the same name.
GRIMM FAIRY TALES HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 2012 (Zenescope Comics)
- I wrote the seven-page story “Jack the Lantern” for this issue.
LOVE STORIES ABOUT DEATH (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- This series of three (for now?) 22-page genre-hopping one-shots (each written by me and illustrated by a different artist) began running at www.ShadowlineOnline.com in 2012 and was (rightfully) seen by readers as a spiritual sequel to NIGHTMARE WORLD.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS #1 (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- Artist Riley Rossmo decided to go what I playfully dubbed the “Reverse NIGHTMARE WORLD” approach for this excellent mini-series in which he contacted nine different writers and asked each one to write a story for him that focused on the Mexican “Day of the Dead” for him to illustrate. My story, “Te Vas Angel Mio” is the third and final story in the first issue and received a lot of praise from reviewers and critics as one of the strongest stories in not only the issue, but eventually the whole mini-series. You can hunt down this first issue if you wish, or purchase the complete DIA DE LOD MUERTOS collected series in one graphic novel.
CRITTER ANNUAL #1 (Big Dog Ink)
- I answered an “open call” style-submission to write a short story revolving around the supporting character “Charity” from Big Dog Ink’s superhero title CRITTER, with the end result being a rather chilling eight-page story that starts to shed some light on why the incredibly powerful superheroine in question does so little to help those most in need. Also of note is that this story marks the sequential art debut of frequent Big Dog Ink cover artist Jenevieve Broomall, which if my hunch is correct will make this quite the collector’s item sooner than later.
LOVE STORIES (TO DIE FOR) (Image Comics/Shadowline)
- After the success of the LOVE STORIES ABOUT DEATH 22-page stories we published online through the www.ShadowlineOnline.com website, Shadowline went ahead published a double-sized flip-book of two new stories in this format for print. The vampires vs. Vikings story “Bloodlust: Deceiver of the Gods” (illustrated by Rich Bonk and colored by Sean Burres) and the science-fiction romantic tragedy “Symptom of the Universe” (fully illustrated by Owen Gieni) were both stories very well received by readers, and the comic sold through its whole print run, making it a bonafide sell-out!
TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 1: “Procreation (of the Wicked)” (Devil’s Due)
- Originally published as an online comic spin-off series of NIGHTMARE WORLD in 2010, 2014 was the year the original online TALES OF MR. RHEE series went to print via a very successful Kickstarter campaign run through Devil’s Due. Illustrated by Josh Ross with Austin McKinley and Sean Burres on grayscaled colors, we were able to add a new prose story and a full-color multi-page character guide to the back of the book, which came with two different covers (one for the Kickstarter Exclusive Deluxe Hardcover and one for the mass-market TPB collection) by artist Riley Rossmo.
THE LEGEND OF OZ: THE WICKED WEST #12-15 (Big Dog Ink)
- After working on the CRITTER Annual for Big Dog Ink I was asked what characters I would be interested in writing about for THE LEGEND OF OZ. I of course answered “The Flying Monkeys,” to which BDI replied “Everyone wants to do The Flying Monkeys.” I then told them my pitch… and had the contract a week later. The result was a four-issue run in which Dorthy’s position as the new Witch of the East and the West is explored concurrently as we learn the history of The Flying Monkeys she now has at her disposal. As far as I’m concerned artist Alison Borges did the best work of his career to date on these four issues, and I had a blast telling the story of these iconic characters… and planting seeds for more potential stories later, should I ever be invited to return to the series again at a later date.
MERCY SPARX #6-7 (Devil’s Due)
- I didn’t write so much as consult on these two issues of Josh Blaylock’s series about a devil girl who hunts rogue angels, as these two issues feature a crossover with Mr. Rhee and Charity from TALES OF MR. RHEE. Issue #7 also features my professional comic art debut, as I drew the picture of the monster Mr. Rhee shows to Mercy Sparx in a failed attempt to help her realize how much danger she’s in. Whether or not this will make the issue a “Collector’s Item” or will decreases the value of the book when compared to the rest of the run remains to be seen…
TALES OF MR. RHEE Volume 2: “Karmageddon” #1-4 (Devil’s Due)
- This sequel to TALES OF MR. RHEE: “Procreation (of the Wicked)” serves more as a prequel than a formal sequel, as it largely deals with what Mr. Rhee did during the infamous “Three Days of Darkness” that resulted in the Armageddon and Rapture. Illustrated by Seth Damoose with colors by Anthony D. Lee, TALES OF MR. RHEE: “Karmageddon” also serves as my first-ever creator-owned mini-series, and getting Eric Powell (of THE GOON) to illustrate the cover for the first issue still makes me smile every time I look at it. Mind you, the interior story is pretty great, too, as Mr. Rhee tries to protect five orphaned siblings during the end of the world…