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 sequal 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.