Quote1 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
-- Nightmare src


Nightmare controlled one of the Splinter Realms known as the Nightmare Realm and the Dream Dimension. Nightmare was fiercely protective of his realm, having warded off attacks from his daughter and other demons seeking to depose him.[1]. Nightmare acted as a servant of Shuma-Gorath.[2]

Approximately 800 years ago, Nightmare raped the demoness Zilla Char, producing a daughter, Dreamqueen. Then, 350 years ago, Nightmare meddled with the Dreamqueen's schemes involving Native Americans.[3]

Doctor Strange

In the modern age of heroes one of his first conflicts 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.[4]

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.[5]


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, Nightshade suddenly decided that the Merlin stone was a gaudy bauble and not worth all this effort to keep in his possession.[6]

Morgana Blessing

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.[7] Dr. Strange, with the aid of Nightmare, is sent to Ancient Egypt.[8]

Fear Lords

Fear Lords (Earth-616) from Fear Itself Fellowship of Fear Vol 1 1 001

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]


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 one of 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.[12]


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

Nightmare had a son with a mortal woman named Terrance Ward. He joined the Initiative and trained at Camp Hammond under the codenamed "Trauma". He could shape-shift into a person's worst fear.[13] 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.[14] However, Tigra helped him recover, and he forced Nightmare to release Trauma. Trauma and Penance were invited to join the Avengers Resistance, but decline.[15]

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.[16][17]


After the Serpent War, the fear energies of the Asgardian god of Fear washed across the world and infected numerous people, including Kid Loki.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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 neverending cycle of attempts to take the crown one Fear Lord from another.[21] 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 his old-self take over his body.[22]

Silver Surfer

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.[23]

Power Grid [28]
Energy Projection
Fighting Skills
* Teleporter


Nightmare is a Class Three Demon[24] 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.

Nightmare can summon a number of lower beings in his realm such as succubi to do his bidding.

Nightmare can summon his mount, Dreamstalker when 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.

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.[25]

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


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.




Nightmare's wand is capable of generating a maze which is nearly impossible to escape

Discover and Discuss


  1. Nightmare #1-4
  2. Marvel Premiere #3
  3. Alpha Flight #67
  4. Strange Tales #110
  5. Strange Tales #116
  6. Dazzler #4-5
  7. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #52
  8. Doctor Strange Vol 2 #53
  9. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #31-33
  10. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #38
  11. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #39-40
  12. Sleepwalker #12
  13. Avengers: The Initiative Special #1
  14. Avengers: The Initiative #25
  15. Avengers: The Initiative #28-30
  16. Chaos War #1
  17. Chaos War: Ares #1
  18. Journey into Mystery #627
  19. Journey into Mystery #634
  20. Journey into Mystery #635
  21. Journey into Mystery #635-636
  22. Journey into Mystery #645
  23. Silver Surfer Vol 7 #5
  24. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #18
  25. Incredible Hercules #117-118
  26. Marvel Swimsuit Special #4
  27. Strange Tales Vol 2 #7
  28. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 8

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