Back in 1989, Marvel was all about A Nightmare on Elm Street. They had a magazine-style comic series that they were releasing which featured a brand new storyline of Dr. Juliann Quinn, a psychiatrist who is intent on investigating Springwood’s nightmare epidemic of the killer known as Freddy Krueger. She teams up with Allison Hayes, a young woman who was very nearly killed by Freddy, and the two of them vow to rid Springwood, and the world, of this evil once and for all.
While the concept sounds really interesting and the black-and-white art was quite striking at times (I get a serious Junji Ito vibe occasionally), the series was cut tragically short, lasting only two issues.
Writer Steve Gerber explained the reason for this cancellation in Issue #8 of “Reading For Pleasure” back in January 1990:
A note on the why’s and wherefore’s of the magazine’s cancellation (which, incidentally, was a major topic of discussion in the Comics relay a few months back). According to my best information, Marvel cancelled the book in anticipation of pressure from the various anti-violence advocate groups. A few weeks prior to the release of the first NIGHTMARE, there had been an article published in the New York Times decrying the level of violence in comic books. Apparently, that article—along with the picketing that took place outside theatres showing NIGHTMARE 5 in Los Angeles and elsewhere—was enough to make Marvel turn tail and run for cover.
Please note that this is DESPITE the fact that the NIGHTMARE magazine carried a “suggested for mature readers” warning and that NO DIRECT PRESSURE had actually been applied on Marvel.
The cancellation of NIGHTMARE is a textbook example of the “chilling effect” you hear so much about these days in discussions of free speech. The book was killed not because of it WAS criticized, but because the publishers FEARED it would be criticized.
This won’t be the last incident of its type, either. The impulse to censor—led by groups on both the left and the right, and fed by the innate cowardice of American business—is growing in this country. It’s something that anyone who reads for pleasure or edification ought to be aware of, and prepared to combat. In one of the great ironies of history, we have a situation in which the totalitarian nations of the world are on an inexorable march toward freedom, while their very model, the United States, is moving slowly, but dangerously, in the opposite direction. [Source]
While we were only graced with two issues (both of which can be read here), artist Joe Jusko released what would’ve been the cover art for a third issue and it’s a gloriously beautiful piece of work. It shows Freddy emerging from a fire that is fueled by music that parents probably feared gave their children the nightmares in the first place!
Enjoy the artwork below!