Taking a nap is hardly a super power (unless you can do it at work without getting caught). But these comic book characters can tap into the worlds of dreams, nightmares and slumber to manifest powers that can keep you up at night. Here are eight mutants and misfits who use the power of sleep to change the world.
First Appearance: Nightmask #1 (1986)
Powers/Abilities: Able to exist in and manipulate the dreams of others, and project illusions directly into other people’s minds
The original Nightmask was Keith Remsen. He first appeared in 1986 as an 18-year-old man whose parents sent him to study with an unstable doctor and purported dream expert. Worried that Remsen’s parents were trying to steal his research, the doctor blew them up (and paralyzed Remsen’s younger sister), while rendering Keith comatose. In July of 1986, Keith was awakened by “The White Event” — an unexplained flash of white light that enveloped the Earth — and discovered he had the power to enter people’s dreams, communicate telepathically and fire energy blasts.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #291 (1986)
Powers/Abilities: Mutant brain capable of uncontrollably warping reality to reflect his dreams
Joseph “Licorice” Calhoun existed in the Marvel Universe during the early 1900s. As a jazz musician, his powers seemed limited to expertise on the clarinet, until he realized one day that, if he dreamt about something vividly enough, it would reflect in reality. For example, upon learning about Licorice’s “gift,” his employer, club owner Mr. Cleveland, ordered Calhoun to dream about his prized race horse winning the biggest purse of all time. If he didn’t, Calhoun’s fingers would be snapped off. Terrified by the threat, Calhoun instead dreamt nightmares full of fire and pain, and woke to the news that Mr. Cleveland’s stables had, in fact, burned down thanks to his vision.
First Appearance: The Sandman, Vol. 2 (1989)
Powers/Abilities: Omnipotent and all-seeing lord of dreams and stories
As one of the seven “Endless” in Neil Gaiman’s famed Sandman series, Dream is an inconceivably powerful being, older and greater than gods. Describing him is tricky, since he takes many forms but, according to the “Seasons of Mist” story arc, human mortals view him as “rake-thin, with skin the color of falling snow.” Dream’s origin story asserts that he was born into existence once sentient life forms became capable of dreaming, armed with “Sands of Sleep” — sand particles capable of inducing sleep, and releasing dreams into the mortal world.
First Appearance: Sleepwalker #1 (1991)
Powers/Abilities: Alien protector against evil entities who attempt to invade the minds of sleeping humans and drive them mad.
Okay, stay with us here: Sleepwalker is a member of an alien race (also known, confusingly, as “Sleepwalkers”) from The Mindscape. The Mindscape is the dimension that straddles reality and dreams. The Mindscape’s evil entities seek to inhabit and control the sleeping minds of humans. When Sleepwalker enters the mind of college student Rick Sheridan, he becomes trapped and, in doing so, he becomes Sheridan’s “avatar” whenever he goes to sleep, materializing in reality, and defending Earth just like The Mindscape.
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #317 (1964)
Powers/Abilities: Precognitive dreams
Nura Nal, aka: Dream Girl, comes from the planet Naltor, where almost all of the inhabitants possess some form of precognition. In Dream Girl’s case, her precognition manifests in the form of dreams that have allowed her to predict everything from planetary genocides to assassination attempts. Rated one of the most powerful precogs on her home planet, Dream Girl is also able to exert exceptional hand-to-hand fighting skills because her precognition allows her to see seconds into the future, even when awake.
The Kingdom Keepers
First Appearance: Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark (2005)
Powers/Abilities: Nightly transport to the fantastical Disney Magic Kingdom
Five young teens were selected to be holographic theme park guides at Walt Disney World. But a glitch in the technology resulted in an unexpected side effect — each night, the kids are transported to the Magic Kingdom (the actual Kingdom, not the theme park) to battle the legion of Disney villains known as The Overtakers. The villains include everyone from Maleficent to Gaston to Judge Doom, and their goal is to take over Disney theme parks, the Disney empire and, eventually, the world…kind of just like the real Disney.
First Appearance: Thundercats, Episode 2: The Unholy Alliance (1985)
Powers/Abilities: master of magic, unlimited knowledge of the mystical arts, superhuman strength, shapeshifting, electrokinesis, necromancy
See that huge list of powers up there? That explains why Mumm-Ra, arch nemesis of Lion-O and the Thundercats, is the only villain who actually needs to take a nap when he overloads on evil. Once Mumm-Ra surpasses his threshold of energy disbursement, he must actively revert to his mummified state, and take a snooze in his sarcophagus to rejuvenate. It’s the equivalent of getting yelled at by your boss so harshly that he passes out from the rage.