Dylan Dog No. 62 cover by Angelo Stano
|Publisher||Sergio Bonelli Editore|
|Publication date||October1986 - present|
|No. of issues||409|
|Main character(s)||Dylan Dog|
|Written by||Tiziano Sclavi|
|Dylan Dog Casefiles||ISBN 1-59582-206-2|
Dylan Dog is an Italian horror comics series featuring an eponymous character (a paranormal investigator) created by Tiziano Sclavi. The series is mainly set in London, where the protagonist lives, though he occasionally travels elsewhere.
Dark Horse Comics has published the English version of Dylan Dog in the United States; as of 2017, a new English edition was published by Epicenter Comics. The series is also published in Croatia by Ludens, in Serbia by Veseli ?etvrtak and Expik Publications, in North Macedonia by M-comics, in Denmark by Shadow Zone Media, in the Netherlands by Silvester, in Poland by BYM Projekt, in Spain by Aleta Ediciones, in Sweden by Ades Media, in Turkey by Rodeo and Hoz Comics, in Greece by Mamouth Comix, Jemma Press and Mikros Iros Publications and in Mexico by Panini Comics.
The series has sold over 60 million copies worldwide, and is the second best-selling comic book in Italy after the Tex series, another publication by Sergio Bonelli Editore, with over 120,000 copies sold each month.
The film Cemetery Man (original title: Dellamorte Dellamore, 1994) starring Rupert Everett, was loosely based on the comics, but its main reference was Tiziano Sclavi's novel Dellamorte Dellamore. A direct film adaptation, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, starring Brandon Routh, was instead released in 2011, but it was significantly different than the source material. A television series based on the comics is also in development.
Dylan Dog was created by Tiziano Sclavi, a comics and novel writer, while the graphic representation of the character was elaborated mainly by Claudio Villa, who was its first cover artist too, taking the inspiration from the English actor Rupert Everett, as he saw in the movie Another Country. The character was named for poet Dylan Thomas.
Dylan Dog series debuted in October 1986 with a comic book entitled "L'alba dei morti viventi" ("Dawn of the Living Dead"), plotted and scripted by Tiziano Sclavi and illustrated by Angelo Stano; it proved to be a huge publishing success in the years to come. May 2003 saw the publication of Issue 200, entitled "Il numero duecento" ("The Number Two-Hundred"), plotted and scripted by Paola Barbato and drawn by Bruno Brindisi. In August 2011, the series has reached the number 300, entitled "Ritratto di famiglia" ("Family Portrait").
In August 1987 a special annual release was added to the monthly series, called Numero Speciale (Special Issue), with one story longer than usual and, in addition, small extra books on various horror-related subjects.
Another annual release was added in March 1991, L'almanacco della paura ("The Almanac of Fear"): together with Dylan Dog stories, it includes articles and curiosities about film, literature, and other topics, all related to the horror theme.
January 1993 saw the appearance of a new annual book, the Dylan Dog Gigante ("Giant-Size Dylan Dog"), so called because it was much larger than the monthly book and because it contained more stories.
Dylan Dog maxi came out in July 1998. This was another annual release that collected together three previously unpublished stories.
In October 1990 an irregularly numbered issue came out: Dylan Dog e Martin Mystère - Ultima Fermata: l'incubo! (Dylan Dog and Martin Mystère - Last Stop: Nightmare!). It presented an unpublished story in which the nightmare investigator teamed up with another famous Bonelli character, Martin Mystère. Alfredo Castelli and Tiziano Sclavi wrote and plotted this story, and Giovanni Freghieri did the drawings. The story had a sequel in 1992.
The first reprint series came out in July 1990, the second in June 1991, and the third in June 1996, this time called Collezione Book (Collection Book); in October 2006 the bi-monthly reprint Grande ristampa was released.
February 1997 saw the release of the Super Book, a tri-monthly release that reprinted the special annual issues that had come out ten years before.
In August 2007, a new annual was released. Containing 4 new stories, the new comic book was called "Dylan Dog Color Fest" because it contained only stories full colored and not black and white like the regular series. In 2010 it became bi-annual (coming out in April and August every year). By 2016, each album would contain 3 colored stories - even though some albums also contain one individual story - and it would get published each number every three months. In November 2018, the 27th album will be released.
Dylan Dog (like all Sergio Bonelli comic books) is printed in black and white. However, there are some issues that came out full colored to celebrate certain anniversaries. These include numbers that are multiple of 100, decade anniversaries of the series and other rare occasions.
The first full colored issue was # 100, titled "La storia di Dylan Dog" ("The Story of Dylan Dog"), which told the final chapter of the adventure of Dylan. It was written by Tiziano Sclavi with drawings by Angel Stano. Volor issue 121, "Finché morte non vi separi" (Till Death Do Us Part) celebrated the 10th birthday. Issue number 200 "Il Numero 200" (Number 200), written by Paola Barbato with art by Bruno Brindisi, was also full colored and was the "sequel" of number 121 and the "prequel" of the very first issue ("Dawn of the living dead"). It tells what happened after Dylan's wife dies and how he became the "nightmare investigator". Issue 241 and 242 celebrated the 20th birthday of the series. Also in color was Sclavi and Brindisi's #250, "Ascensore per l'inferno" (literally "Elevator to hell"). The next full colored issue would be #300, "Ritratto di famiglia" ("Family picture"). Other coloured issues are number #131 "Quando cadono le stelle" ("When the stars fall", only final pages not in black and white), #224 "In nome del padre" (In father's name), #350 "Lacrime di Pietra" ("Tears of Stone"), #361 "Mater Dolarosa" ("Mother Dolarosa") and #375 "Nel Mistero" ("To Mystery"), which celebrates the return of Tiziano Sclavi in writing the script.
His clothes are one of his defining characteristics: he always dresses the same way, in a red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans; he bought twelve identical outfits after the death of his lover Lillie Connolly. Even during the worst weather, he never wears an overcoat or even carries an umbrella, since, according to him, an overcoat "would ruin his look", and he thinks that an umbrella is a "useless invention. Especially when it doesn't rain."
One of the principal supporting characters in the series is his assistant (or rather, comic relief), Groucho, a punning double of Groucho Marx. Another supporting character is Inspector Bloch, who was his superior when he worked at Scotland Yard and remains his father figure (in fact he calls Dylan "Old boy") even after Dylan struck out on his own to become a private investigator specializing in the supernatural.
Dylan lives with Groucho at 7 Craven Road in a cluttered apartment with a doorbell that screams. His hobbies include playing the clarinet (he only knows to play Devil's Trill, but plays it often) and constructing a model ship which he apparently never manages to finish; he has many phobias, including claustrophobia, fear of bats and acrophobia. Dylan is also particularly susceptible to motion sickness, which is one of the reasons why he rarely travels, and anyway never by plane. Once an alcoholic, he now never drinks. He is a vegetarian and animal rights supporter. Dylan cares little for many aspects of modern life. He hates cellphones and to record his memories, he still uses a feather-pen and an inkpot. Naturally, he loves literature (poetry in particular), music (his tastes range from classical to heavy metal), and horror films. Though perpetually penniless, he does not seem to be interested in money. In fact, the usual first piece of advice he gives to numerous clients who have found themselves in his study over the years is to go to a psychiatrist or psychologist. He does not believe in coincidences.
He is also a hopeless romantic who loves and loses a new woman in nearly every issue. In fact, in a majority of his cases, his clients are women, with whom he often has a sexual relationship.
The series is mainly set in London, where the protagonist lives, though he occasionally travels elsewhere, such as imaginary realms such as "La zona del crepuscolo" (Twilight Zone). His address is 7 Craven Road, London, in reference to director Wes Craven.
The Cafe at 7 Craven Road, Paddington, London, was renamed Cafe Dylan Dog in 2013. In 2012, the cafe offered "Dylan Dog Meal" with beef or pork included, even though Dylan himself is a vegetarian.
In October 2019, DC Comics and Sergio Bonelli Editori announced a crossover series between Dylan Dog and Batman. Issue #0 of the crossover, titled "Relazioni pericolose" ("Dangerous liaisons"), script by Roberto Recchioni with art by Gigi Cavenago and Werther Dell'Edera, was published in December 2019.
Dylan Dog is the second most widely sold comic book in Italy (the first one is another publication of Sergio Bonelli Editore, Tex): including both reprints and new stories, it sells over 120,000 copies each month. As of 2017, the series has sold over 60 million copies worldwide.
American publisher Dark Horse Comics released an English translation of a selection of Dylan Dog stories in 1999. This six-issue miniseries was later completed by a one-shot released in 2002. To avoid legal complications regarding Groucho Marx's estate, the art was altered so that Groucho no longer sports the Marx brother's signature moustache, and was renamed "Felix". Every cover in the six-issue mini featured art by American comics artist Mike Mignola.
As of 2016, Epicenter Comics published a new English version of some Dylan Dog stories.
A 680-page volume, Dylan Dog Casefiles, was released in 2009 (ISBN 1595822062), to tie in with the movie Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. It reprinted the seven stories Dark Horse previously released. This volume also includes cover art by Mike Mignola.
Claudio Villa created the covers until Dylan Dog No. 42 (1990), after which he was replaced by Angelo Stano. While Stano has also illustrated several stories, Villa has illustrated only a short one, in the seventh Dylan Dog Gigante.
In 1994 Italian director Michele Soavi directed the film Dellamorte Dellamore (known abroad as Cemetery Man or Of Death and Love), with a screenplay written by Giovanni Romoli and based on Tiziano Sclavi's similarly titled novel. Francesco Dellamorte (his mother's surname was Dellamore) - a sort of Italian alter ego for Dylan Dog - appears for the first time in the third special issue of Dylan Dog, Orrore nero (Black Horror), released July 1989, in which he met the Nightmare Detective, but Sclavi's novel was written before the special issue.
Francesco Dellamorte also appears in a short (comic book) sequel to Orrore nero, entitled Stelle cadenti (Falling stars), where Dylan, Groucho, Francesco and Gnaghi are walking together during saint Lawrence's night, watching shooting stars and talking about life and death.
English actor Rupert Everett played the protagonist, Francesco Dellamorte, while Italian model and actress Anna Falchi played the female lead. Although having Everett in the main role, the Dylan Dog character did not appear in the movie.
Kevin Munroe has directed an official American film adaptation of Dylan Dog starring actor Brandon Routh as the title character. Differences between the comic result in the film being set in New Orleans instead of London, the character of Groucho being replaced by an un-dead sidekick called Marcus due to issues for the production to acquire the rights to use the Groucho Marx name and style, another difference is Dylan Dog's Volkswagen Beetle being black with a white hood instead of the opposite like in the comic. The film also appears to be much lighter in tone and more action-oriented, lacking the surreal feeling, the black humour and the melancholy of the comic book, and the Dylan character is portrayed like more of a scientist-adventurer in the vein of Indiana Jones, rather than the romantic loner he is in the comics. It was originally going to premiere on Halloween 2010 in Italy but has since been pushed back to a 29 April 2011 release. The film has been produced by the independent company Platinum Studios.