Dylan Dog

Dylan Dog No. 1 cover by Claudio Villa
Publication information
Publisher Sergio Bonelli Editore
Format Ongoing series
Genre Horror
Publication date October 1986 – present
Main character(s) Dylan Dog
Creative team
Writer(s) Tiziano Sclavi
Paola Barbato
Claudio Chiaverotti
Pasquale Ruju
Michele Medda
Artist(s) Angelo Stano
Bruno Brindisi
Corrado Roi
Claudio Castellini
Creator(s) Tiziano Sclavi
Collected editions
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 for the publishing house Sergio Bonelli Editore. Though published in Italy, the series is mainly set in London, where the protagonist lives, though he occasionally travels elsewhere.

Sclavi's progressive disinvolvement has left other authors the task of carrying forward character continuity.

Dark Horse Comics has published the English version of Dylan Dog in the United States. The series is also published in Croatia by Ludens, in Serbia by Veseli Četvrtak and Expik Publications, in Denmark by Shadow Zone Media, in the Netherlands by Silvester, in Poland by Egmont Polska, in Spain by Aleta Ediciones, and in Turkey by Rodeo and Hoz Comics.

The comics have been adapted into two films: Cemetery Man (original title: Dellamorte Dellamore, 1994) starring Rupert Everett and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011) starring Brandon Routh.

Publication history

Dylan Dog was created by Tiziano Sclavi, an Italian 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.[1][2] The character was named for poet Dylan Thomas.[3]

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 Fear Almanac"): 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 (Maximum Dylan Dog) 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.


The infamous screaming bell. Indagatore dell'incubo is Italian for "Nightmare Investigator".

Dylan Dog is a penniless nightmare investigator ("L'indagatore dell'incubo") who defies the whole preceding horror tradition with a vein of Surrealism and an anti-bourgeois rhetoric.

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.[4]

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 doesn't 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.

Dr. Xabaras is Dylan's worst enemy.

He's 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.[5]


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 Craven Road n°7, London, in reference to director Wes Craven.[citation needed]

The Cafe at 7 Craven Road, Paddington, London, was renamed Cafe Dylan Dog in 2013. In 2012, cafe offered "Dylan Dog Meal" with beef or pork included, even though Dylan Dog is a vegetarian.

Supporting characters

Groucho, Dylan's assistant, on the cover of a spin-off devoted to his solo surreal adventures.

  • Inspector Bloch, Dylan's superior when he worked at Scotland Yard, remained his friend and father figure even after our hero quit the force. Bloch and Dylan often help out in each other's cases. Bloch is more rational and grounded than Dylan and often disregards Supernatural explanations. He is an old but competent officer who dreams of retirement. Though Dylan causes enough trouble on his own, Bloch is also plagued by his hapless underling, Jenkins, whom he constantly threatens to sentence to a life of directing traffic. His graphic representation was inspired by English actor Robert Morley and is named for crime, horror and science fiction author Robert Bloch.
  • Groucho was a Groucho Marx impersonator whose character became his permanent personality (hinted to be because of memory loss in 'Oltre quella porta' issue 228). Now he lives and works with Dylan Dog as his professional sidekick. Like his famous namesake, Groucho enjoys cracking puns and women, though he does not share his employer's luck with the ladies. Groucho's goofy, off-beat personality helps temper Dylan's moodiness. He also reminds his boss when their finances are in dire straits (almost always), shows up with a pistol in the nick of time and throws it in Dylan's hand right on time, and makes tea. At some point in every issue Groucho makes one or two jokes that annoy Dylan and the person listening to the joke (often a client of Dylan's). An example: "...once, I had a dog which could utter its own name. It was named Woof."[6]

Cultural influence

Italian author Umberto Eco said: "I can read the Bible, Homer, or Dylan Dog for several days without being bored."[7]


Dylan Dog is the second widely sold comic book in Italy (the first one is another publication of Sergio Bonelli Publishing, Tex): including both reprints and new stories, it sells over 350000 copies each month.

English Translation (Dark Horse)

American publisher Dark Horse Comics has 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 famed Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

Six-Issue miniseries

  • Dylan Dog No. 1 (March 1999) – Translated from "L'Alba dei Morti Viventi" ("Dawn of the Living Dead") in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°1 (1986).
  • Dylan Dog No. 2 (April 1999) – Translated from "Johnny Freak" in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°81 (1993).
  • Dylan Dog No. 3 (late April 1999) – Translated from "Memorie dall'invisibile" ("Memories of an Invisible Man") in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°19 (1988).
  • Dylan Dog No. 4 (June 1999) – Translated from "il ritorno del mostro" ("The Monster Returns") in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°8 (1987).
  • Dylan Dog No. 5 (July 1999) – Translated from "Morgana" in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°25 (1988).
  • Dylan Dog No. 6 (August 1999) – Translated from "Dopo Mezzanotte" ("After Midnight") in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n°26 (1988).


  • Dylan Dog : Zed (November 2002) – Translated from "Zed", in Dylan Dog (Italian edition) n° 84.

Collected edition

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. 41 (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.


  • 2000: Nominated for the "Favourite comic" Eagle Award
  • 2008: Nominated for the "Favourite European Comics" Eagle Award


Dellamorte Dellamore

Main article: Dellamorte Dellamore

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.[8] 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. But they are not alone, that night...

English actor Rupert Everett played the protagonist, Francesco Dellamorte, while Italian model and actress Anna Falchi played the female lead. Although Everett, playing Dellamorte, wore Dylan Dog's trademark costume, the Dylan Dog character did not appear in the movie.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Main article: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

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 an 29 April 2011 release. The film has been produced by the independent company Platinum Studios.

See also


  1. "Dylan Dog:Craven Road n.7". Cravenroad7.it. http://www.cravenroad7.it/doc/faq.htm#c. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  2. [1][dead link]
  3. As declared by the character himself in Dylan Dog No. 8, Il ritorno del mostro, Sergio Bonelli Editore, march 1986.
  4. "Dylan Dog: Groucho e gli altri". Sergiobonellieditore.it. http://www.sergiobonellieditore.it/dylan/servizi/groucho.html. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  5. "Il mio nome č Dylan Dog". Sergiobonellieditore.it. http://www.sergiobonellieditore.it/dylan/servizi/il_mio_nome.html. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  6. "...una volta avevo un cane che sapeva dire il suo nome. Si chiamava Bau." issue: "Golconda!", page 69
  7. Eco Umberto in Ostini Alberto (1998), Dylan Dog, indocili sentimenti, arcane paure, «Umberto Eco e Tiziano Sclavi. Un dialogo», Milan, Euresis)
  8. Dylan Dog at Internet Movie Database


External links


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