Dylan Dog is a long running Italian comic strip, about a Supernatural Investigator (Indagatore dell’incubo – Nightmare Investigator) living and working in a horror infused world of London.
The comic was created by Tiziano Sclavi and has been running since 1986. The character was initially drawn to look like the English Actor: Rupert Everett, with his name inspired by the Famous Welsh Poet: Dylan Thomas (known for “Under Milk Wood” and amongst others, a collection of short stories titled “Portrait of the Artist of a Young Dog” – which is possibly where the inspiration for his last name is taken too).
What is Dylan’s style?
Dylan dresses uniformly and is recognised by his blue jeans, red shirt and black jacket. Always seen wearing the same look, it easier than deciding what to wear (a sentiment that Albert Einstein was said to have followed), Dylan owns twelve sets of this outfit.
He investigates the Paranormal using his deadly “dark arts” and is supported by his trusty sidekick Groucho (named after Comedian Groucho Marx and sporting the familiar moustache), who adds humour to this grisly genre and Dylan’s sombre temperament.
Where is it set?
Our hero primarily performs his investigations in London but has been known to travel to other locations on occasion. Dylan travels around the city in a rundown VW Beetle Cabriolet, riddled with problems but just as charismatic as our protagonist.
Another nod to the horror culture is the location of where Dylan and Groucho live, 7 Craven Road, named after Director Wes Craven, but also an actual London location and home to: Cafe Dylan Dog
Why have I not heard about or seen this before?
Although hugely popular in Italy, it is one of the most read comic characters, the books have rarely been translated into English, with only a mini series and one off special being translated and published through Dark Horse Comics (currently unavailable).
So where can I buy Dylan Dog and find out more about this mysterious character?
The comic books are widely available in Italy and can be found in Newsagents (Hudson News in airports often have the new editions, reprints and vintage versions) along with Kiosks found all over Italian towns.
Will reading these help learning Italian?
Enjoying the tales that are told in the books, along with the comic format can indeed help you learn Italian. Whereas a novel has pages of text and can be off putting for a beginner or intermediate, comic books break up the story and can be easier to follow. This allows more of the target language to be acquired. Tim Ferriss improved his Japanese language skills reading Manga stories in this way.
What about a Motion picture, surely that’s begging to be produced?
There have been a couple of big screen outings in released in English.
The first was “Cemetery Man”, starring Rupert Everett. An Italian/French/German Comedy Horror. The film is not strictly a Dylan Dog film but it does cover the same themes, a cemetery worker must dispatch the dead when the rise from the grave as zombies. The lead character does make an appearance in the Dylan Dog comics as a crossover. The film was based on a book by Tiziano Sclavi.
The second film was an English Language film released in 2011 “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night”, starring Brandon Routh (also known for playing Superman in the film “Superman Returns”) as our Hero Dylan. In this story Dylan investigates crimes of the Supernatural and the dead in Louisiana Bayou, USA. Besides relocating to action to America, Dylan did retain his famous “Red shirt, Jeans and Black Jacket” attire.
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