Oh, why bother? It’s all going to the dogs. Graduate employment, the economy, journalism, Hogwarts… they’re all collapsing around our ears. These are dark times, and the weather won’t make up its bloody mind, either. But they could be worse. London could be populated by flesh eating zombies and invisible murderers – by creatures waiting in the dark to pounce upon the weak.
It is this surreal, horrific London through which paranormal investigator, Dylan Dog, moves, taking bizarre cases, wandering through dreamscapes and engaging with the forces of darkness. Oo-er!
Special cover art is provided by Hellboy’s Mike Mignola…
Dylan is the creation of Italian writer, Tiziano Sclavi, and first appeared in 1986. The Dylan Dog Case Files collects and translates seven early stories all written by Sclavi and drawn by a variety of artists. The collection is black and white (in a similar way to the Marvel Essential collections). The imagery is clear and appreciable. The layout is generally simple, keeping mostly to six frames per page, just like the classics of the sixties. Special cover art is provided by Hellboy’s Mike Mignola, which is nice as far as it goes, but the tone of The Case Files is darker and dirtier than Mignola’s other projects.
The stories are loosely plotted, and meander from one grotesque vignette to the next. Peaceful interludes generally involve Dylan gazing mournfully into the distance, lost in melancholia, or having sex with whomever he is supposed to be working for (generally a fabulously attractive, yet vulnerable, bombshell).
He is apparently penniless, but owns a rather nice house in Central London…
Dylan is – as you might expect – tall, dark and handsome. He is apparently penniless, but owns a rather nice house in Central London, a detail that requires greater suspension of disbelief than that required to accept the monster he will have beheaded in preceding pages.
The book is alternately spine tingling, horrific, camp and rather entertaining, but it is vaguely irritating to read what is clearly an American translation of text attributed to British characters. As a result, there are moments that lack verisimilitude.
…character in the comics is based on Rupert Everett as he appeared in Another Country…
If you enjoy the book you might want to avoid the 2010 film adaptation. I have no qualm with Brandon Routh, but he was the worst possible choice to play Dylan. Slim, moody and English, Routh is not. Indeed, the look of the character in the comics is based on Rupert Everett as he appeared in Another Country (think public school communists, cricket whites, floppy hair and closet homosexuality). Instead, you might try Dellamorte Dellamore, an Italian film, penned by Sclavi himself and starring Everett. It bombed at the box office and you will see why. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t stonkingly good fun.
Image courtesy of Tiziano Sclavi