Comic Book: Dylan Dog

The second-best selling Italian comic book, once the first during the "Dylan craze" of the early nineties. Created by Tiziano Sclavi and published by Sergio Bonelli, Dylan Dog is a series focusing on a former Scotland Yard detective now known as the "Nightmare Investigator", who lives on 7 Craven Road, London and fights monsters, demons and many more otherworldly creatures for £100 a day plus expenses, or solves cases about horrifying sociopathic criminals. The series (at least during its early years) managed to deconstruct horror clichés and to create an intriguing, flawed and sympathetic Anti-Hero in a morally complex world. Dylan Dog was also known for the surreal, poetic quality of its writing and its black humour.

Because of a generally acknowledged rule, there was Live-Action Adaptation called Dylan Dog Dead Of Night, starring Brandon Routh as the eponymous detective and co-starring Sam Huntington, Anita Briem, Peter Stormare, Taye Diggs and Kurt Angle (yes, that Kurt Angle). The storyline of the movie isn't an Adaptation Distillation of any story arc of the comic, but an entirely independent one instead. The film was poorly-received, and has been disowned by most fans of the comic.

Interestingly enough, it can be said that Dylan Dog has already had a movie version, but for the name and some minor adjustments. Based upon a book written by Tiziano Sclavi (the character's creator) around one of the very first drafts of the series (before Bonelli mandated the change from an Italian setting and protagonist to an Anglo-Saxon one, as customary for the Milanese publisher, whose only Italian hero to date was the Swiss-based Napoleone) and played by the very actor upon whose likenesses D.D. was molded (Rupert Everett), DellaMorte DellAmore is a pretty clear expy. Placed on the outskirts of Milan, minus Groucho, but definitely a young D.D., complete with melancholy zombies and a rusty VW Beetle.

Tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: One of the series' trademarks.
  • The Alcoholic: Dylan was this before the beginning of the series - he started drowning his sorrows after the death of Lillie.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Anti-Hero: Dylan is lazy, prone to mood swings and depression, anxious, full of phobias (he is afraid of flying, of ships, of heights, of bats, very afraid of closed spaces...) and not particularly brave, strong or sharp. As a bonus, several times he royally screws up his cases.
    • Dylan is also this in the film, but in a different way; basically he's more stoic and withdrawn.
  • Asshole Victim: In most of the stories, the "poor" victims of the Monster of the Week turn out to be unlikeable jerks who did something bad enough to deserve the monster's anger. In some cases, they are revealed to be even worse than the monster itself.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The series drops a nuke on this trope.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens in some of Sclavi's surreal stories.
  • Broken Aesop: The series insisted that physical beauty does not count, and yet Dylan kept bedding only young, gorgeous chicks. Realizing the problem, the writers finally had Dylan sleeping with a much older, ugly, overweight woman.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Jenkins.
  • Captain Ersatz: Mana Cerace the boogeyman is a pretty obvious one of Freddy Krueger.
  • The Casanova: Usually, Dylan sleeps with at least a different woman each month.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dylan is this trope.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Dylan's appearance was inspired by actor Rupert Everett. Also, Kim is... well, Kim Novak. Plus, Professor Adam looks like an old Sean Connery. Some of the first stories featured characters that seemed to be based on Jack Nicholson, Bette Davis, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins and several others. And then there's Groucho.
    • As a general rule, Sergio Bonelli Editore - the publishing house of Dylan Dog - tends to use this a lot. In reality, almost all of the main cast of every series they published is heavily based upon real actors (Alan Ladd for Tex Willer, Rupert Everett for Dylan Dog, Marlon Brando for Napoleone). Among the major series it publishes, only the protagonist of Nathan Never is not based on an actor... but his main sidekick used to be "Legs" Weaver.
  • Cool Old Guy: Inspector Bloch, recurring character and old friend of Dylan.
    • Also the Good side of Xabaras, an old sword master confined to a mysterious island in another dimension.
    • By the way, since using real people as a base for characters is the way SBE works, Bloch is based on Robert Bloch, the author.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dylan loves this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dylan and Bloch, mainly.
  • Death Is Cheap: In Dylan's universe, dying isn't a big problem. Hell, even Dylan has already died several times.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The series during its best years.
  • Depending on the Writer: Pink Rabbit. May be justified and enforced in-universe: according to a fan theory, he was a psycho in Pink Rabbits Kill because the first drawing artist who summoned him was a crazy murderer, and he turned into a Toon who doesn't understand what "death" is in Land of Colored Shadows because the second summoner was a nice guy.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Kim, a young Hot Witch who falls in love with Dylan, was Put on a Bus because: 1) Dylan had to remain single and 2) her powers risked achieving Story Breaker status. To say nothing of her cat Cagliostro, who is even more powerful.
    • Lord Wells, Dylan's only wealthy friend, is always travelling around the world whenever Dylan needs money badly.
  • Deus ex Machina: Often needed to save Dylan's ass.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: This one is fairly common too.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Lampshaded and deconstructed in the film when Dylan tells his would-be killer that he cocked the gun too early, and that he should have waited to see if simply putting the gun in his face would be scary enough.
  • Dumb Blonde: Anna Never.
  • Enemy Without: An interesting variation where A deribelately forces B to become A's Enemy Within, so that A may physically interact with its own evil side. The disfigured villain initially wants to "commit suicide" by eliminating both his good-looking substitute and Dylan Dog, whom he forces to become his serial killer character "Joe Montero". He changes his mind and ends up using Montero to kill himself.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Many villains end up like that.
  • Fiery Redhead: Lillie.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Dylan is strangely sceptical for someone who has faced all sorts of supernatural occurrences.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Another trope used to nail in the concept that normal humans are the most terrifying creatures.
  • Girl of the Week: There might not be a better example of this trope.
  • Green Aesop: Dylan's favourite.
  • The Grim Reaper: She and Dylan spend a lot of time together.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dylan and Groucho.
    • Dylan and Marcus in the film.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Bree Daniels, named for Bridget Fonda's Hooker with a Heart of Gold in the film Kloot.
  • Hot Witch: Kim.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Oh, boy...
  • Impersonating an Officer: This is part of Dylan's shtick when he works on a case. To be fair, he actually was a cop once, and kept his ID card. A running gag is when he uses it and thinks "Hope (s)he doesn't notice it's expired". Often, they do.
  • Just for Pun: Every other sentence said by Groucho.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lillie and Bree. Possibly Kim too.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Inspector Bloch.
  • Knight Templar: Many of Dylan's enemies.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Utterly subverted, starting with Dylan himself.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Xabaras is Dylan's father.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: All the stories written by author Chiaverotti - so much, in fact, that fans now commonly refer to this kind of finale as a "Chiaverotti ending".
  • Mind Screw: Almost every storyline about Dylan's past. And quite a few others, too.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dylan either saves the day... or ruins everything.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Groucho, Dylan's sidekick. Quite obviously so.
  • No Export for You: Averted... sort of. Dark Horse Comics have translated a whopping seven books, with brand new covers by Mike Mignola.
  • Non-Action Guy: Dylan, while not totally incompetent in dangerous situations, definitely isn't an Action Hero and gets his ass handed to him fairly often.
    • Lampshaded in the film:
    Dylan: "For someone who thinks he's pretty smart, I sure get the crap kicked out of me a lot."
    • Groucho and Bloch are even better examples of this trope.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Groucho.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Twice in "Johnny Freak". Dylan downs a glass of alcohol upon learning that Johnny's physical mutilations (except the deafness) were explants of perfectly healthy organs; and when Johnny's real family takes him away, Groucho gets uncharacteristically sad.
    • It happens again in "The Mirror of the Soul", when Dylan's laughter at Groucho's jokes creeps Groucho himself.
  • Oedipus Complex: Dylan for Morgana, big time.
  • Perpetual Poverty: How Dylan and Groucho live.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Groucho!
  • Pungeon Master: Groucho again.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Jenkins.
  • Serial Killer: An alarming number of them.
  • Signature Sound Effect: "SZOCK", whenever a blade penetrates someone's flesh. And sometimes "KCOZS" when it is pulled out.
  • Shout-Out: Trying to list all of them would be a superhuman task. Stephen King is a favourite target.
    • A fairly important recurring character is called Professor Wells.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Dylan is a hopeless romantic, while the series itself can be rather bleak and cynical.
  • Status Quo Is God: A constant. Even if the story ends with Dylan dying or the world ending, next month the Reset Button will be pushed. Seriously.
    • Usually it is only a dream (Cagliostro's dream in two different episodes). Or some cosmic entity, namely Death, resets everything because "it's more interesting this way". Hell's Bureaucratic Department is good at hiding things, too.
  • STD Immunity: Dylan either has this or is very, very lucky.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Dylan.
  • Vomiting Cop: Bloch, every so often.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xabaras.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: If you have a problem with ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies or anything supernatural, call Dylan. He comes cheap and he is a nice guy. There's a good chance he will fuck things up and get you killed, though. And if you're a lady, you just might get laid.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Xabaras has developed a serum that turns people into zombies. It also happens in the confusing story where Morgana is introduced.
    • And the story "Orrore Nero" (Black Horror) features The Mafia using a Zombie-like serum to fake their deaths.