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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 a 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.

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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.

In August 2018, Bonelli announced the foundation of a division dedicated to TV productions and that, after buying the rights back, they will produce an English-language Dylan Dog series under their direct scrutiny, with possibilities of cameos of characters from other series published by them to set up a possible Expanded Universe.

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Tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Bloch calls Dylan "Old Boy".
  • 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: Dylan Dog.
  • Amusing Injuries: Deconstructed. Pink Rabbit is a toon that came to the real world. Carnage ensued, since his amusing slapstick violence actually killed people, although but he wasn't aware of things such as permanent injuries and death. It was actually kinda creepy.
  • Animal Motif: The story "The Hyena" goes crazy with this trope, focusing on a murderous criminal known as 'Grin the Hyena' who goes around killing his former allies with the animals they resemble ("Rat" Will is shot to the knees and left to be devoured by rats, a guy surnamed Boxer gets killed by a trained dobermann and Sybil 'The Viper' is bitten by her own pet snake, although Grin decides to stab her to death because he's in a hurry) in the end Grin himself dies after getting shot and falls into the hyena enclosure of the London Zoo.
  • 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.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: In this series, Asshole Victims are usually established through Kick the Dog moments, which sometimes are literal. It's also a Berserk Button for Dylan.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Happens very often. A particularly sadistic example is Dust, a Fallen Angel who was sentenced to suffer by committing evil while being unable to understand it due his nature as an angel, searching for Ash, a devil kicked out of hell and sentenced to bring happiness by helping people have what they wish the most, so Ash will be forced by his own punishment to make him understand evil. It happens, and Dust goes instantly mad.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The series drops a nuke on this trope.
  • Big Bad: Two of them:
    • Initially it was Xabaras, the villain of the first story intent to find the secret of immortality-and risking to cause a Zombie Apocalypse in the process.
    • After Xabaras' death, the role was taken over by John Ghost, a Corrupt Corporate Executive prone to Kick the Dog who also serves as HM The Queen's troubleshooter. He's also collaborating with Bloch and Groucho for an unknown goal (that for some reason involves getting Dylan married).
  • Blessed with Suck: "The Fairy of Evil" follows Dylan trying to help a woman named Banshee who causes horrible accidents and dangerous, surreal events to happen around her. It's later revealed that she was born dead, but then got hit by falling antimatter that granted her "anti-life", bringing her to life at the cost of being cursed to generate misfortunes. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A lot of characters Dylan deals with have it. A noteworthy example is in the issue "Golconda!" with a Giant Eye, the Men with the Bowler and the fairies being described as merely "elemental sprites" and their horrifying, surreal killing sprees to be their way of playing.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
  • Broken Aesop:
    • In "Johnny Freak" Dylan gets defensive towards Johnny whenever people refer to him as a "freak" and even told him on his deathbed that he is not a freak... and yet, later issues reveal that he has been buried in a Freaks Cemetery, made worse by the fact that the only real handicap Johnny had was being born deaf mute.
    • 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.
  • Bungled Suicide: One special issue had a terminally ill man who, after selling his soul to Baba Yaga in exchange for revenge on the killers of his family, tried to kill himself multiple times to uphold his side of the deal, but the Devil continued to interfere in darkly funny ways because the man had sold his soul to him first (he sold it to Baba Yaga when the Devil announced he'd give him his revenge only when he would not be able to enjoy it).
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Jenkins.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Dylan once said that he married Lillie Connolly while she was in prison, but in other occasions he claimed to have never been married.
    • He also claims to always wear the same clothes because he was dressed that way the day he met Lillie, but a later story reveals that he wore those clothes the day another girlfriend of his, Allison, was killed and that he wants to commemorate her instead.
  • Captain Ersatz: There are countless of them in this Shout-Out-heavy series. Some examples: in "Pink Rabbits Kill" there's an animation company held by a guy named Sandy Sidney, Mana Cerace the boogeyman is a Captain Ersatz of Freddy Krueger and Dr. Killex is a pretty obvious one of Hannibal Lecter.
  • Cartwright Curse: Being a girlfriend of Dylan Dog is really dangerous.
  • The Casanova: Usually, Dylan sleeps with at least a different woman each month.
  • Catchphrase: Giuda ballerino! ("Jumping Judas!") is Dylan's favorite exclamation.
  • Chess with Death: A story involved literally this, with interesting rules: if the person (who just died) won, he would come back to life (no drawback if he loses) but for every non-pawn piece he loses, a person close to him would die.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dylan is this trope.
  • Classical 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.
  • 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.
  • Comic-Book Time: Dylan's age was stated to be 33 in 1986 when the series started. He hasn't aged at all since.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Parodied. When Bloch had been shot and was comatose and not expected to survive the night, Groucho went to his bed... To unleash a long series of his aweful jokes and puns. It's made clear that Bloch could hear him when he wakes up (and survives) just to scream that someone stops Groucho and takes him away.
  • Cool Car: At least Dylan always considered it cool. His trusty vehicle is a white convertible Volkswagen Beetle Type 1, with the license plate DYD 666.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Inspector Bloch, recurring character and old friend of Dylan.
    • Lord Wells is a Gadgeteer Genius who uses his inventions to study the supernatural and help Dylan fight monsters.
    • Also the Good side of Xabaras, an old sword master confined to a mysterious island in another dimension.
  • Creator Provincialism: Downplayed. The writers usually take great pains to respect the comic's London setting, but over the course of the time there have been several clues/riddles/whatever that needed to be solved in Italiannote  just as a character who can speak Italian happened to be nearby.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: This series is ripe with creatively surreal and gruesome deaths.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dylan loves this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Dylan and Bloch, mainly.
    • Groucho as well, obviously.
  • Deal with the Devil: The story "Baba Yaga" is centered about two such deals made by the same person. Said person was terminally ill and stole from a gangster so his family could live well after he died, and the gangster in retaliation killed his family after he told him why he had done so. To have his revenge, the man sold his soul to the devil so the gangster and his men would die before him... And then the devil tells him he'll kill them right before he dies, so he won't be able to see them dying and enjoy his revenge. Furious, the man makes another deal, offering his soul to Baba Yaga in exchange for their death. Yaga delivers immediately... And the devil shows up because the man had sold the soul to him first, and refuses to let him die (and thus let Yaga claim his soul) until he can take said soul.
    • Apparently making deals with the devil is a fairly common practice in the entertainment world. An agent who is actually a devil hires Dylan to discover who has been taking his clients' souls while they're still alive, thereby also robbing them of their talent.
  • Death by Gluttony: In a story, Dylan Dog and other six people representing the Seven Sins are invited in a creepy mansion. The Gluttonous victim literally explodes after eating a mint candy after a gigantic meal. Justified, as Dylan put a bomb in that candy.
  • Death Is Cheap: In Dylan's universe, dying isn't a big problem. Hell, even Dylan has already died several times, but it's a bit more justified because Death usually explains to him that his time to die hasn't come yet.
  • 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 the sequel "The 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.
  • The Dreaded: Of all the monsters Dylan has met, there's only one who truly leaves him helpless, even in memory: Slender Man.
  • Dumb Blonde: Anna Never.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Some stories show the Monster of the Week being apparently killed or made inoffensive, only for them to reappear in the last page.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In one story, a literal devil hires Dylan to stop a scientist from unleashing an horrific virus she created, which acts like a contagious cancer and makes the victim a Technically Living Zombie.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: In one story, Groucho is repeatedly trying trying to tell a joke about three men about to be executed (the guillotine blade keeps stopping just above their necks, so the first two are pardoned due to an Act of God, but the third man announces that he's figured out where the fault is) to a nice old lady who is an unwitting friend and companion of the evil witch, but is constantly interrupted before he can get to the punchline. After the witch is defeated, they later sit down for some tea, and Groucho finishes the joke. She doesn't get it. And then she decides to kill them all, monstering out and revealing herself to be considerably more powerful than her late friend despite acting like a dimwitted old granny the whole time.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Many villains end up like that.
  • Explosive Decompression: In issue #60 an astronaut in orbit gets his oxygen hose chopped, causing his face to puff up and his eyes to pop out of their sockets.
  • Fallen Angel: The comic once showed us Dust, an angel kicked out of heaven for unspecified reasons and sentenced to wander the world and commit evil and be hated for it, with the added bonus that, as an angel, he's unable to understand evil. He's since taken to committing evil on serial killers and monsters, thus ultimately doing good by making them suffer with imprisonment.
  • Fantastic Racism: Played for laughs in "The Land of Colored Shadows", in which Pink Rabbit tells Dylan that he's racist for calling him 'Pink Rabbit' all the time and that his real name is Jumpo.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Episode #66 ends with Harvey Burton being condemned to spend the whole eternity in a void limbo because he cheated the Grim Reaper at chess.
  • Fiery Redhead: Lillie.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Dylan is strangely skeptical for someone who has faced all sorts of supernatural occurrences. Although, he explains that his method is to consider all possible solutions until only the impossible remains.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Another trope used to nail in the concept that normal humans are the most terrifying creatures.
  • Giallo: Several serial killers that appear throughout the series, most notably the 'Invisible Men' from "Memoirs from the Invisible World" and "Beyond Death", wear leather gloves and kill their victims with knifes or straight razors in Giallo fashion.
  • Girl of the Week: There might not be a better example of this trope.
  • Glasgow Grin: Ken Harrel from "The Flight of the Ostrich" sports a self-inflicted one after snapping.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted when one of Dylan's lovers has an abortion. He keeps on thinking about the fact that he could have been a father, though.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Played with. Dylan gets laid a lot, but multiple ex-lovers have described his sex skills as "average" or unremarkable.
  • Green Aesop: Dylan's favourite.
  • The Grim Reaper: Here, Death is a True Neutral who has its job to do and Dylan just happens to cross its path several times. She and Dylan spend a lot of time together.
  • Guilt Complex: Dylan blames himself for not having been able to help some clients and friends deal with either the Monster of the Week or their personal troubles, even when he couldn't possibly have done anything more or differently. He also reveals that he feels bad about killing monsters and violent criminals even if it's the only way to stop them. Sometimes this complex reaches truly illogical levels, such as when he thinks that his arriving late to a date was responsible for the girl ending up in an Awful Wedded Life with another man.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Dylan and Groucho.
    • Dylan and Marcus in the film.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Dogs are among Dylan's favorite animals and a recurring stray dog named Botolo usually helps him out and saved his life on multiple occasions.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Almost every time Dylan is involved with the media he's presented as a charlatan or a loon. This finally ends with "Let Chaos Reign!"... Through the circumstances make Dylan soon wish it had never happened.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Bree Daniels, the love interest in "Memories from the Invisible World", named for Bridget Fonda's Hooker with a Heart of Gold in the film Kloot.
  • Hot Witch: Kim.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Were you expecting the comic book series with zombies being a recurring element to do otherwise?
  • 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.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Johnny Arkham from "Johnny Freak" fits this role to a T. He is a legless, deaf mute teen who can play the clarinet beautifully and draws stunning fantasy paintings on walls.
  • Just for Pun: Every other sentence said by Groucho.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lillie and Bree. Possibly Kim too.
  • Killer Space Monkey: What 'Alpha' from "Alpha and Omega" turns out to be, after being sent off into deep space.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Inspector Bloch.
  • Knight Templar: Many of Dylan's enemies.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: This is the standard reaction to pretty much anything Groucho says. He actually used it to save a life once: as Bloch lied into coma after being shot with the doctors not expecting him to get through the night, Groucho arrived to his side and unleashed lame pun after lame pun until Bloch woke up screaming that someone dragged him away.
  • The Lancer: The snarky and quirky Groucho to the more deadpan and serious Dylan.
  • Like a Son to Me: Inspector Bloch really cares about Dylan. Even more than about his own family, as it was shown in "200".
  • Limited Wardrobe: Dylan always wears the same outfit: a red shirt, a black jacket, jeans and Clarks. Bloch and Groucho joke about it, wondering if he has a wardrobe full of identical clothes or just terrible personal hygiene. At one point it's revealed that he wears this outfit to remember his first meeting with a girlfriend who later died.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Utterly subverted, starting with Dylan himself.
  • Lost in Character: Dylan's assistant Groucho is not the actual Groucho Marx, but a failed actor who closely resembles him and is always in-character as him, even while sleeping. We know nothing about his former life.
  • The Lost Lenore: Lillie Connolly fits this trope to a T. She was in the IRA, and her incarceration and subsequent death in prison lead Dylan to leave his job as a policeman and later become the detective of the occult he is today. She even seems to be back for an episode (it's actually a woman who specializes in impersonating men's dead love interests to manipulate them) and Dylan is then shown to still love her.
  • Loud of War: Dylan Dog's clarinet rendition of the Devil Trill Sonata is treated as such, owing to it being a work for solo violin and Dylan being bad with the clarinet. During his stint in jail he drove the other prisoners to beg for him to be freed just so he'd stop playing it, and it's one of the things that have driven his neighbour to build a homemade cannon and point it at Dylan's apartment (and could well cause him to shoot it).
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Xabaras is Dylan's father.
  • Lurid Tales of Doom: The National Inside Eye,a tabloid which publishes gems such as an interview with a man who was kidnapped by a Venusian vampire. Geraldine Rowling, a friend and on-and-off lover of Dylan, works there and always tries to interview him, to his great chagrin.
  • Mad Doctor: The series has a fair few, from those so obsessed with scientific research and advancement that they commit atrocities in their name to the sociopaths that use their knowledge to make people suffer for fun and profit.
  • Magical Negro: Forrest from #134 "Bad Thoughts". Being an expy of John Coffey, it's a given.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Bloch often says "I haven't done X since (date)", e.g. "I haven't laughed since 1966"
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: Almost all the stories written by author Claudio Chiaverotti - so much, in fact, that fans now commonly refer to this kind of finale as a "Chiaverotti ending".
  • Meta Fiction: The issue "Caccia alle streghe" ("Witch Hunt") was about the comic book "Daryl Zed", which in-universe was drawn by Dylan's friend Justin Moss and whose main character was inspired by Dylan himself. Out of universe, "Daryl Zed" is a transparent expy of Dylan Dog (the series, not the character) and Tiziano Sclavi uses it as a commentary against Moral Guardians and politicians who spoke of horror comic books, splatter movies and such as corrupting the minds of young people. Such a thing was actually going on in Italy in those years and some publications were forced to close (though Dylan Dog itself was never actually targeted). Daryl Zed fights against inquisitors in the comic book we get to see, his comic book gets censored by Moral Guardians in-story and Sclavi not-so-subtly compares the two menaces.
    • Roberto Recchioni seems to love this trope. The issue "Oggi Sposi" ("Just Married") has John Ghost comment on Dylan Dog's serial life and noting that everything happening to him (such as Status Quo being resetted every month) is happening because they're comic book characters. John Ghost even comments on a few events as being classical narrative tropes (such as Groucho's death being a classical example of Widowedatthe Wedding).
    • The whole point of the final story arc before the Soft Reboot. As has become a well known fact that the apparently doomed Dylan Dog universe lives on a Status Quo Is God rule, John Ghost manages to force a reboot by arranging for every single character to break the Status Quo until the end. When it does actually happen Dylan Dog itself becomes able to reach a limbo inhabited by Tiziano Sclavi, the antropomorphic incarnation of the ills and shortcoming fueling his creation of Dylan Dog himself and every idea about the characters, used and discarded. He's then able to kill Sclavi and ignite a full reboot of the universe with all the hoarded ideas.
  • Mind Screw: Almost every storyline about Dylan's past. And quite a few others, too.
  • Mirror Monster: In a story people who looked at their reflection in a certain mirror were kidnapped in their sleep by evil versions of themselves who emerged from said mirror and then proceeded to wreak havoc. In another story Death itself used mirrors from a certain antique shop to summon monsters and disturbing visions.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Numerous instances, but old Steven doing it with the corpse of his deceased wife Kate in the opening of "Hells" (#46) is one of the more notable examples in the series.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: In an issue, a scientist is looking for a way to unlock the full potential of the human intellect, but all of his test subjects die in predictably gruesome ways. It turns out that an adult's intellect is "atrophied" after a life of underuse, and only babies are flexible enough to survive the process. When the scientist, mentally unbalanced after years of frustrations, experiments on his newborn daughter, it finally works even too well.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Xabaras is an anagram of Abraxas, one of the Devil's names.
  • Newspaper Dating: Subverted in "The Last Man on Earth" (#77), where Dylan wakes up with amnesia in a post-apocalyptic future. It's only near the end of the story that he finds, in the ruins of a library, a collection of (very aged) newspapers running up to 2001, the year civilization ended. Dylan deduces he must be in the early 21st century... Then, not three panels later, he reads on a solar-powered clock it's August 4th, 2560.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Dylan either saves the day... or ruins everything.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Groucho, Dylan's sidekick. Quite obviously so. It's even the same name, even if it's known to be just an actor playing the part all the time (even when sleeping).
    • And Dylan himself is modeled after Rupert Everett. The author Sclavi is famous for "borrowing".
    • Inspector Bloch is based on Robert Bloch, the author.
  • 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.
  • Occult Detective: 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with in the case of Dylan. Averted in his past, as not only his adoptive father and grandfather were named Dylan but this was also Xabaras' birth name. However in the present day the former two are dead and the latter has adopted a new identity, so the protagonist is the only "Dylan" in the comic.
  • 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.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: In one story he meets a girl named Banshee, who brings death and bad luck to all those who are close to her. Of course, our hero tries to seduce her and break the nefarious curse by surviving himself.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: So far there have been at least four different kinds of vampires: human-sized bats who use glamour to blend in, vampires with a corpse-like face who use rubber masks to maintain The Masquerade, vampires that look human in person but hideous in a mirror and others who show a Game Face when hungry or threatened but look normal otherwise. Due the Shared Universe with other Bonelli comics, it's implied these are different bloodlines. Apparently a person can also have a genetic predisposition to turn into a vampire after death (without having been bitten), and some people become feral after turning while others retain their intelligence and personality.
  • Perpetual Poverty: How Dylan and Groucho live.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Groucho!
  • Pocket Protector: In a story, Groucho gets saved from a bullet to the heart by the Bible he had previously stuffed in his jacket, and lampshades the cliche. Then he reveals that he has at least seven other books inside his jacket.
  • The Pornomancer: Dylan Dog has an uncanny talent for getting in the bed of pretty much every female he meets. And we used "female" in place of "woman" because he had sex with at least one devil. And he doesn't even do that on purpose (hence why one of his suitors was actually the homicidal ghost of a witch).
  • Prescience by Analysis: John Ghost is guilty of this. It is especially exaggerated in issue #399 where John Ghost reveals he was behind every single event which happened since his first appearance because he had predicted how every event would unfold.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human:
    • In "Cursed Day" one of the victims gets inflated with a helium tank, floating up like a balloon until he bursts into a bloody mess.
    • In "Golconda!" the Man with the Bowler robs a bank using his powers to kill all the people present in horrifying ways, ending the killing spree by puffing up the bank's director ala Aunt Marge until he explodes.
    • In "Marty" this trope is combined with Die Laughing for the demise of Marty's Bad Boss.
  • Pungeon Master: Groucho again. He keeps telling bad jokes and puns even in the direst situations, in combat and while in a coma.
  • Rare Guns: Dylan owns an antique Bodeo Model 1889-and not in Italy, where it could be relatively common due having been a service pistol for over fifty years, but in Britain. Often Lampshaded by people who can recognize it, who wonder why he uses one (he can't afford a more modern gun), where does he find the ammunition (he knows a guy who handloads it just for him), or where did he find one (it was in a cave. How it ended there remains a mystery).
    • A special story set in Victorian London has Dylan still armed with the Bodeo, then state-of-the-art. Upon reveal he's immediately asked why did he go all the way to Italy to buy a gun, and it's considered rare and expensive enough that when he loses it in the sea the Lloyds, with whom Dylan had insured it, recover it from the bottom of the sea rather than refund him.
  • Redhead In Green: Lillie Connolly is shown to wear a green hat and a green skirt in comic book covers and colorized stories. It's probably a reference to the fact that she's Irish Catholic.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Jenkins. Can't get humor, either.
  • Scenery Censor: Happens all the time (like in other Bonelli comics). Breasts (with *gasp* nipples!) and butts (female and male) are shown but the genitals still need to be covered with strategically placed items, pieces of furniture, or (during showers, baths and similar) implausibly high splashes of water... especially irritating since the rest of the water is often not splashing at all.
    • Ocasionally subverted, up to including Male Frontal Nudity, but it is mostly on either corpses or monsters.
  • Serial Killer: An alarming number of them.
  • Serial Romeo: Dylan genuinely believes that he loves each of the women he is attracted to. Often lampshaded by Bloch and Groucho. In a recent episode he reflects on that and seems to understand that he does not need to convince himself that he's in love with a woman to have a good sexual relationship with her.
  • Signature Sound Effect: "SZOCK", whenever a blade penetrates someone's flesh. And sometimes "KCOZS" when it is pulled out.
  • Shared Universe: Set in the same continuity as most of the modern Bonelli (the publisher) comics, such as Zagor, Martin Mystere (on whom the cartoon Martin Mystery is loosely based on), Dampyr, and others, with some characters moving between series. A story also established that Dellamorte exists in Dylan's universe.
  • Shout-Out: Countless, that make the Kitchen Sink universe of this comic. Many of them are Easter Eggs that appear in a panel or two, so trying to list all of them would be a superhuman task.
    • For example, the first issue makes multiple references to Ghostbusters (1984) (Sybil, Dylan's client, is even modeled after Sigourney Weaver), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and An American Werewolf in London.
    • Dylan has a poster of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the wall of his office.
    • The series isn't shy from making Whole Plot Reference stories based on films and other media, often doing combinations.
    • In the colored issues, Xabarax's zombie virus is usually depicted as a glowing green liquid, not too unlike Herbert West's serum from Re-Animator.
    • The title of issue #7 "La Zona Del Crepuscolo" is a literal translation of The Twilight Zone (which is instead known in Italy as Ai confini della realtà, meaning "At the confines of reality").
    • Blade Runner is referenced on multiple occasions, the most blatant shout-out being in the climax of issue #9 "Alpha and Omega", where Roy Batty's final speech is quoted. The same issue also heavily references 2001: A Space Odyssey (the Discovery ship and Space Station V would later show up in issue #43 "Story of Nobody").
    • A fairly important recurring character is called Professor Wells.
    • Stephen King and George A. Romero are favorite targets.
    • One of the horrors the aforementioned Banshee accidentally causes with her curse is bringing to life a murderous doll that resembles Chucky.
    • Pink Rabbit is a Roger Rabbit expy; the follow-up story "The Land of Colored Shadows" is even more so with his toon dimension being more explored and for having a Jessica Rabbit expy in the form of Betty Bloom.
    • The aforementioned Chess with Death story is a homage to The Seventh Seal.
    • The aforementioned man who represents Gluttony and dies via explosive mint is a nod to Mr. Creosote from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
    • The aforementioned species of bat-headed Vampires that blend among humans were influenced by the aliens from They Live!.
    • The Man with the Bowler from issue #41 "Golconda!" references René Magritte's painting with the same title.
    • In "Golconda!" Phillip Mortimer randomly shows up to get a Death by Cameo from fairies.
    • In issue #84 "Zed" the temple of Moloch from Cabiria shows up.
    • In "Zed" Dylan and the people trapped in Zed also deal with Morlocks from The Time Machine. One is displayed in the issue's cover art.
    • Issue #140 "Towards a Far Away World" contains numerous references to Slaughterhouse-Five.
    • The cover of issue #338 "Inspector Bloch, No More" is a nod to the cover of "Spider-Man: No More!".
    • The Hell's archive for London (which debuted in issue #46 "Hells") is modeled after the bureaucratic dystopia of Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
    • Issue #154 "Time's Beat" establishes that Neverland exists in Dylan Dog's universe and the story works as a Darker and Edgier follow-up to Peter Pan in which Dylan deals with Smee, Tinkerbell, Peter and the Lost Boys after they settled down on Earth. Despite the darkness, it does have a rare happy ending.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. 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.
    • This rule is so hardwired that every single time a new character was permanently introducted, part of the Fanbase tried a They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
    • However, the [1] after the Evil Meteor Story Arc made a moot point out of that.
  • STD Immunity: Dylan either has this or is very, very lucky.
  • Take That!: Being a series set in Britain at its peak throughout the '90s, jokes at the expense of Margaret Thatcher are made in numerous instances. Even the 2014 story "Deep Space" is focused on a haunted Nostromo-looking cargo ship named UK-Thatcher.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Dylan.
  • Terrible Ticking: Keith Archer from "A Voice from Nowhere" is driven to suicide because he keeps hearing his telephone ringing despite having destroyed all the phones in his house.
  • Toon Transformation: Staying too long in Pink Rabbit's dimension will turn you into a toon.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Dylan is vegetarian and likes going out for a pizza. Also, inspector Bloch is always seen with a pint of beer when drinking along Dylan, who drinks tea instead.
  • Typhoid Mary: There is a short story about a girl born into a werewolf family. While not a werewolf herself, she was a carrier of lycanthropy - anyone who came into contact with her internal fluids (including through sex) would be infected.
  • Vomiting Cop: Bloch, every so often. He takes antiemetics to try to subvert this trope.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xabaras and John Ghost:
    • Xabaras wants to find the secret of immortality for humanity's good and be reunited with his son, Dylan. Too bad he's murdering people left and right and seriously risks causing a Zombie Apocalypse in the process.
    • John Ghost's ultimate goal is to save Earth and humanity, or at least Britain and its people, from complete annihilation. He's also an incredibly petty serial dog-kicker (renting out Gordon Ramsey's entire restaurant and ordering fish just to have it thrown away because he hates eating fish is just one example among many) and a mass murderer.
  • Wham Episode: A few, but "Let Chaos Reign!" stands above the others for finally giving Dylan a good reputation, John Ghost revealing that he arranged that because a gigantic meteor is going to hit Earth in little more than a year and if he can't stop it humanity will need a hero to rally around to survive, and starting a series of Wham Episodes (every story in the "Meteor Cycle" has at least one surprising development, such as the Meteor actually having a malevolent will).
  • 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.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Dylan is for the most part a big Animal Lover, but he has a big fear of bats.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Dylan in issues #121 ("Till death do you part") and #399 ("Just Married"). Even lampshaded by John Ghost in the second case.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The series isn't afraid of averting the Improbable Infant Survival trope. A fine example would be the Monster Clown from issue #73 "Armageddon!" who hangs a kid with the cord of his own kite.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Multiple "monsters" Dylan deals with in the stories turn out to be this.
    • The murderer of issue #21 "Cursed Day" turns out to be a grief-stricken young man who wanted his revenge on the rich people that accidentally caused his girlfriend's death, who got hit by a bottle they tossed out of their plane. It makes the surprise The Bad Guy Wins ending a bit less unfortunate.
    • The title character of issue #45 "Goblin" is revealed to be a vengeful monkey that escaped from a vivisection laboratory and hunted down those involved with the butchering of their mate.
    • In issue #76 "Black Malediction" Jamais Nonplus is a vengeful Scary Black Man voodoo master who is enraged by the death of his young son, who got run over by a reckless driver or so we initially believe, when it turns out that the guy decided to take the blame out of love for his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing wife, who actually ran over the kid because she was drunk.
  • 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.
    • Also happens in a What If? series of stories set around 15-20 years into the future, where entire zones of London are surrounded by walls and patrolled by the army to keep zombies out. Dylan is middle-aged and much sourer than his past self, probably because Groucho was the Patient Zero and Dylan couldn't bring himself to kill his friend. Groucho escaped and spread The Virus

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