Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Dog Has His Day

     The most popular comic in Italy appears to be a the story of "nightmare investigator" Dylan Dog created by Tiziano Sclavi.  Each graphic novel-length issue tells a complete tale of one of Dylan Dog's investigations into all manner of horrific things, both supernatural and not (many stories cleave more to the psychological thriller end of the spectrum).  What makes these stories such stand-outs is their ability to add humor into the mix without diluting the horror or the surprising emotional punch most of the tales pack.  Their most distinctly non-American trait is their tendency to find horror in unexpected, often surreal, places, or to find a new twist on classic horror tropes.  Thus far, the only stories translated into English are to be found in Dark Horse's The Dylan Dog Case Files.  Therein,  an eerie tone and stark terror are both to be found among a deaf and mute who has had the lower half of his body amputated, a man who has been so universally ignored that he turns invisible, a woman awaiting the return of the "monster" who killed her entire family years earlier, a woman who can't tell whether or not she's dreaming, Dylan Dog himself getting locked out of his apartment for an entire night, and the search for a deadly rural landscape secretly hidden in the middle of urban London.
     A recent movie based on the character was reviled by critics, but the comics themselves are unique and thrilling.

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