The Dylan Dog Case Files – A Review

The Dylan Dog Case Files
Bonelli Comics, 2009, 680 pg

The Dylan Dog Case Files are the most ridiculous and ludicrous comics I’ve read in ages. In some ways, because they are so silly, it was refreshing to read a comic that doesn’t take it self so seriously like those countless super hero comics that are filled with mopey teen age anxiety and cry about having super powers. On the other had, Dylan Dog is a repetitive joke that gets old. The Italians love them, 56 million copies of worth of love, but after the first story, which was actually funny, they slid into the realm of tiresome who done-its. Fortunately, it takes little time to read each story, so I don’t feel I lost wasted time reading them. You might be asking yourself why I read them in the first place as they really aren’t my kind of thing? It was the jacket blurb (yes, they do work): I can read the Bible, Homer, or Dylan Dog for days on end without every feeling bored–Umberto Eco. All I can say is his idea of boredom and mine are two different things.

Dylan Dog is an investigator of strange cases, kind of a paranormal Sherlock Holmes. Typically the cases revolve around beautiful women who he manages to seduce in each episode. Like hard boiled novels, he is outside the law and often in trouble, but in the end always the one who figures out the problems. His cases range from zombies to serial killers and as in any detective story he usually gets something wrong–falls for the wrong woman, believes the wrong man–before he solves the case, often with his superior fighting skills. Accompanying him is his trusty helper and Groucho Marx clone, who loves to tell Goucho like jokes: I gave my cat lemons to eat and now I have a sour puss. (I’d love to know what the original was, because that joke can only work in English.) In the first story when the Groucho had more of a role, it was funny, but as the stories went on and he disappeared into the background, the humor abated.

There is certainly a charm to the Dylan Dog character. The wise cracking loner has so many possibilities, but the repetitive and predictable nature of the stories quickly grows tiresome after a while.