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Dylan Dog 400: the end of an era for the historic Italian comic

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Dylan Dog, the comic book character created in 1986 by Tiziano Sclavi, over the years he has managed to earn a huge number of fans, so much so that he is still one of the most loved and appreciated characters of the house Bonelli.
Over the past decade, however, theNightmare investigator he gradually began to show conspicuous signs of giving way, finding himself increasingly trapped in a sort of content limbo where each story was (almost) the same as the other.

With the number 337 of the regular series, written by Roberto Recchioni and designed by Nicola Mari, we tried to focus more on innovation and aging in an attempt to revitalize the character, unfortunately transformed over the years into the shadow of himself.
Below we will try to analyze the number 400 book while trying to focus on the importance behind the concept of change itself.

We will stay together … forever!

When it comes to comic book characters with a solid editorial history, focusing on concepts such as innovation and aging is never easy. As trivial as it may seem, we often forget that publishing houses are actually companies and, like it or not, they must think – first of all – about selling their products. It is a gamble to approach the world of art to a purely economic dimension (with the risk of evaluating any entertainment product not for its intrinsic quality but simply for the feedback it gets through the public), but it certainly cannot be ignored the fact that today it is easier to focus on commercial solutions rather than for authorial and potentially niche ideas. Hollywood has taught us that investing in a solid and codified brand (albeit perhaps eighty years old) is actually a much more clever and logical move – at least in appearance – than focusing on a potentially revolutionary new IP.

The entire entertainment system – above all the American-powered one – has thus committed itself to continually re-proposing the same brands to the general public to take full advantage of the reassuring mood dictated by the nostalgia effect.
Although with due distinctions, a Dylan Dog the same thing happened a little; in fact, with the passage of time the character has gradually lost the driving force of the origins (as well as the sometimes destabilizing nature of some stories), becoming somewhat predictable and accommodating on numerous occasions.

All the distinctive traits of the character have therefore turned into simple clichés simply to satisfy the desire of some fans to always review the usual things, condemning Dylan to an eternal (and slightly disturbing) vicious circle. Fortunately though, Tiziano Sclavi (as well as many other authors within SBE) managed to realize how important it was to give new luster (and life) to one of the most important characters loved by fans of the publishing house, choosing – thanks also to a high dose of courage – to take all the necessary risks leaving aside the nostalgia effect to focus on something new.

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The number 400 of Dylan Dog therefore represents the end of an era and the beginning – at least hopefully – of a new life for theNightmare investigator, able to capture even new readers through perhaps imperfect adventures but in any case far from the tracks of repetitiveness.

The bulletin thus decided to definitely truncate with the recent past of the character challenging – and in some ways even provoking – the most conservative fans of the series, without actually upsetting the protagonist but rather enhancing the more traditional aspects while managing to update them.

I want a mission …

The number 400 of Dylan Dog it actually appears more accommodating and user friendly compared to various post raise numbers, certainly less brave than 337 (capable of displacing the reader for its alienating dimension) and also less engaging than 399, albeit able to be compelling due to its entertainment nature. A book to read not as a self-contained story or as the epilogue of the meteor saga, but instead as a real watershed for the editorial history of Dylan Dog. The rhythm of the narration is well managed, thanks above all to the ability of Recchioni in being able to play wisely with the mythology of the character. The various references to the classic universe – through the appearance of historical supporting actors, iconic objects and monstrous creatures – are well implemented in the story, without being didactic or excessively redundant.

The theme of the trip immediately becomes the thematic fulcrum of the register, both at a symbolic and literal level, given that we see Dylan embark to live numerous adventures able to compare him with his past, his present and his future.

A journey that finds its maximum expression in the end, in which the protagonist is forced to collide with an unexpected villain capable of putting him to the test, both from a physical and a psychological point of view. The story thus manages to be incisive thanks to the unexpected closing sequence, in which the same status quo of the main character suddenly changes managing to destabilize the reader with a (tragic) twist impregnated with a strong emotional pathos.

Therefore, in the face of a good general realization, the greatest criticality of the story lies in the excessive quotationism with which it is imbued.
If it is true that the Dylan Dog of Tiziano Sclavi has always been full of references (even extremely obvious) to other works, this number 400 is excessively saturated with postmodern citations.

However, the graphics sector is excellent, thanks to one Stano in great shape capable of giving the reader various well – made splash pages, supported by the colors of Giovanna Niro. The tables by Corrado Roi, able to intrigue the reader on the possible new adventures that we will see in the next books.

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Maria Rivera

Maria is the youngest team member of Asap Land. She joined as an intern as she was having a diploma in journalism. But, now as she gained experience, she is working as full-time editor and contributor on Asap Land. She loves to write news bulletins from the business world as she is quite fascinated with business.

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