He doesn't move far from home, but he's constantly traveling through the most obscure labyrinths of the human mind!
Common people in extraordinary circumstances: this is the "philosophy" of Stephen Spielberg, and it is perfectly suited to describe the world of Dylan Dog. Dylan's stories unfold in a world of everyday reality (which is never "modified": the monsters or aliens never become part of general public awareness, and at the end they always return to the reign of fantasy). And the characters are, as the description of "common people" suggests, absolutely normal people who get caught up in the enigmas and fears emanating from nightmares. Dylan Dog's adventures take place in our own time, almost always in London or in any case in England, and they cover virtually all aspects of the fantastic (from horror to science fiction properly speaking). But often the fantasy stories constitute a pretext for focusing more closely on the protagonist, to address burning social issues of the day, many of them unfortunately very real such as the presence of an underclass, vivisection, drugs, racism, violence and the tyrannical power of the mighty. And social commitment is another fundamental component of the popularity of this series among young people, so much so that Dylan has often been taken as a "testimonial" for public service advertisements against such scourges as drug abuse or racial discrimination. But above and beyond the question of the various subjects dealt with, what is particularly important is the way in which the adventures are written: for example, a horror story, which may appear to deal with a very trivial subject, can be staged, almost paradoxically, as a "sophisticated comedy" or as a demential saraband of crazy grotesque episodes, or again as a story of love and death, very sad and touching. Never before in a comic book has it been so crucial to place emphasis not so much on "what" is told but on "how" it is told: extremely tricky alchemy, constantly poised between often diametrically opposed genres, amalgamated in a mysterious formula that is impossible to explain, probably unrepeatable, a formula which perhaps even the author himself does not have clearly in his mind. But in any case, unknown though the exact recipe for the formula may be, it is certainly successful, and it has resulted in a truly unique phenomenon that has achieved unprecedented triumph within the world of Italian comics.
Dylan Dog has not only achieved huge sales, but it has become a cult series whose events and settings are now part of popular imagination. "I can read the Bible, Homer and Dylan Dog for days and days…", declared Umberto Eco the most famous Italian writer and semeiologist, the author of "Il nome della rosa". And Dylan Dog (or rather Sclavi, who is a very great admirer of Eco), has long sought to render homage to this great intellectual, often citing from his books and even making him into a protagonist (in the easily recognizable guise of a certain Professor Humber Coe) of one of the recent stories, which is also one of the finest ones of the whole series. And, to conclude, a few comments on Dylan Dog's address. If you look for roads and squares dedicated to Craven in London, you'll find there's more than one. But when Sclavi - who, by the way, has never visited the British capital - chose Craven Road 7 as Dylan's address, this was intended to be a tribute to the film director Wes Craven, and "his" Craven Road is a pure figment of the imagination. But this has not prevent numerous letters from being sent on a "pilgrimage" to London, to that address. Where, as some readers have written to us, it would appear that there is… an Italian restaurant!