Cyclopedia Exotica, the latest graphic novel by Aminder Dhaliwal, begins as a series of encyclopedia entries explaining how cyclops (or cyclopes, spelled both ways throughout the work) and Two-Eyes have interacted over time. Dhaliwal imagines a world where cyclops not only exist, but their history has combined with those of the Two-Eyes, referencing mythological works, but planting this relationship directly in the contemporary world.
Even if you’re an avid reader of graphic novels, The Dylan Dog Case Files won’t be on your radar. Yet it’s billed as a book with over fifty-six million copies sold. That’s your first clue: it should be. The decades long Italian series about “nightmare detective” Dylan Dog and his Watson, cast as Groucho Marx (literally), is still releasing new issues. Overseas, Dylan Dog, created by Tiziano Sclavi, is sold in one hundred page black and white editions for a few American dollars.
Stateside, the only English copy of Dylan Dog’s cases— dealing with everything from zombies to invisible men— is this trade paperback collection from Dark Horse Comics released in 2009. The Case Files is a seven hundred-plus page tome containing several stories, with cover art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. It’ll set you back fifty dollars used. But it won’t be a penny wasted. The first story, drawn in a style akin to Egon Schiele, is the 1986 classic “Dawn of the Living Dead.”
The Case Files is the best drawn depiction of a pulp movie genre from Italy known as giallo. Like much Italian fare of the time, giallo was as known for its slashers and prog soundtracks as much as it’s looseness with copyright.
Likewise, The Case Files is a fast read that goes down like the best popcorn flicks. In print the best comparison would be Tales from the Crypt. Even horror fans unfamiliar with giallo will find a comforting familiarity with the material. The Dylan Dog Case Files may have a niche audience. But for those of us who fit within it, this collection is a delightfully spooky treat with some real scares.