10 Best Dylan Dog Comics Every Fan Needs to Read

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If you like horror comics as much as I do, then look no further than Dylan Dog. It’s an Italian horror comics series published by Sergio Bonelli Editore in 1986 and initially created by the writer Tiziano Sclavi. It follows Dylan Dog, an ex-cop-turned-paranormal investigator, battling all kinds of supernatural threats like vampires, zombies, and demons.

However, he also battles sociopaths, serial killers, lunatics, and other more realistic threats, all the while being just an awesome guy. Dylan Dog is one of the most popular European comics ever, but it was never as popular overseas. With more and more issues translated into English, though, it’s the perfect time to start exploring something new and epic.

If you’re interested in giving it a go, I promise that you’ll be absolutely blown away. Even if you are already a fan, I highly recommend you read the issues from this list. Without further ado, here’s a list of the ten best Dylan Dog comics you absolutely need to read. The list isn’t ranked but rather chronologically ordered. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: The Dylan Dog Case Files

dylan dog case files

Although the series was created in Italy, and published by Sergio Bonelli Editore, Dark Horse Comics has been responsible for translating and publishing the English version of Dylan Dog since 1999. One of their publications is titled The Dylan Dog Case Files, and it’s the only omnibus of Dylan Dog comics in English.

It’s an awesome, black-and-white, 680-page reprint that includes some of the best of the best Dylan Dog issues, many of which found their place on this list.

If you’re new to Dylan Dog and you’re an English speaker, I highly recommend you start exploring the horror comics series right here with The Dylan Dog Case Files.

Dylan Dog #1: L’Alba dei Morti Viventi (1986)

dylan dog 1

Translated title: Dawn of the Living Dead

Synopsis: The first issue of Dylan Dog is the one you just have to read, no matter in which order you decide to read the series. It’s the issue that got me instantly hooked on Dylan Dog and the one where you learn all the tangibles of who Dylan is and what the entire series is about. 

It’s in black-and-white, as well as the rest of the series, with only a few fully-colored issues ever published. And, despite the comic being Italian, most of the plots happen in London, England.

The issue introduces us to Dylan as an investigator who’s approached by a woman named Sybil Browning. Sybil was accused of murdering her husband, James, but Sybil claimed he was already dead, and then she killed James again.

The mysterious investigation leads Dylan and his assistant, Groucho, to a laboratory of a guy known as Doctor Xabaras, who turns out to be Dylan’s father. He developed a virus that can turn people into the undead or zombies. 

The issue ends with Dylan breaking free after Xabaras held him incarcerated, and he blows up the mad scientist’s lab, sending the zombies back underground.

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Dylan Dog #19: Memorie dall’invisibile (1988)

dylan dog 19

Translated title: Memories of an Invisible Man

Synopsis: The Invisible Man writes in his diary as blood-soaked nights never stop in London. An assassin is targeting prostitutes across the city, and one of them, called Bree Daniels, turns to Dylan Dog for help. The Nightmare Investigator finds out the perpetrator might not be as easy to spot as he initially thought.

Is he a man or a monster? It will all come to haunt Dylan Dog as dead bodies in the cold, rainy night continue to pile on. Meanwhile, Dylan gets his first love interest in the series, beginning a long, important affair for him…

Dylan Dog #25: Morgana (1988)

dylan dog 25

Synopsis: Morgana is a name, so there’s really no translation of the title needed. She is Dylan Dog’s greatest love interest, but a complicated one, to say the least. Morgana comes from her own dimension, dying to reach out to our world. She comes from a place of death and nightmares, and even after being buried, Morgana still lives.

I haven’t told you much, have I? Well, all I’m saying is that this particular issue carries tons of weight for the future of the franchise and was always one of my favorite Tiziano Sclavi-written Dylan Dog issues. Angelo Stano was the artist and did an absolutely masterful job.

Dylan Dog #66: Partita con la morte (1992)

dylan dog 66

Translated title: Match with Death

Synopsis: You can play, but you almost certainly can’t win. Nobody beats Death, and nobody cheats Death… except for maybe Harvey Burton. Burton should be dead, but instead, he plays chess against Death with his soul on the line. Every move kills somebody in the real world, outside of Death’s realm.

Dylan Dog is there to follow the moves but has no idea how to stop them. As the game progresses, he realizes the game might not be fair at all. And it might not be Death that’s doing the cheating…

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Dylan Dog #74: Il lungo addio (1992)

dylan dog 74

Translated title: The Long Goodbye

Synopsis: This was potentially one of the most heartbreaking issues of Dylan Dog in terms of his love life and affairs. The 98-page issue brings back melancholy and painful memories for Dylan as he relives and reminisces about his first true love, Marina Kimball. 

Yes, she is here, as Dylan Dog is forced to remember a youthful summer they shared long ago that has now turned into a long, long goodby in his memories. Dylan wonders if things could’ve turned out differently, but what’s behind all of this? Well, it’s up to you to find out as you read the issue.

It’s one of the most frequently reprinted issues, and I have a copy in English, Italian, and Croatian right here at home.

Dylan Dog #81: Johnny Freak (1993)

dylan dog 81

Synopsis: Johnny Freak is one of the issues you can find in The Dylan Dog Case Files, which was reprinted in English by Dark Horse Comics in 1999. And I’m warning you; this one might be hard to read. It’s as horrifying as any other Dylan Dog issues ever written.

Johnny is a boy, left alone, locked in a cellar, in darkness, where he paints the walls with frescoes, residing in the horror of his solitude. Johnny is deaf, has no legs, and is down there all alone, in the dark, lonely… Dylan Dog empathizes with the boy and tries to find out who could do such a thing to him. He’s there to tell a story no one has told before.

Dylan Dog #100: La storia di Dylan Dog (1995)

dylan dog 100

Translated title: The story of Dylan Dog

Synopsis: Dylan Dog #100 was a jubilar issue that was celebrated by having the issue fully colored for the first time instead of going black-and-white as usual. As the title would suggest, it tells the story of Dylan Dog, or more precisely, his origins of becoming the Nightmare Investigator.

We see the memories of his past coming back to Dylan, and the vibrant colors just add another dimension of pure awesomeness to the issue. To add to it, it’s a perfect issue for both Dylan Dog fans and for new readers, as it dives deep into the character and who he actually is.

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Dylan Dog #121: Finché morte non vi separi (1996)

dylan dog 121

Translated title: Till Death do you part

Synopsis: This was the second-ever fully-colored Dylan Dog issue, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the comic book’s existence. It’s a beautiful yet terrifying and heartbreaking issue, leading us back through the creases of time to a time and place when Dylan Dog had a wife. 

Yes, he was married in Ireland to a woman named Lillie, and as the issue was the tenth anniversary of the comics, Dylan remembered his own anniversary with Lillie within the issue. War tore the two apart, and Lillie is now long gone, along with her spirit that was forever longing for freedom, dreaming of a better life, which ultimately drove her into madness…

Dylan Dog #228: Oltre quella porta (2005)

dylan dog 228

Translated title: Beyond that door

Synopsis: This is the newest issue on this list and one that might not be considered a Dylan Dog classic. However, I just absolutely love it and have read it probably seven or eight times, despite it not being a fan favorite.

It was written by Paola Barbato, and this time, it’s not about fighting a demon or a vampire or purging a haunted house. It’s not about fighting at all. Instead, it’s about waiting. Dylan Dog sits in the waiting room of a hospital, waiting to hear if the person ‘behind that door’ will survive the operation.

The horror of this issue isn’t a psychopath or a supernatural force – it’s the inability to do anything but sit and wait with somebody’s fate completely out of your hands. Perhaps the story hits too close to home for me, but I highly recommend it to you, as it might just hit you as hard as it hit me, too.

Dylan Dog: Mater Dolorosa (2017)

dylan dog mater dolorosa

Translated title: Mother Dolorosa

Synopsis: Last but not least, this particular issue is tightly connected to an earlier issue called Mater Morbi, or Mother Morbi. Mater Dolorosa was released for the thirtieth anniversary of Dylan Dog, again, in full color.

In the issue, Dylan Dog realizes he’s once again suffering from the mysterious disease that almost killed him before. Yes, Mother Morbi – the mother of diseases – is back and looking for vengeance. To survive, Dylan must discover secrets from his past and present, to find himself, and defeat the disease once more.

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