“The first serial-killer is always him, your favorite: Wallendream! He killed 21 people, his unmistakable signature: a black rose stuck in the throat of his victims. The reward is 13.000 eurodollars“, says the Sexy News‘s anchorwoman.
“You are beautiful Wallendream! …come and kill meee!“, a girl shouts from the audience.
“The bulletin of serial killers turns criminals into real stars“, the director of New Heliopolis Shablands Prison comments, “and the majority of our guests receives a dense correspondence…”
A new comic book hero is returned at newsstands, 2015’s version of Dylan Dog, the beloved “nightmare investigator” created by the Italian Tiziano Sclavi, who accompanied the readings of many teenagers of the 90s. After a long silence that lasted seven years, Sergio Bonelli Publishing is trying again to charm new generations of readers.
We were already used to the lonely, mysterious and handsome hero, but with Morgan Lost it’s like Dylan had passed through Alice’s mirror. Claudio Chiaverotti, historical collaborator of Bonelli, author of more than 50 books of Dylan Dog, makes us jump directly from a close enough past into a futuristic present of an undetermined metropolis, gothic and decadent like the old London of Dylan, but completely fictional.
New Heliopolis, in spite of the name, is a city in which it’s almost always night and snowy, characterized by “Gargoyles in ancient Egypt style” that bring curses, “like in a film noir (or maybe rouge?) projected in loop”. A sort of parallel dimension where Albert Einstein is a science fiction writer, bureaucracy took power, climatic conditions reduced light and heat and Hitler was killed by Marlene Dietrich before the war.
But from the paranormal horror of Dylan Dog, a condition that is completely unreal, we move on to the visionary action-thriller that draws all its visual strenght from cinema (Carpenter, Tarantino, Demme, Argento…) and the most recent TV series (24, Breaking Bad…), making us ending at something frighteningly plausible. The readers are guided by a protagonist (which kind of reminded Dylan and Dexter, the “good” serial killer of serial killers) and the violence that unfolds itself to the maximum of imagination, no longer lightened by Groucho‘s character, the faithful collaborator of Dylan with his improbable jokes, or the friend Bloch, chief of Scotland Yard.
The alienating atmosphere is enhanced by half-pictorial and half-cinematic graphics, gray scales with red details, reminiscent of the Flemish or that small coat in Schindler’s list. From the black and white of Dylan, you are inside a tri-color (black / white / red) world that intends to re-create Morgan’s color blindness (as if it was ours, as we were acting), which is also one of the few things we know about this character who suffers from insomnia, looking like so tormented and, at the same time, fragile and ruthless.
“The man of the last night” is the first part of the first story (they write “halftime” at the bottom of the last page), with the beautiful drawings of Michele Rubini. “Hello, bad boys… I’m your Lindy Kiss, who offers you the most followed program of our broadcaster: the serial-killer newsletter!” Everything starts like this: in front of a giant New Year’s screen projected on the streets of this alienating city. But the Sexy News anchorwoman does not countdown, rather she lists and enhances the characteristics of certain criminals, looking like she admires their made up personas, thus encircling their violence of charm.
In the city serial killers are on the agenda, but the story does not look so much at the terror they generate, it prefers to focus on the exaltation that they get, first of all, to the media and then to groups of modern “bounty hunters“, with real “licenses to kill”, who work in the dark like their enemies, to save the city, or more likely to satisfy their instincts too. Like bringing to the end what the media already does today: the obsession and the voyeurism of evil. And the example that is shared and perpetuated, trying to always do “better”. Morgan himself, a simple and quiet owner of arthouse cinemas, becomes a killer for revenge, a victim himself along with his girlfriend Lisbeth of two mad and perverse evil’s fanatics. He wears what looks like a black mask, like a real dark superhero, but actually it’s a permanent tattoo, the Seth‘s gaze, the Egyptian god of violence, procured by the same torturers who killed his woman right in front of his eyes. It’s like to say that evil generates only more evil, at most with a more morally justifiable intent.
No more seasons, but a monthly series on the long distance that brings us into the stereotypes of evil, often displacing us, already lost in a world where evil is increasingly confused with the rest and consequently it is more difficult to have the ability not to be involved. Where the press that publishes “celebrating pieces of evil”, reaches the level of “pure junk”, showing for example “our ranking of the killers’ preferences!” A human coexistence more and more made of “places where people cross without even looking”, where it is therefore easy to become victims. A world so emptied of beauty in which death is even able to instill the “warmth of life”. A reality where someone’s pain can turn into another’s fascination and fashion. The narcissism of evil. Brecht‘s warning, Don’t let them lure you into exhaustion and duress, why all the trepidation?
In short, a new completely successful work, the result of those who understood that it is no longer time to “futile” problems, such as the former alcoholism of Dylan Dog, irony or fuss, (see Dylan and his reputation for being a great “tombeur de femmes”), it’s no longer time even for certain monsters, zombies and vampires. In uncertain times like today the dismay in front of a rampant and often without reason violence is the only thing that remains. It makes no sense to invent them, the monsters are real. And the media do nothing but feed this daily horror.
“Sir… but that is the “Mask of blood”! Who did tattoo it on you? … I want it too!“