The dawn of the living communities: for a mediology of horror fandom in Dylan Dog


Fandom activities and practices are a complex machine driven by fan participation and capacity of intercepting the relationships between media production and consumption, thus influencing the productive logics of cultural industry. In order to better understand some of the evolutions that fandom has recently undergone, this contribution intends to investigate the phenomenon in relation to the Dylan Dog franchise. Cult hailed by critics, Dylan Dog has been a momentous comic series, able to uniquely resonate and answer to the desires and identity needs of its audience (Frezza 1995, 2017). One key reason for its prolonged success and commercial fortune lies in its capacity to build a thick network of cinematic and literary references (to quote Eco, an encyclopedia: 1979) that the readers have to actualize, thus becoming themselves active devices of the texts (Abruzzese 2016). This in turn has encouraged, and been mirrored by, a series of fan practices taking part throughout the years. The intense relationship Dylan Dog entertains with his fans has transformed over time in line with the evolutions of the media system and their aging. Its fandom changed from niche communities with a strong internal homology (mainly composed of young horror fans) to expanded ones, whose fan practices, especially online, were markedly heterogeneous. Recchioni's arrival at the helm of the magazine was the fuse that exploded - through dynamics typical of the social web such as echo chambers, filter bubbles and polarized debates (Bentivegna, Boccia Artieri 2019) – (insoluble?) tensions between older and newer generations, earlier and more recent fans. This contribution wants to draw a comparison between the first fan experiences (Horror post and Dylan Dog Horror Fest) and contemporary ones taking place on the internet (forums, fanpages, and fanfilms), foregrounding the networks of cultural practices that are shaping fandom following or crossing generational divides.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n21p149

Keywords: Dylan Dog; fan studies; digital fandom; horror; comics; media studies

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.