DC Comics and Italian SBE to publish unprecedented crossover

The crossover is set to focus on Batman and the titular character SBE's long running and best-selling iconic occult detective series Dylan Dog.

U.S. Postal Service stamps honoring the 75th anniversary of DC Comics' Batman character are seen in an undated handout image released by the U.S. Postal Service. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamp Collection Set will take place in New York City (photo credit: REUTERS)
U.S. Postal Service stamps honoring the 75th anniversary of DC Comics' Batman character are seen in an undated handout image released by the U.S. Postal Service. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Limited Edition Forever Batman Stamp Collection Set will take place in New York City
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It's a crossover nobody knew we needed until now.
DC Comics, the publishers behind such famous superheroes as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, will co-publish a crossover series with Italian comic book publisher Sergio Benolli Editore (SBE), the companies said in a Monday press release.
This is an unprecedented crossover, and will be the first meeting between the heroes of DC and some of the most popular icons of Italian comics. Plans were made in 2018 for a crossover between the SBE series Zagor and DC's Flash, but this seems to have fallen through.
"Everyone at Sergio Bonelli Editore is thrilled to be part of an event of this magnitude," said the company's editor-in-chief, Michele Masiero. "Our creative imaginations have been racing since the moment this kicked off with our friends at DC."
DC Comics was founded back in 1934, and kicked off the superhero genre a few years later with the creation of Superman, followed by Batman, Wonder Woman and a whole host of colorful and dynamic heroes that have captivated readers' attentions for over 80 years.
While not as old, SBE still boasts a long history dating back to 1940. The company pioneered a form of comic book known as Bonelliano, which are black and white complete adventure stories published on 100 or more pages in pocketbook format. To this day, the format remains the most popular comic book format in Italy. The company broke out in 1948 with the creation of the character Tex Willer, a ranger in the American Wild West who has become the most iconic comic book character in Italy. The character reached worldwide popularity in the '70s and, along with Zagor, was especially popular in Israel, with his stories having been republished in Hebrew numerous times until as recently as 2007.
The crossover is set to focus on Batman and the titular character SBE's long running and best-selling iconic occult detective series Dylan Dog, as well as their respective nemeses the Joker and Dr. Xabaras, though the publishers have been tight-lipped on the details of the crossover as well as which other notable characters will be involved. The crossover's first issue – though numbered Issue #0 –  will debut this week during the 2019 Lucca Comics & Games convention, the largest such convention in Europe and second largest in the world. Three numbered issues will follow up the story in the fall of 2020.
Italian comic book character Dylan Dog is set to meet DC comics hero Batman in first ever US-Italian cross-over / Wikimedia Commons Italian comic book character Dylan Dog is set to meet DC comics hero Batman in first ever US-Italian cross-over / Wikimedia Commons
For many fans, this crossover makes perfect sense.
"Dylan Dog and Batman are very similar," Tamara Rebecca Speranza, a former Manga Café owner in Italy who recently made Aliyah, told The Jerusalem Post. "They're both just men, even if they're in touch with the supernatural. They're about mysteries and have to follow the clues even though the police don't follow them." It's this realism and relatability in addition to the larger than life aspects that Speranza credits as the reason for the early popularity of Italian characters like Tex in Israel before they hit the US.
The crossover is eagerly anticipated by Speranza, as she things it's exactly what the Italian comic scene needs to "get back in the game" worldwide.
"Dylan Dog started in 1986, and for the last 20 years, we haven't had a major national hero like Tex Willer or Dylan Dog," she explained. "We haven't had something like Tintin for Belgium or Asterix and Obelisk for France. A worldwide success like this would have a tremendous impact."
The Dylan Dog series has been met with critical acclaim in over 30 years of circulation, being one of the first comics in Italy that appealed to boys and girls. In addition, the art style and character quirks provide the series with a timeless quality.
"Dylan Dog can become huge worldwide like Tex and Zagor," Speranza said to the Post. "Superheroes are booming again, and we can rise with it."