Italian Comic Heroes heading for the big and little screen (and an intriguing Batman crossover project)

Wade Briggs stars as Dampyr in the new film

Wade Briggs stars as Dampyr in the new film

Production on Dampyr, the first film of a new independent vampire franchise, began last month based on the comic series published in Italy by Sergio Bonelli Editore since 2000, created by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo. But it isn’t the only project based on an Italian comic series in the works – another is a BatmanDylan Dog crossover.

Dampyr is a co-production Eagle Pictures, Sergio Bonelli Editore and Brandon Box. Filming of the fantasy action thriller, the first film adaptation of the comic strip series of the same name, is underway now at various locations in Romania .

Wade Briggs stars as Dampyr (Still Star Crossed, Please Like Me), Stuart Martin as Emil Kurjak (Jamestown, Medici, Crossing Lines) with Frida Gustavsson as Tesla (Dröm, Eld Lagor , Arne Dahl ). Alongside them are David Morrissey as Gorka (Britannia, The Missing, Good Omens, The Walking Dead), and Sebastian Croft as Yuri (Game of Thrones, Horrible Histories: The Movie).

Dampyr - Sample Art

Based on the first two of the 300 comic books of the hugely-successful comic book series, Dampyr is set during the Balkan War in the early 1990s, Harlan Draka is haunted by horrible nightmares, wandering the countryside and shamelessly making money pretending to be a Dampyr (half-human, half-vampire), ridding villages of what the villagers naively believe to be evil monsters.

But when he is summoned by soldiers attacked by real vampires, Harlan discovers the truth: he is indeed a Dampyr. While trying to destroy a terrible Master of the Night , Harlan will have to learn to manage his powers and find out more about his origins…

With eleven weeks of scheduled shooting and a budget of $12 million, Dampyr, the first Bonelli Cinematic Universe film, directed by Riccardo Chemello, is based on the comic book series created by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo and written by Giovanni Masi, Alberto Ostini, Mauro Uzzeo, and looks like an impressive production, supported by a creative team  that includes the Hair Designer Giorgio Gregorini, Oscar winner for the best make-up and hairstyle on Suicide Squad, Make-up Designer Francesca Galafassi (Game of Thrones, Ben-Hur), Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik as Fight Choreographer (Skyfall, Game of Thrones, The Witcher), Lubomir Misak as Supervising Stunt Coordinator (Game of Thrones, The Last Legion, Kingdom of Heaven) and Giovanni Casalnuovo as Costume Designer (Wanted, Romeo & Juliet, Beowulf).

The producers are Roberto Proia, Vincenzo Sarno , Andrea Sgaravatti .

Sergio Bonelli Editore (SBE) is one of the most important comic book publishers in the world and Dampyr is one of the most long-lived and successful characters of the Italian publishing house, whose editorial direction is entrusted to Michele Masiero.

Here’s announcement, in Italian, of several projects made recently, presented by Gianluca Gazzoli of Radio DeeJay, with Michele Masiero, Editorial Director of Sergio Bonelli Editore, screenwriters Giovanni Masi and Mauro Uzzeo and Nanni Cobretti of the 400 Calci.

Also recently announced is a 10-episode live-action series based on the publishers series Dylan Dog, a co-production between SBE and Atomic Monster by James Wan, who will also be the executive producer. That comic series centring on an investigator of the paranormal has previously been published in English by Dark Horse but more recently by San Diego-based Epicenter Comics.

DC Comics and SBE have also partnered for a series of crossover projects: the first, entitled Dangerous Relations, will be between two of the most famous comic strip characters in the world – Dylan Dog and Batman.

Diabolik - 2019

Dampyr and Dylan Dog aren’t the only Italian comic character getting the big screen treatment right now: filming of a new Diabolik film is underway in Bologna from the Manetti Bros, a new version of the adventures of the character created by Angela and Luciana Giussani and published by Astorina since 1962. Luca Marinelli plays Diabolik, with Miriam Leone as Eva Kant and Valerio Mastandrea as Inspector Ginko.

Diabolik is being shot in Courmayeur, Bologna, Milan and Trieste and tells the darkly romantic story of the meeting between Diabolik and Eva, set in the fictional state of Clerville during the 1960s.

More about Dampyr here on the Sergio Bonelli Editore web site

More about Dylan Dog here on the Sergio Bonelli Editore web site

Epicenter Comics, the US publishers of Dylan Dog, are online at epicentercomics.com

Diabolik: Official Web Site (in Italian)

• Europe Comics is a great resource for European comics published in English at www.europecomics.com | You might also want to check European Comics, although it appears this site hasn’t been updated for a while

With thanks to Tim Robins



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