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review 2019-01-01 08:20
My Friend Dahmer
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:


Before he was one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer was just a kid growing up in Ohio. In My Friend Dahmer, Backderf frankly examines his childhood friendship with Dahmer and events that led up to Dahmer’s first murder.


In the text, Backderf bolds certain words throughout the book. There seems to be no logic to the words he bolds. At the beginning, this style choice is distracting, and the purpose behind the emphasis on certain words never becomes clear. The artwork in the book is highly stylized, very cartoon-y and caricature-like. In the more explicit scenes, this works in the book’s favor. The style lets Backderf illustrate some of the more gruesome aspects of the story, such as the dead animals, while keeping the images from becoming too grotesque. There is also an interesting road motif throughout the book. It seems to emphasize the point that this story is not about Dahmer’s murders, but rather the path that leads to them. It shows that he was on this path for a long time.


My Friend Dahmer is an interesting read. With the current interest in true crime, there is no doubt that it will be a popular choice for a while. It does not seem like an essential title for all graphic novel collections, but it is a relatively new title and time will tell if it earns a place in the canon or not.

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review 2018-02-28 19:23
Jeffrey Dahmer: The Early Years
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf is a graphic novel which was used as the basis for the documentary film of the same name which came out in 2017. This is the account of Jeffrey "Jeff" Dahmer during his adolescence in Ohio from the point-of-view of his friend, Derf. [A/N: I would say "friend" is pushing it as it was frequently noted throughout the book that while a group of boys dubbed themselves The Dahmer Fan Club and imitated him/quoted him on multiple occasions Jeff was rarely (if ever) asked to hang out with them.] Derf talks about Jeff's home life which was as you'd expect: turbulent and troubling. His parents had an argumentative, unhealthy relationship and his mother in particular monopolized much of the attention in the home making it possible for Jeff's habits to remain under the radar. Jeff was an alcoholic from a very early age and somehow this went  unnoticed by the adults in his life including his teachers. However, Derf says that it was common knowledge among the kids at school that he was often drunk in class and looking back it was most likely a coping mechanism against his darker impulses. Besides his unhappy home life, he was struggling with his sexuality as a gay man and his sexual fantasies which revolved around having total (i.e. sexual) control over male corpses. He managed to keep this urge in check by murdering animals, skinning them, and keeping their bones in a shed behind his house. And yet no one had any idea this was happening. Hindsight is 20/20 and Derf seems to employ this readily when explaining that he and the other boys in the Dahmer Fan Club "knew" something wasn't right with Jeff which is why they often didn't invite him to be a part of their group activities. His parents were too caught up in their imploding marriage and his teachers seemed to have turned a blind eye even when he imitated people having epileptic fits to comic effect in their classrooms. (This bothered me a lot by the way.) 


I found the informative background knowledge on a serial killer that I knew little about quite interesting but the artwork (remember this is a graphic novel) was not my cup of tea. It was the faces which I really didn't like. Perhaps that was artistic license since Dahmer tended to dehumanize his victims. I just know that it brought me out of the narrative more often than not. I'll give it a 7/10 overall because it was almost too unbelievable to be true. If you enjoy true crime and find the evolution of serial killers to be fascinating then you'd be remiss not to check this one out.


The fits. [Source: American Book Center]


What's Up Next: Mine Own Executioner by Nigel Balchin


What I'm Currently Reading: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-08-28 16:37
A Peek into the Abyss
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

Cartoonist Derf Backderf depicts his account of attending high school with notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Backderf was probably as close to a friend as Dahmer had, but Dahmer had no actual friends. The future necrophiliac and cannibal was a deeply troubled and isolated young man, obsessed with alcohol and dead animals.


One question Backderf returns to several times is how could the adults in Dahmer life not have noticed his downward spiral. Dahmer's mother appears to have suffered from depression and seizures, but otherwise his parents were so self absorbed that Dahmer could get away with anything. The teachers at his high school were either oblivious or simply didn't care that Dahmer arrived at school drunk and skipped class to drink all day. Dahmer was certainly treated badly by the other teenagers, but teenagers always treat awkward misfits badly and not all the mistreated misfits grow up to be serial killers. Dahmer probably never had any hope of becoming a well-adjusted stable person, but if any of the authority figures in his early life had noticed the problem and tried to help, some innocent people might not have been murdered.

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review 2014-05-18 10:00
Обзор читаных комиксов - первый
Lunita #1 - Xavier Morell
Alex + Ada #1 - Jonathan Luna,Sarah Vaughn
Alex + Ada #2 - Jonathan Luna
Alex + Ada #3 - Jonathan Luna,Sarah Vaughn
Alex + Ada #4 - Jonathan Luna
King of the Flies: Hallorave - Mezzo,Michel Pirus,Pirus
Under the Knife - Brandon Seifert,Lukas Ketner
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf
Gamma One-Shot Comic Book 2013 - Dark Horse - Ulises Farinas
Sex Criminals, Volume 1 - Chip Zdarsky,Matt Fraction

Lunita #1 - Xavier Morell 

2.5 / 5

Рисовка качественная, хотя явно видна мужская рука - линии слегка более угловаты и их в целом больше, чем хотелось бы, фигуры порой выглядят несколько необычно.. Сюжетная линия - вполне типична: детективы-раследования.

Однако, ну никак я не ожидала присутствия романтической линии меж двумя девушками-копами. Ну, никак.. Читать дальше не хочу.


Alex + Ada #1-4

4.5 / 5

Рисовка очень хорошая. Хорошее расположение текстов, удобно и приятно читать. В целом - издание на 5, но вот рисовщик упустил возможность доработать целый мир будущего, можно было бы придумать что-то оригинальнее системы "умный дом".




King of the Flies Vol. 1 - Pirus Mezzo 

3 / 5

Рисовка фантастична, но именно она держала меня на протяжении всего тома.
История хороша, но противна и непривлекательна, а персонажи у меня ничего кроме переплетения жалости и пренебрежения не вызывают.
Дальше читать не буду, ибо шлак.




Witch Doctor, Vol. 1: Under the Knife - Brandon Seifert  

4.7 / 5

Шик, шик, шик!
Один малюсенький минус - too much body fluids. Но ради такого захватывающего сюжета и гениально продуманного мира я готова и закрыть глаза на это. Повезло, что попалось издание с комментариями содателей и эскизами, очень порадовал тот факт, что идею для монстров взяли из реальной жизни (паразитология). Потрясающая работа!





My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf 

3 / 5

История страшная, знаю, и, возможно, я просто обратилась не к тому жанру, ибо сюжет описан человеком, кто знал его.. Но, тем не менее, все эти доводы-извинения-угрызения совести - не пошло оно у меня. Ну, и рисовка - не люблю я такую..





Gamma One-Shot Comic Book 2013 - Dark Horse - Ulises Farinas 

1.5 / 5

Обложка комикса так и кричала: мой автор насмотрелся японской рекламы и вообще без ума от покемонов! Но кто бы слушал свой внутренний голос..
Да - нарисовано все отменно, и фантазия у автора явно не знает предела, но, боже, что за ересь происходит с сюжетной линией? Избей труса? Нет, не могу, не хочу - и сюжет слишком уж похож на серию покемонов.. Никаких положительных эмоций.




Sex Criminals Volume 1 TP - Matt Fraction 

4 / 5

Это было здорово.

Многие моменты меня смутили, но в этом и суть данного комикса, более свободно смотреть на некоторые вещи.
Хорошая прорисовка, пара лишних линий не в счет. Комикс включает любопытную переписку читателей и автора, что тоже жирненький плюс. Однако, на протяжении всего тома действия в настоящем крайне мало, здесь описывается больше как главные герои встретились, познакомились.. Жду продолжения!)

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review 2014-05-12 18:25
Really, A Comic About Dahmer??
My Friend Dahmer (2002) - One Shot Young Jeffrey Dahmer - John Backderf Derf

Well, it's a graphic novel of course. I was skeptical when I picked it up because I am not a huge fan of graphic novels. And of course not of Jeffrey Dahmer either. But the book is by a childhood friend turned graphic novelist. It follows Dahmer's life from 7th grade though shortly after high school graduation. It does not include graphic descriptions of the crimes he would commit shortly thereafter. There are some grisly references, though. The main them is how no adult intervened to try to offer help or guidance to this boy. He was ignored by his parents, his teachers, and other school staff. No one seemed to care that he was drunk and actively drinking at high school every day. This was the seventies and I'd like to think educators are more watchful now. But the kid who blends in can still slip through the cracks. It's worth a check-out and read if the topic is of interest. I think it's fine for junior high and up and know there are kids who would really pick this book up for the sensationalism but maybe stay with it for the message. The author does not spare his sense of guilt that he and his friends were enablers in Dahmer's odd behavior and never brought him to the attention of adults in their lives.

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