Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Friend Dahmer, seminal work for Backderf

A chronicle of Dahmer's slow descent
into madness

Somehow, I missed meeting John "Derf" Backderf when he worked for "a crappy daily rag" here in south Florida. But my editor at the Palm Beach Daily News (not the crappy rag) knew him at the time and thought we'd have a lot in common, so I became a facebook friend.

Looking at the disparity in practically every aspect of our editorial cartooning work, you'd be hard pressed to find something in common between us. He tends to be left of center politically, me right. By his own description, he's an "anti-social, post-punk dweeb." I predate punk and am not anti-social. The dweeb part, maybe. His "cranky scribblings" are stylistically opposite to my softer Mr. Bignose style. Frankly, I'm probably a better draftsman, but his work has more power, which means he's probably a better conceptualizer.

I get Backderf's work and I like it. The thing we have in common is that we are both preoccupied with exploring human nature above all else in our work. That's odd in the editorial cartooning world. Usually editorial cartoonists pick a political soap box and stay glued to it.

Now, this highly conceptual and powerful cartoonist who is a student of human nature has gone back to the well of his childhood and created a graphic novel about his high school friend Jeffrey Dahmer (true story). Based on the reviews he's getting, it's going to be a huge success.

I just ran across an interview with Derf, on comicbookresources.com. It's a good look inside the mind of an anti-social, post-punk dweeb cartoonist and also offers a great back story to the graphic novel, not to mention some interesting observations about Jeffrey Dahmer.

The interview can be found here.

Visit Backderf's Derf City Website for Derf City comics and other treats, including a preview of My Friend Dahmer.

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