Sunday, July 7, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "My Friend Dahmer" (2012)

"My Friend Dahmer"

(I stumbled upon a good-sized box filled with a variety of graphic novels at an estate sale. No official count as I've just been pulling from the box when I find time to read one.  Afterward, I post the book and go from there.)

"My Friend Dahmer"
by Derf Backderf
2012 by Abrams Books
224 pages

Dahmer, of course, is Jeffrey Dahmer...the serial killer responsible for 17 murders and having them for snacks.  But this isn't about that ugly period of his life. This is about the ugly school years prior to his mic drop.  This graphic novel is a fascinating story about Jeffrey Dahmer's school years as observed by one of his actual school mates, Derf Backderf.  It's a collection of memory snippets as remembered by the author.  Nothing really gory, but the creepy is very near the surface.  Backderf and a few of his “real” friends...would include Dahmer in their circle as almost comedy relief for their own enjoyment.  Dahmer was mostly a loner.  Lonely and socially awkward.  And from what I gathered from this highly recommended story...he welcomed the small group's attention and willingly played the goose.  Look...Backderf doesn’t exactly come off smelling like a bouquet, but he does offer Dahmer something he didn't find anywhere else.  Time and attention.  Other than that, Jeffrey Dahmer was a poster boy for isolation.

"My Friend Dahmer" (inside)

The black and white artwork is distinctive and very cool.  Even in high school, Backderf was drawing pictures of Dahmer and adding them to school posters and papers...even back then!  I found this nugget especially fascinating.  This graphic novel also includes an actual photograph from the school yearbook, but I'll say no more about that.  "My Friend Dahmer" offers us a truly unique perspective of an individual already cut from the herd before his formidable school years even got started.  Like everyone else, I have no sympathy for Dahmer, the serial killer.  But it's not too terribly difficult to feel something for the guy during those ‘early' years.  Extremely unsettling.

"We're Going To Be Friends" - White Stripes / "White Blood Cells" (2001)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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