Meet the Author: Derf Backderf at Ringwald Theater April 12

Derf Backderf, author of My Friend Dahmer, will talk about his work, sign copies, and answer questions at the Ringwald Theater, 22742 Woodward in Ferndale. Doors open at 6:45 PM. Admission is free but advanced registration is required. Seating is limited. sign up at the Ferndale Public Library (248) 546-2504 or call the Berkley Public Library at 248-658-3440. A screening for the film version of the book will be held April 11th at 2 and 6 PM at the Berkley Public Library These events are in conjunction with The Reading Collective’s community reading project.

“The true story of Derf’s high school interactions with a young Jeffrey Dahmer in the mid-1970s, My Friend Dahmer offers a portrait of the monster as a young man, struggling with the demons that would soon drive him to murder—while trying, and failing, to fit in at a typical suburban high school.Derf’s vibrant art in My Friend Dahmer is reminiscent of the work of the great comics artists of that era, especially R. Crumb’s. But his storytelling is thoroughly modern—an empathetic attempt to dig into the mind of a young man whose psyche was crumbling day by day, using research, reporting, and his own memories of the time….One of the most thought provoking comics released in a long time.” —Slate

“Backderf explores a hard-to-believe autobiographical story. During the 1970s in Ohio, he attended high school with and befriended Jeffrey Dahmer, “the loneliest kid I’d ever met.” Backderf and his social misfit crew drift in and out of Dahmer’s story, which the author pieced together from memories and more recent research. It’s a barbed-wire portrait of a devil-minded teen with divorcing and neglectful parents.” — from a Publisher’s Weekly review

“I went to high school with a gay serial killer, and I want to do a graphic novel about it.” –Derf Backderf

‘Backderf’s art works well for this book, as it did for his previous book Punk Rock and Trailer Parks. His style, though more realistic, has some characteristics similar to Mad Magazine’s Don Martin, which somehow works well for this tale that turns twisted, set in Cleveland of the seventies “the mistake on the lake.” —Lambda Literary Org


About the artist/author:

Derf sold his first cartoon, a nude portrait of his sixth grade teacher, for $2 dollars to a classmate who used it for unspeakable purposes. Today he is one of the most widely-read indy comix creators.

The writer-artist, who works out of an unheated, attic studio in his Cleveland home, grew up in a rural, small town in Ohio, an experience that was the inspiration for his graphic novels TRASHED, PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS and the international bestseller, MY FRIEND DAHMER.

An art school dropout, Derf worked on a garbage truck before deciding to give cartooning a try. He attended Ohio State University on a journalism scholarship, where he drew political cartoons for the school paper for three years and caused such controversy school officials put a 1-year limit on all future cartoonists. After graduation, he landed a similar position on a paper in South Florida but was fired after two years for, as the editor put it, “general tastelessness.” He moved to Cleveland and THE CITY comic strip debuted in the now-defunct Cleveland Edition in 1990. A year later, he began selling it to other alternative papers. The strip appeared in over 140 publications during it’s 20-plus years, including The Village Voice, Chicago Reader and The Los Angeles Reader. THE CITY was retired in 2013 so Derf could concentrate on books.

Derf’s images have also graced t-shirts, posters and cd & record covers. His manic illustrations have appeared in all manner of publications, ranging from Guitar Player magazine to the Wall St. Journal.

His work has been displayed in museums and galleries worldwide. He has been nominated for two Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comix), as well as Harvey, Ignatz and Rueben Awards. He was the recipient of a pretigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for political cartoons in 2006 and an Angoulême Prize for My Friend Dahmer in 2014. The Derf Collection, comprized of three decades of original art and papers, is part of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at Ohio State University.

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