You only think you know this story. But the truth is more shocking and disturbing than any fiction.
In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer—the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper—seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides.
In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche—a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates.
“To you Dahmer was a depraved fiend but to me he was a kid I sat next to in study hall and hung out with in the band room,” writes Backderf, whose text and images go on to show how Jeffrey Dahmer moved from fascination with roadkill and torture of animals to high-school alcoholism to mass murder. He also shows how he was shaken by his parents’ stormy divorce, by his troubled mother’s decision to move and leave her son alone, and by the encouragement of the Jeffrey Dahmer Fan Club (with the author as a member) to turn the outcast into a dangerous killer.
With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer whom few ever really knew, and one whom readers will never forget.