Friday, April 06, 2012


John Backderf, back in the day
Last month, I posted about the launch of Derf's graphic memoir My Friend Dahmer. Since then, I've read the book and written a review for The Richfield Times and The Bath Country Journal.

From the review:
"Anyone picking up Derf Backderf's new graphic novel My Friend Dahmer in hopes of finding a snarky version of That 70's Show with special guest Jeffrey Dahmer will be sorely disappointed. Painstakingly crafted over 20 years, My Friend Dahmer accounts the prelude to Dahmer's notorious killing spree and therefore does not include the grisly details of  his unspeakable crimes."
You can access the April 2012 edition of either magazine through the links above or download the PDF directly here (my review appears on digital page 30).

Those two magazines are distributed free to every business and home within the Revere District where Derf and Dahmer went to school. People who knew the Dahmers still live in the area, so this story is as local as you can get. Considering that Bath, Ohio, likes to think of itself as a quaint bastion of Americana characterized by picturesque rolling acres dotted with rough hewn fences and stables, reminding them that  Jeffrey Dahmer was part of it all was touchy business.

Yeah, yeah,

I ran across a macabre detail during this assignment that made the scenes depicting Dahmer's precipitous drinking binges even more chilling. My brother John and Jeffrey Dahmer shared the same birthday: May 21, 1960.

So that's what it feels like when a shiver goes down your spine.

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Further reading:

Derf's companion blog to My Friend Dahmer is full-up with fascinating side stories.

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Kirk said...

If it makes you feel any better about your brother and Jeffery Dahmer sharing the same birthday, keep in mind that there are now seven billion people on the planet, and only 365 days in a year. Chances are, each and every one of us is going to end up sharing a birthday with SOMEBODY who has blood on their hands.

Your comment about Bath being "a quaint bastion of Americana characterized by picturesque rolling acres dotted with rough hewn fences and stables" got me thinking. In your earlier Dahmer post, you showed photos of his classmates. The way those kids looked--shaggy hair, bell-bottomed jeans, flannels and T-shirts--wasn't any different than how kids looked in 1977 in that quaint bastion of Americana characterized by shopping strips and parking lots, namely Parma. But I wonder if the similarities in teenagers appearances ends there. How different was it growing up in Bath than Parma? Had the obviously disturbed young Dahmer grown up in the more urban (or at least suburban) Parma, would he have turned out better? It's certainly hard to imagine him turning out worse!

alphadog said...

I'll bet he at least didn't wear Parma socks.

Erin O'Brien said...

There is more to the story, Kirk. About a year ago, a grad from John's Lakewood High class shared some photos of John back in the day.

Like the photos of Dahmer I saw last month at Busta's place, they were staggering. Of course, there's no comparison between John's fate and Dahmer's, but to get a surprise glimpse of these two young men before the demons took over surely took my breath away. And Dahmer's early and all-consuming drinking depicted in Derf's book also hit close to home.

The birthday thing just added the actual shivers.

As for Parma vs. Bath, methinks the larger and denser population might have made Dahmer crack sooner. Who knows? Do read the book.

Erin O'Brien said...

Alph--Parma socks!! HA!