Review – My Friend Dahmer

When it comes to serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer is the one that sticks out to my generation. That’s the serial killer horror story so many around my age were glued to, hearing the gruesome details over and over. That’s why, with much fascination, I dove into reading My Friend Dahmer with a morbid fascination.

The graphic novel, written by Derf Backderf, covers the high school years of Dahmer. The story, from Backderf’s perspective with help from some research, dives pretty well into Dahmer’s high school career leading up to his first grisly murder. We find there were signs, lots of signs, that showed Dahmer was off, even then. Prone to violence towards animals, drinking issues and his acting out, Dahmer’s issues were largely ignored, it was the 70s after all.

Backderf’s story and art are solid. He paints a picture and gives enough insights that you understand what could lead to Dahmer’s crimes. You read through the graphic novel hoping the results will be different, but you know that’ll not be the case. You know the results, which makes Backderf’s graphic novel even more tragic. You see the warning signs being laid out, and know the result, it’s unnerving and fascinating, like slowing down to look at a car wreck.

The narrative itself is great, going smoothly through the years and events. It’s a page turner where you just want to find out what will happen next and what might drive Dahmer over the edge. There’s also enough that you feel sympathy for the killer, you want Dahmer to get help, you want someone to come to the rescue, but again, you know that’ll just not happen. His art too just seems to fit “the 70s.” It’s hard to describe, but overall with the story, it’s is a solid combination.

The graphic novel is for those who like crime comics, real life stories or has a fascination with morbid things and/or serial killers. An absolute “buy” in my mind.

Story and Art: Derf Backderf Publisher: Abrams ComicArts

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy