Friday, 3 August 2012

It's not a review. It's just my opinion! #6 - MY FRIEND DAHMER

I read a lot of graphic novels, more so than floppies. So I have decided to tell you all what I am reading and what I thought about those particular books. I want to stress though that I am not looking to review these books in the style of a critic, or to give them a rating, only to express my opinions as a fan of what I personally thought of what I have read. Please do not let my opinion sway you in any way, as I have always lived by the credo that I will make my own mind up about something and so should you. Plus, they say that critics are people that can't actually create themselves and that aint me.
Finally, this is my actual reading pile. All the books I have bought myself for the purpose of my enjoyment and as I am not tieing myself down to any kind of formulated structure, you may notice that I read whatever takes my fancy, rather than switching characters or publishers etc...


If you are a comic book fan and have yet to discover the work of Brian K. Vaughan, do yourself a favour and run out and buy a copy of Y the Last Man volume 1 NOW!!! He is as a writer of comics, everything I aspire to be. He crafts his characters so beutiful and intricatly that when the shit hits the fan you genuinly care about the outcome as you are dragged along on the roller coaster ride that he has created. The final issue of the aformentioned Y the Last Man had me in floods of tears, though the artwork of Pia Guerra must also be praised as we must remember that comics is a collaborative effort and Pia's work compliments Vaughn's words amazingly. But 'Y' isn't a one hit wonder book for Vaughn, as other works like Runaways, Pride of Bahgdad and Ex Machina have solidified him as a masterful creator within the industry, so it will be no surprise to you that I am also currently reading Saga, his latest outing into the world of creator owned comics. It was in the back of one of these issues, within the letters page, that Vaughn mentioned that he had just read 'My Friend Dahmer' and gave it his recommendation and that was all I needed to find a copy and give it a read.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

This book is an autobiographical story of Backderf's time at High School and his friendship with the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It is a strangely sobering retrospective look at the quirks of a young man who was an outcast of sorts at school, who had a difficult home life and was neglected in a way by his parents who had such a problematic relationship, that their son was collateral damage. His school mates and teachers may have noticed his eccentricities, but Jeffrey never seemed to let on the darkness that was inside him.

We are given an insight into personal accounts of interactions with Dahmer and clues that when pieced together with evidence from the actual murder case, shines a light on his decent into darkness. He is also a sympathetic character of sorts, which as the reader is somewhat unsettling as I found myself associating some of my own personal experiences at school with his. I found myself wondering if his Mother would have paid more attention, or if his friends would have attempted to treat him as a peer, rather than a freak, would he have still snapped? To be fair, none of them would have been able to predict his grisly future and Backderfs account does hint of regret, but kids are kids and we all do stupid shit that we aren't proud of. That doesn't mean that we, or the people close to us, will become serial killers.

There is one macabre scene that genuinely, disturbingly had me laugh out loud. Backderf is dressed as Adolf Hitler for a school review and bumps into Dahmer in the corridor and for this panel we see one murderer having a funny conversation with another.

Backderfs art in this book is also brilliant. His quirky style is unique, but still has enough realism to it that you find yourself sucked in and pulled along for the ride. His perspectives and angles also give an uneasy sense of the sinister which matches the tone of the narrative perfectly.

I read this book cover to cover without a break and was engrossed the entire time. I don't want to reveal too much more as this is a book that you should check out and let the story take you away and if any of you respect my opinion the way that I respect Brian K. Vaughn's, that's just what you'll do.


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