Earle, Harriet E. H. "My Friend Dahmer. The comic as Bildungsroman." In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 5.4 (2014), S. 429–440.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Earle2014c
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Keywords: "My Friend Dahmer", Backderf. Derf, Crime comics, Genre, USA
Collection: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Derf Backderf holds the unusual privilege of being one of a small number of people who knew serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the years before his first murder. In his 2012 comic My Friend Dahmer, Backderf explores the formative years of the man he knew as ‘Jeff’, using both the comics form and the genre of the Bildungsroman. What Backderf creates is a narrative that stands apart from the rest of the corpus on Dahmer’s life in its atypical formal presentation and overall attitude to the man himself. Comics as a form is able to manipulate the narrative in ways that other narrative arts are unable; the artistic techniques themselves are as much a part of the development of the story as the words and images. Backderf uses these aspects of comics, alongside some of the basic aspects of the Bildungsroman genre in My Friend Dahmer. This paper discusses these two distinct areas in relation to Dahmer’s story, concentrating especially on Backderf’s use of the characters’ eyes and spectacles as formal devices to conceal, to frame and ultimately to dehumanise.
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