Comix creator Derf Backderf was born in 1959 and grew up in smalltown Richfield, Ohio. Following the events in this book, and a brief stint at art school, he dropped out, returned to his hometown and worked on the back of a garbage truck, an experience that was the basis for his first graphic novel, TRASHED (SLG Publishing, 2002).
Backderf eventually attended Ohio State University on scholarship, where he drew political cartoons for the school paper, The Lantern. After graduating with a degree in journalism, he landed a similar position on a paper in Florida but was fired after two years for, as the editor put it, “general tastelessness.”
Backderf then moved to bucolic Cleveland, for reasons he can’t explain, and developed a weekly comic strip, THE CITY, a raucous, freeform mix of edgy political satire, cranky urban observation and goofball humor. The strip debuted in the now-defunct Cleveland Edition in 1990. THE CITY has appeared, during its 20 years, in well over 100 newspapers.
Backderf’s last graphic novel, PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS (SLG Publishing, 2009), was hailed by Booklist as “one of the stand-out graphic novels of the year.” It was picked for inclusion in Houghton-Mifflin’s annual BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2010. A sampling of THE CITY was also selected for the 2008 edition. His latest graphic novel, MY FRIEND DAHMER (Abrams Comicarts, 2012) was lavished with critical acclaim and is now in development as a feature film.
Backderf has been nominated for two Eisner Awards and has received a host of journalism honors, including the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for political cartooning in 2006. A Derf Collection, comprised of 25 years of original art and papers, was established at the Ohio State University Cartoon Museum in 2009.