The serial killer drama you probably didn’t know was based on a graphic novel

In 2017, former Disney Channel star Ross Lynch turned heads when he appeared on “My Friend Dahmer.” The film chronicles the high school years of Jeffrey Dahmer (Lynch) before he became an infamous serial killer. The source material for such a story was the unconventional graphic novel/non-fiction narrative of the same name by John “Derf” Backderf, a cartoonist.

The graphic novel was released in 2012 and is told from the real-life perspective of Backderf, who was a classmate of Dahmer’s when the couple attended high school in Bath, Township, Ohio. The story in the film and novel versions leads to Dahmer’s first murder – that of hitchhiker Steven Hicks in 1978. Instead, the story focuses on Dahmer’s teenage years as he deals with his parents’ divorce, self-isolation, alcoholism and his fascination with anatomy. “My Friend Dahmer” is less of a horror movie or serial killer thriller; it’s billed as a slow-burn psychological drama.

Alex Wolff, himself a former Nickelodeon star similar to Lynch, plays Backderf. The cast also includes Anne Heche and Dallas Roberts as Dahmer’s parents, Joyce and Lionel, respectively. The film was written and directed by Marc Meyers, and Backderf was largely uninvolved in the adaptation (via IMDb).