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Derf sold his first cartoon, a nude portrait of his sixth grade teacher, for $2 dollars to a classmate who used it for unspeakable purposes. Today he is one of the most widely-read indy comix creators. The writer-artist, who works out of an unheated, attic studio in his Cleveland home, grew up in a rural, small town in Ohio, an experience that was the inspiration for his graphic novels TRASHED, PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS and the international bestseller, MY FRIEND DAHMER. An art school dropout, Derf worked on a garbage truck before deciding to give cartooning a try. He attended Ohio State University on a journalism scholarship, where he drew political cartoons for the school paper for three years and caused such controversy school officials put a 1-year limit on all future cartoonists. After graduation, he landed a similar position on a paper in South Florida but was fired after two years for, as the editor put it, "general tastelessness." He moved to Cleveland and THE CITY comic strip debuted in the now-defunct Cleveland Edition in 1990. A year later, he began selling it to other alternative papers. The strip has appeared in over 140 publications during it's 20-plus years, including The Village Voice, Chicago Reader and The Los Angeles Reader. Derf's images have also graced t-shirts and cd covers. His manic illustrations have appeared in all manner of publications, ranging from Guitar Player magazine to the Wall St. Journal. His work has been displayed in museums and galleries worldwide. He has been nominated for two Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comix), as well as Harvey, Ignatz and Rueben Awards. He was the recipient of a pretigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2006.From Booklist:
Derf, whose iconoclastic strip, The City, has been appearing in alternative periodicals since the early 1990s, here gives us a mordantly funny, semiautobiographical peek at his high-school years in an Akron, Ohio, suburb. When he isn’t looking out for his senile, tractor-driving uncle at his humble trailer-park abode, Otto “the Baron” Pizcok is haunting Akron’s concert hall, the Bank (now defunct), where the latest ’80s-era punk bands are usually playing. With an aplomb beyond his years, Otto manages to shrug off his nerdy image to become the local tour guide for punk legends such as Joe Strummer and the Ramones. As Otto counts down the days to his senior prom, his big dilemma is deciding whether he is leaving Ohio for college or staying to become Akron’s newest punk-rock star. Derf’s deftly drawn caricatures of teens and band members are amusing enough on their own, but his madcap scenarios and witty dialogue make this one of the stand-out graphic novels of the year. --Carl Hays
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