CJR asked several cartoonists to offer their two cents on the controversial cover, including Ruben Bolling ("Tom the Dancing Bug"), Derf ("The City"), Matt Bors ("The Idiot Box") and Keith Knight ("The K Chronicles"). The responses vary, with Derf staking out the most uncompromising position: "I thought it was hilarious," says Cleveland's edgiest and tallest cartoonist. "So many people are misinformed, and you can't draw to the morons of America. If you don't know that Obama isn't a Muslim, we can't help you."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Cartoonists Respond to The New Yorker’s Obama Cover

The cartoonist Derf has taken home an RFK award for his comic "The City," which appears in several AAN newspapers. According to a press release (PDF here), the contest judges commented that "Derf aggressively attacks the institutions, ideologies and attitudes that create an environment for the continuing oppression and exploitation of the powerless. His outrage is directed not just at the cynicism and hypocrisy of the powerful but at the complicity of all of us who remain docile and passive subjects." Derf previously won the first place 2005 AltWeekly Award for cartoons that appear in more than five papers.

Continue Reading‘The City’ Wins RFK Journalism Award

Derf (aka John Backderf) gets ideas for his cartoon through cultural osmosis. As he wanders around the city, he stumbles across all kinds of material. His award-winning cartoon, The City, is carried by alternative weeklies across the country. This is the 25th in a "How I Got That Story" series highlighting the AltWeekly Awards' first-place winners.

Continue ReadingDerf: Waiting for the Punch Line

Andy Newman, editor of Pittsburgh City Paper, interviews John Backderf, "known to everyone but his mother simply as Derf." Derf's comic strip "The City" strip appears in more than 50 AAN member papers. Newman asks Derf about two comic books he just published, one called "My Friend Dahmer" about being high school pals with serial cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer and another about working on the back of a garbage truck.

Continue ReadingDerf on Growing Up with Dahmer