Derf Backderf, creator of the acclaimed memoir My Friend Dahmer, has ended his weekly comic strip The City after 24 years.
"I'm ending the strip so I can concentrate full-time on graphic novels," he announced today on his blog. "It's all good. I'm not slinking away from a failed endeavor as a washed-up has-been. I'm leaving it behind in a blaze of glory, as a newly minted, internationally-best-selling comix creator. The past couple years have been the best of my career. After 30 years of toil as a (at best) cult favorite to suddenly find success? I'm loving every fucking minute of it! I simply no longer have the time, nor, quite frankly, the desire, to devote to The City. Typically, it takes almost two full workdays to write and draw one strip. That's time better devoted to other projects."
Those include Trashed, a graphic novel based on his webcomic of the sname name, to be published in fall 2015 by Abrams Books, and his new webcomic The Baron of Prospect Ave.
Debuting in 1990 in the Cleveland Edition, The City has appeared in 174 alternative newspapers, from The Village Voice to The Chicago Reader to Miami New Times. By Derf's count, he's produced more than 1,500 strips.
"I am grateful to each and every one (except, of course, to the rags that I had to cut off for non-payment)," he wrote. "It was a great run and we all did wonderful and important work together. I am proud to have been part of it, but it's a real bummer to be hitched to a dying industry. I've been a passionate newspaperman for 30 years, stretching all the way back to my days as a cartoonist (and journalism major) for the Ohio State Lantern. Enough. I have a much better option. Bottom line is I'd rather make books and the truth is, I'm a LOT better at graphic novels than I ever was at a comic strip. It's obviously what I should have been doing all along. To paraphrase Elvis Costello, ;I'm an overnight sensation ... after 30 years!'"