To the public, Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, author of the graphic memoir My Friend Dahmer (Abrams ComicArts, $17.95), he was “Jeff,” a high school friend with whom he shared classrooms, hallways and car rides. Using a combination of his own memories and journals, conversations with old friends, and Dahmer’s interviews and transcripts, writer-artist Backderf unveils a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man. Backderf has been nominated for two Eisner Awards and received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for political cartooning. His weekly comic strip, The City, has appeared in more than 100 newspapers over the past 22 years.