John Backderf draws Kent State Shootings


Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the infamous Kent State shootings.

In Spring of 2020 John Backderf and Abrams Books will release Kent State: Four Dead In Ohio.

“I’ve boiled the story down to showing how it unfolded,” Derf said. “It’s a very personal account of this shocking event that still reverberates today. I think that’s when history is at its best, is when you boil it down to people.”

The book took three years of research by Derf, who poured over the archives at Kent State University and spoke to witnesses and victims of the shooting.

“I’ve never attempted to pull off this kind of drawing before,” Derf said. “I didn’t really have the skills to do it earlier in my career. I had other books I wanted to get to. The 50th anniversary kind of snuck up on me.”

John gained fame, and some independence, with My Friend Dahmer, his 2012 graphic biography.

The Kent State book will be John’s second in association with Abrams.

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