'Further Adventures of Young Jeffy Dahmer' (1992).

Eric Gnoeff is a Russian-American comic artist, known for his work for the indie comic book publisher Boneyard Press. He drew the bizarre pornographic comic book 'Rectum Errrectum in the Penile Colony' (1991) and the humorous graphic novel 'Further Adventures of Young Jeffy Dahmer' (1992), depicting the fantasized childhood of real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. This makes him the second known artist to make comics about Dahmer; others who did the same are Al Hanford, Nelson Danielson and Derf Backderf. Gnoeff's comics are notable for their highly graphic, offensive but very imaginative displays of sex and violence. 

Life and career
Not much is known about Eric Gnoeff's life and career. By 1991, he was active as a comic artist for Boneyard Press, a publishing imprint specialized in adult comics, founded by Hart D. Fisher. At the time, Boneyard mostly published fantasy and crime comics, often with an emphasis on horror, sex and black comedy. Originally, the imprint was a self-publishing vehicle for Fisher, with Gnoeff being one of the first additional artists to join in.

According to an article in the Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois, of 14 June 1992, Eric Gnoeff was a graduate from the University of Illinois. On the old Boneyard Press website, it was mentioned that he was working there as a college professor by the time he met Hart D. Fisher. In Boneyard's editorials, Gnoeff is referred to as a Russian artist, who spent a large part of his life behind the Iron Curtain. On the cover of Gnoeff's subversive comic book 'Rectum Errectum in the Penile Colony', the book is described as the "first Russian comic in America".

In his foreword, Fisher writes that he first met Eric Gnoeff in 1989 in the corner of his etching studio at the University of Illinois. Fisher further described his work: "On this man's walls were some of the most disturbing pieces of artwork I had ever seen. Some of those pieces have desecrated the back cover of Dark Angel, our flagship title. Not only was this guy a warped bastard, but his work showed incredible talent. I have never met a finer artist. Naturally I began to pester him for a book." Possibly to warm up the audience to the comic book's raunchy content, Fisher continued his editorial with: "It wasn't until he was acquitted of some mutilation/rape cases in Wisconsin, that he was able to do any work for me. It was definitely worth the wait, prison must have really inspired him on this one."


'The Duffel Bag', from 'Dark Angel: Death Dreams' (1993).

Dark Angel
Among Gnoeff's early contributions to Boneyard Publishing were inside cover and back cover illustrations for Hart D. Fisher's 'Dark Angel', a fantasy-based crime series about Jonathan Gabriel, an All-American boy who becomes a serial killer. Gnoeff's contributions appeared in issue #2 of January 1991 and issue #3 of October 1991. For the follow-up 'Dark Angel' book 'Death Dreams' (1993), he provided interior art for the story 'The Duffel Bag'.


Two versions of the first (and only) 'Rectum Errrectum' issue (1991).

Rectum Errrectum
In October 1991, Boneyard released Eric Gnoeff's 'Rectum Errrectum. Catamite's Anal Revenge''. This strange crime thriler centers on a deviant, Pedro, who creates havoc in the homosexual community. He sneaks up to unsuspecting men and cuts off their genitalia, leaving a bloody mess behind. A police officer goes undercover to investigate the matter. In December 1991, 'Rectum Errrectum' was re-released as 'Rectum Errrectum. In The Penile Colony', with the first half of the book reprinting 'Catamite's Anal Revenge', while the second half features a brand new story. In this sequel, Pedro the penis mutilator is still at large. He sells his cut-off genitals to a group of feminists. With help from a voodoo queen, they attach the penises to voodoo dolls, so they can destroy as many men's private parts as possible. 

The cover of 'Rectum Errrectum' features a quote by comic artist Sam Kieth, which summarizes the Gnoeff's creation brilliantly: "This guy is either a genius or he doesn't know what the hell he's doing." The cover of the October 1992 release depicted Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, with Donald Duck's elongated neck sticking out of his pants. In his foreword, Hart D. Fisher, explained why he decided to offend the Disney Corporation: “A lot of people are wondering why I’m bothering to bump dicks with one of the biggest, most rabid entertainment industries in America - over a book that doesn’t make money. It’s because I respect Eric’s integrity as an artist. His freedom to create unimpeded by small minds.” 


'Rectum Errrectum' (1991).

The Further Adventures of Young Jeffrey Dahmer
In the summer of 1991, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The mentally disturbed man had kidnapped, murdered, dismembered, cannibalized and posthumously raped up to 17 victims. He kept body parts in his fridge, others in vats of muriatic acid. On 17 February 1992, Dahmer was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The case shocked the world, but the sheer sensation also led to excessive media attention and coverage. In August 1992, the publisher of Boneyard Press, Hart D. Fisher, scripted a 20-page graphic novel, 'Jeffrey Dahmer. An Unauthorized Biography of a Serial Killer', drawn by Al Hanford. Some sources have erroneously claimed that Gnoeff drew this book, but in reality he only designed the cover (in this process he misspelled the killer's first name as "Jeffery"). Although the book offered a well-researched and not too sensational account of Dahmer's crimes, it nevertheless caused huge controversy. A sensation-crazy journalist from Milwaukee bought copies and confronted the victims' families with it. Some of them sued Boneyard Press. Fisher's distributor, Capital City Distribution, went so far to destroy over 1,200 copies, instead of shipping them out to the retailers who paid for them. The "Dahmer comic book" soon grew into a huge media story, outraging moral guardians and general audiences. Many felt a comic about an only recently arrested serial killer was in extraordinarily bad taste. As it often goes, all the negative publicity actually increased Boneyard Press' sales, with Fisher and Hanford's book becoming a collector's item, given that some many first-run copies had now been destroyed.


Boneyard's first two Jeffrey Dahmer books, with cover art by Eric Gnoeff.

Fisher gave a lot of interviews to defend his freedom of speech. At the same time, he and his company were subject of severe demonization in the press, court cases, death threats, protest marches, attackers, stalkers and vandalism. Embracing his new status as "most dangerous man in U.S. comics", Fisher released even more comic books based on real-life crime cases and controversial media figures. To add fuel to the fire, he brought out three additional comic books about Dahmer. Compared to Hanford's comic, these new titles were all far more shocking, tasteless and silly. Eric Gnoeff received the honor of drawing the very first of these black comedy comic books, 'The Further Adventures of Young Jeffy Dahmer' (October 1992). Scripted by Fisher, with a cover design by Everett Hartsoe, the comic focuses on Dahmer's supposed childhood. He is born as a despicably ugly brat in an absolutely depraved hospital. Together with his childhood friend Dan Quayle (referencing U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle), he terrorizes his neighborhood. Halfway the story George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton also have a random cameo, since the publication of Gnoeff's book coincided with the 1992 presidential elections. However, here the politicians turn out to be filthy child molesters...

'The Further Adventures of Young Jeffy Dahmer' was a raised middle finger against all the media brouhaha directed at Fisher and his company. Apart from the over-the-top ludicrous story, the book also contains a lengthy foreword by Hart Fisher, in which he defends his decision to make comics about dark subjects. The next two comics released by Boneyard Press, 'Dahmer's Zombie Squad' (February 1993) and 'Jeffrey Dahmer vs. Jesus Christ' (February 1993), were drawn by Nelson Danielson and took the entire media outrage to even sillier, more blasphemous lengths. To mock his critics, Fisher also redesigned a Miller Brewing shirt reading "Milwaukee's Best", by printing Gnoeff's cover for Boneyard's original 'Jeffrey Dahmer' comic book on it. When a journalist sent some of these shirts to Miller's, they sent Fisher a cease and desist order for copyright infringement. Fisher found this so hilarious that he simply hung it to his fridge, instead of replying.



'Further Adventures of Young Jeffy Dahmer' (1992).

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