I Killed Adolf Hitler

Created by: Jason

Published by: Fantagraphics

ISBN: 1560978287 (Amazon)

Pages: 48

Genre: Comedy, Drama

I Killed Adolf Hitler

Time travel is one of the oldest sub-genres of science fiction, perhaps only outdated by genetic engineering (a la Doctor Frankenstein’s homunculus) and the quest for fantastic realms (e.g. alien landscapes, hollow earths, and undersea domains). Had Nazi Germany existed in the early nineteenth century, the ethical dilemma of going back in time to kill Adolf Hitler would have probably been the grist of that first time travel story. After all, what more heroic use of a burgeoning technology (whose moral ramifications would be as yet unconsidered) than to save the lives of between 11 and 17 million people? Introducing one measly life to the mortal coil shuffle to halt a war before it could ever begin? At the time the idea would have been genius. Nowadays, it’s probably the kind of thing sophomores in college talk about when they’re being philosophical.

I Killed Adolf hitler

Fortunately, Norwegian cartoonist Jason only cares about Adolf Hitler so far as he fits the role of Macguffin for this story of love and personal identity.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with I Killed Adolph Hitler. The single preview page I saw was the one in which our hero enters and emerges from the time machine. The page is wordless and so I presumed that the book itself might be one of those silent comics that try to capitalize on technique but only come off pretentious. Additionally, the preview blurb on the book’s back cover worked to evoke the image of an adventurous thrill ride. Thankfully, both presumptions were mistaken.

I Killed Adolf hitler

The mononymous author, Jason, crafts instead a work of subtlety—and, happily, dialogue. He explores themes of love and life and second chances (not disimilarly—but perhaps more on point—to how Jonathan Blow would later meditate on similar themes through his popular videogame Braid). And even more, perhaps, I Killed Adolph Hitler concerns the nature of the human creature.

The protagonist is a hitman who will kill anyone without compunction and without any more reason than a paycheck. He exists in a world in which paid assassinations are accepted, commonplace, and legal. Jason, by posing an assassin as hero sheds a different kind of light on Hitler, the protagonist’s next target—and in so doing asks interesting questions about what makes us what we are.

I Killed Adolf hitler

While not the most towering literary achievement I’ve ever encountered, I Killed Adolph Hitler was certainly worth my time (it only took a half hour to read) and Jason presents a terse, well-told, and well-managed story that is equal parts humourous, morbid, thoughtful, and touching. The book is a visual pleasure, as Jason’s linework and colour choices are spot on. For a book about killing Adolf Hitler, I Killed Adolf Hitler does a pretty good job of being about finding out who it is that you love and then doing what is necessary to secure that relationship.

 

 

Good Ok Bad features reviews of comics, graphic novels, manga, et cetera using a rare and auspicious three-star rating system. Point systems are notoriously fiddly, so here it's been pared down to three simple possibilities:

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I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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