Sunday, 15 June 2014

I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason Review


Only Norwegian artist Jason could tell a turbulent love story and somehow work in a plot to travel back in time and kill Hitler.

Set in a world where assassinations are a legit business, a hitman is given the biggest job of his career: kill Adolf Hitler! But the job goes wrong and Hitler makes it to the future, stranding the hitman in the past. What becomes of them both, and what of the love of his life that the hitman leaves in the future? 

Like all of Jason’s books, I Killed Adolf Hitler is wonderful but, re-reading it years later, one detail stuck out to me that hadn’t before: why did the hitman travel to a time when Hitler was in power rather than his starving artist years when no-one knew who he was? Or even better, when he was a baby? Killing him then would be simple as there’d be no lackeys around to stop him completing the hit! 

Other than that, it’s your usual Jason book which is to say, profound and moving but totally deadpan and funny. The real focus of the book is the relationship between the hitman and his girlfriend though, as he was stuck in the past and had to wait 50 years to pick up where they left off, he’s now old enough to be her grandfather. Jason explores their strangely altered relationship as realistically as the situation allows and the romance feels real and never melodramatic or underplayed. 

There’s something very zen and pleasantly surreal about Jason’s comics. This book is laid out in 8-panel grids and tells its story in under 50 pages. The panels feature animal-headed characters eating lunch or taking a walk or just standing there, and the story never hurries along or takes longer than it does to tell a scene, but is never boring. The art is very crisp, clean, spare and, to me anyway, absolutely perfect, especially with Hubert’s lovely colours. There’s never too much in a panel or too little - it’s always measured just right. And I loved the time travel machine design which is basically a metal orb with a chair in it and a panel with a button - it felt very classic B-movie-ish in a good way and plays into Jason’s spare drawing style. 

Jason’s comics are among the best the medium has to offer, all of which I highly recommend reading if you can find them - he really hasn’t made a bad comic yet. I Killed Adolf Hitler brilliantly subverts the time travel/Hitler question into a surprisingly moving romance and a delightful read.

I Killed Adolf Hitler

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