- Paperback: 48 pages
- Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; 1 edition (June 6, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1683960084
- ISBN-13: 978-1683960089
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.5 x 10.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Killed Adolf Hitler Paperback – May 30, 2017
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About the Author
Jason hails from Oslo, Norway, but currently resides in Montpellier, France. He's won multiple Eisners, a Harvey, and an Inkpot award.
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The nameless protagonist of "I Killed Adolf Hitler" is a professional hitman in a world of anthropomorphic animals... a world where murder is legal, and he is frequently hired to kill unfaithful lovers, obnoxious neighbors, and others. His latest assignment, however, is unique even by the standards of his strange and macabre job -- his client wants him to go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler, and is even providing him with a time machine to ensure the job is done. But something goes horribly awry, and Hitler hijacks the machine, leaving the hitman stranded in the past. The hitman opts to wait it out, taking the "long way" to getting back to the present... but when he reunites with an ex-girlfriend in the present day in order to finish what he started earlier that day/decades ago, they both end up discovering that in a timeline without Hitler, what's changed and what's stayed the same isn't what they expect.
The artwork is quite simplistic, yet has an odd charm to it that grew on me as the book progressed. I'm not sure how this book would have worked with an ultra-realistic style, but somehow the simple linework and panel layout makes for a more intimate story, one focused more on character interaction and development than breakneck action sequences and dynamic movements. It works for the sort of story this is, right down to the animal characters -- somehow the story is able to work seriously even while it stars cats, dogs, bears, birds, and other creatures. My only complaint art-wise is that the characters don't emote much, something not helped by the blank white eyes... but perhaps that was a deliberate stylistic choice, so that we could get a feel for the emotions of the characters via speech, body language, and atmosphere.
The story itself, despite the attention-grabbing title and concept, is centered less on violent action sequences (though plenty of people do die as a result of the protagonist's job) and more on character and relationship development. The hitman and his girlfriend could have been generic flat action-movie stereotypes, but here the plot is more centered on who they are as people and how the passage of time has changed the one while the other has stayed the same. Hitler himself is more of a plot device than a character despite featuring in the title, but I found I didn't mind this -- I was too interested in exploring the dynamics of the main characters.
Word of warning -- despite the cartoony art style, this book is NOT for kids! The premise itself -- a world where murder is legal -- should tip parents off, and the book also contains graphic violence, strong language, and even opens with an explicit description of sex (text-only, not in images, but still...).
An oddball but fascinating graphic novel, it's a more introspective take on the "time-traveling to kill Hitler" idea that tends to get a more lighthearted treatment in jokes and online media, and is helped more than hindered by its simple, cartoonish art style. It's certainly made me curious about more of Jason's works -- if they're anywhere as good as "I Killed Adolf Hitler," then I'm bound to enjoy them.