When you are talking about top names in European comics today, Norwegian creator Jason definitely has to be thrown into the mix. His iconic minimalist style and use of anthropomorphic animals has left a very strong impression on the comic reading public and lead to plenty of major comic awards including two Eisner Wards. One of these awards went to the 2007 graphic novel I Killed Adolf Hitler. Now ten years on, Fantagraphics have released a spiffy new hardcover edition to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this bestselling modern classic.
Jason presents a violent world in which contract killers can be hired to rub out pests, be they dysfunctional relatives, abusive co-workers, loud neighbours, or just general annoyances ― and as you might imagine, their services are in heavy demand. One such killer is given the unique job of traveling back in time to kill Adolf Hitler in 1939… But things go spectacularly wrong. Hitler overpowers the would-be assassin and sends himself to the present, leaving the killer stranded in the past. The killer eventually finds his way back to the present by simply waiting the decades out as he ages, and teams up with his now much-younger girlfriend to track down the missing fascist dictator…
If that description isn’t enough to grab you, nothing will. The amount of beats Jason manages to hit in such a short space of time is astonishing. Ranging from witty, to dry, to surprisingly touching – this is a comic that is very hard to predict. It helps that at times, Jason takes the comic in a completely random direction that brings the narrative to the plot to a stop, although he manages to pull it off in such a way that no panel is wasted. The Main case being the assassin’s interaction with his on/off girlfriend which is often conveyed without dialogue and covers several mundane activities such as walking and getting drunk, but still showing a lot of character progression. The best strength of the story though comes from Jason’s cynical style of storytelling that permeates throughout the story. The almost clinical way that assassination has become an easy and everyday part of life is almost shocking, but it sadly fits very well in the world these characters occupy (not that it doesn’t lead to some wonderfully dark moments of comedy).
But beyond the great sardonic humour, there’s a quirky time travel gone wrong story that manages to develop several layers in a short space of time. The consequences of Hitler’s botched assassination and his journey to the future on both the lead characters and the rest of the world makes for some great reading and the ending brings all these themes to a head in a truly great way. Jason’s animal characters only serve to enhance this style of storytelling with the cynicism and bleakness greatly enhanced with his simple almost emotionless looking characters.
This graphic novel is a great time travel story and perfect for anyone who is extra cynical about the direction the world is heading with a dark sense of humour to boot. It’s well worth checking out this tenth anniversary edition if you missed it the first time round.
9781683960089 – H/B – £16.99
Post by Leo