1. Lucas Huffman
2. The world exists in a truly abhorrent state in which “murderer-for-hire” is a legal and commonplace profession held by those that can handle it. I Killed Adolf Hitler begins with the crosshairs of the leading character’s rifle set on an intended target while his girlfriend calls for sexual attention. Immediately afterwards, he suggests they see other people. Throughout the week many persons seek out the murderous skills of the mercenary, he performs the jobs in a blur of dealings. One day, a scientist visits the protagonist with a surprising request—he wants him to kill Adolf Hitler. The mercenary travels to the past using the scientist’s time machine and enters Hitler’s quarters. However, while drawing the gun he’s spotted by a guard and his attempted homicide is foiled. In a terrible turn events Hitler discovers the time machine and sneaks back to the 21st century leaving the would-be killer stranded in the Nazi era. Suddenly, out of nowhere the mercenary—only seventy years older—barrels into the scientist’s lab as Hitler steps out of the time machine and fires his gun at his chest. They try to move the body, but can’t due to Hitler’s immense weight. The mercenary returns to his much younger ex-girlfriend (the only person he has) to ask for help. The two return to the lab and discover the scientist knocked out on the ground and Hitler missing. Adolf Hitler, one of the most gruesome and vicious leaders of all time is now loose in 21st century Berlin! The mercenary and his ex must now take on the difficult task of locating and killing the fearsome leader amidst thousands of people. For the remainder of the story, you’ll just have to get your hands on a copy and discover it for yourself. But be prepared for a surprising ending!
3. I Killed Adolf Hitler holds a unique type of artwork that both appeals visually and cultivates Jason’s purpose and meaning within the graphic novel. The book’s primary medium is crisp, minimalist drawings augmented by understated color. The played-down contrast between colors makes them less distinct and brings a type of flat imagery to the piece. The drawings are also very abstract, flat-looking, and greatly resemble the work of Belgian artist Georges Remi (Hergé). The characters are anthropomorphic animals and generally lack significant emotional expression. In addition, the characters and objects of the comic are more along the crude, childlike, airy and light, and unrealistic side of the naturalistic spectrum.
In addition to media and general style, Jason utilizes several formal design elements to distinguish his art. The gutters of his graphic novel are uniform in length and width and colored in a clean, crisp white. This feature somewhat underscores the un-emphasized colors of the book while fostering readability and flow. He combines his pictures and words in an often intersecting way in which the words and pictures work together in some mode while adding more information separately. Though, Jason does utilize picture-specific combinations in pages completely void of dialogue. In these instances the images perform most of the work and transfer the purposed information. Finally, Jason utilizes action-to-action transitions between panes in which each alteration features a single subject in distinctive progression.
4. Jason’s work holds several discernible background intentions expressed through the comic’s setting, plot, and characters’ dialogue and complexions. As stated above, the characters of I Killed Adolf Hitler generally remain expressionless throughout the book. When the do express emotion, they’re usually articulating anger, dismay, surprise, and other emotions near the darker end of the spectrum. In addition to low contextually emotional information, there is also little or no talking throughout the comic, forcing the reader to observe and interpret the images provided to understand the turn of events. The child-like nature of the cartoony animals (Disney-like) juxtaposed with their often violent and sexual lives somewhat reveals a possible purpose in Jason’s work. His efforts combine the baser features of life—death, sex, lies, and violence—with these cartoon points of view and creates a situation in which these familiar aspects are now unsettling. Through this method Jason makes the well-known bizarre and forces readers to confront their assumptions about prominent concepts in current society.
5. I deeply enjoyed reading this novel; likewise I believe there are several expressed strengths through his work. The anthropomorphic animals were a new twist on comic art that I found very interesting. In addition, the style and form of art and caricature design synchronize well, in fact, much of the baser meaning requires the form and style to be fully expressed and articulated. The title is what initially drew me in, and the minimalist art was very new and also conquered my attention. I also continued to discover new aspects of the plot and story each time I returned to the novel. My gut reaction was mainly surprise at how simplistic and short the story line was, though this did not subtract from the appeal of the comic whatsoever. The overall structure of the comic’s entirety was also rather attractive and flowed very easily. Each page is broken up into six-panel grids that give the story a cinematic feel. The progression of the story line also duplicates “jump cuts” in the movie industry. Suddenly one portion of the story ends and another quickly picks up to replace it. There are many aspects of Jason’s work that immediately attract and hold the attention of the reader, it is worth anyone’s time to pick up I Killed Adolf Hitler and immerse one’s self in its appealingly minimalistic pages.
6. Though I have mainly positive comments toward this book, it did contain a few weaknesses. The short storyline was slightly disappointing, though it was a sensational and pleasing one. The only portion of the book that took me off guard was the opening scene in which the protagonist’s girlfriend acts sexually aroused and calls for attention in the explicit way she does. Depending on how bothersome Jason aimed to be, I would possibly suggest decreasing the subtleness of the book if his main intention is to be unsettling. Aside from these minor points, I Killed Adolf Hitler was a very enjoyable read.
7. This novel does retain a certain level of restriction as far as an audience that will comprehend and enjoy it. The artwork seems to be reaching out to a younger, more childlike audience, though this is not the case whatsoever. Due to the somewhat explicit opening scene, immediately the range of intended viewers is narrowed to an older audience (young adult and up). This graphic novel is not particularly gender biased and could appeal to either sex. The progressing love story in the background may also indirectly appeal to viewers who find such narratives appealing. Personally, I would pass this book to my father who—with a dry sense of humor—would find the graphic novel entertaining and worth reading. Aside from the initiating scene, there are not very many aspects that would likely cause a necessary censorship in choosing the recommendation of this book.
8. A few other books published by this offer that I would like to read and may suggest to others might include Hey, Wait…—in which Jason starts off with a melancholy childhood memoir then shockingly twists to a summary of lives lived, wasted, and lost—The Iron Wagon—a novel using two-color drawing style and re-casting his iconic animal character from Sshhhh—The Left Bank Gang—A story in Paris in which cartooning is the dominant form of fiction—Isle of 100,000 Graves—In which a fatherless boy enlists a ship full of pirates to discover the hidden island and his lost father—and Pocket Full of Rain—wherein a bird-faced hobo transforms into a working stiff bound by schedules and responsibilities.
9. I give I Killed Adolf Hitler by John Sæterøy (Jason) four out of five stars.