I Killed Adolph Hitler by Jason

Categories:  Reviews

I Killed Adolph Hitler
By Jason
Fantagraphics

JasonMaybe the most famous, and certainly the most apt thing ever written about the late author, Richard Brautigan, was penned by a critic at the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle. It read, in part, “perhaps, when we are very old, people will write ‘Brautigans,’ just as we now write novels.”

I bring up this quote not as an attempt to compare and contrast the two authors—though similarities certainly can be drawn—but rather because they both find themselves similarly confined by the languages of their chosen mediums, which is to say that, just the word “novel” didn’t quite fit Brautigan’s output, “graphic novel” doesn’t quite seem to Jason’s work justice.

Jason clearly has much love for the comics form. His work has embraced nearly all reaches of its far flung genres, over the course of his career, alternately embracing zombies, aliens, and jewel heists—plotlines which, in the hands of a lesser artists would almost certainly become fodder for a by-the-book exercise in pulp fiction. In that sense, I Killed Adolph Hitler treads similar territory. The story of an assassin hired to travel back in time to murder the Führer sounds like the plot of a thousand pocket paperback sci-fi books.

As always, the author filters the proceedings through his singular sensibilities, opening on a universe that regards hired killings with the same deadpan indifference that seems to govern much of Jason’s consciousness, making murder a detached, strangely humorous, and above all largely commonplace act. It’s a world in which people put hits on their neighbors for playing their music too loud in the middle of the night.

When our protagonist is propositioned with the unique task of traveling back in time to murder Adolph Hitler, he answers simply, “half now, half later.”

Jason delivers the story with typical cinematic grace, through anthropomorphic characters capable of keeping a poker face in even the most outlandish of situations.

The result is a story that easily transcends the constraints of its genre, ultimately becoming something of a meditation on the quiet truths of human relationships, harnessing the powers of the silent film that exists between dialogue bubbles. In that sense, Jason has created his own “Brautigan,” a work best defined by what it isn’t.

–Brian Heater

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