Monday, June 2, 2008

I Killed Adolph Hitler by Jason

Jason's comic Low Moon is currently running in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. If you click the link, you can read the strips that have been published there so far.

I bought I Killed Adolph Hitler for my husband for his birthday, after reading a review of it. He loves graphic novels, and Jason's author description was surreal in a way I thought my husband would apprecite: "Jason was born in Norway in 1965. Suddenly he spoke to a cat. Winter filled the room. They could see the ocean." But what actually happened is that my husband read that and called Jason a wanker. Still, he loved the book, and I enjoyed it, too.

The main character in this graphic novel is a hit man. The back of the book says that in the society in which this story is set, murder-for-hire is legal, but when reading the book myself, I didn't get the sense that it was either legal or illegal. That might just be something I missed, but it doesn't matter either way. The main character is a hit man, and is approached by a scientist who has invented a time machine. The scientist wants him to travel back in time and kill Hitler. Unfortunately, the time machine will only work once every fifty years, so the hit man has to get it right on the first try. Of course, he doesn't. He messes up, which leads to some playful experimentation with the idea of time travel. And that playfulness was what I liked best about this book.

I also like Jason's use of color. He's known for his minimalist drawings, which I enjoy. But what drew my eye most was his heavy use of blues and greens with muted greys and browns, which make his rarer red tones really pop out. I also love the way his characters are different animals, and I spent some time trying to figure out if different animals represent different types of people, as they do in Spiegelman's Maus. But although most of the main characters have dog-like qualities, other animals (birds, bunnies, and my favorite, a cat with a hipster beard reading a paper in the hit man's waiting room) seem random. I admire that; I feel it sends a message that people just look different, and maybe we shouldn't make such a big deal about what their appearances say about them.

Cross-posted in my blog.

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