Review of “I Killed Adolf Hitler” by Jason

“I got to get rid of the body”

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About 1

Jason. I Killed Adolph Hitler. Fantagraphics, 2007. Print.

Awards

2008: Eisner Award, Best U.S. Edition of International Material, for I Killed Adolf Hitler 

#62 on CBH Greatest Graphic Novels of all Time

Book Summary

From the publisher, “In this full-color graphic novel, Jason posits a strange, violent world in which contract killers can be hired to rub out pests, be they dysfunctional relatives, abusive co-workers, loud neighbors, or just annoyances in general — 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… at which point the book veers further into Jason territory, as the cartoonist’s minimalist, wickedly dry sense of humor slows down the story to a crawl: for long patches absolutely nothing happens, but nobody can make nothing happening as riotously entertaining as Jason does… and finally, when the reader isn’t paying attention, he brings it together with a shocking, perfectly logical and yet completely unexpected climax which also solves a mystery from the very beginning of the book the reader had forgotten about. As always, I Killed Adolf Hitler is rendered in Jason’s crisp deadpan neo-clear-line style, once again augmented by lovely, understated coloring.”

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Courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts

Spoiler alert, Adolph Hitler dies… Big shocker I know.  The title is very much in the writing style of the novel: minimalist, terse, and concise. No need for grand allusions or literary whatnot; Jason writes very well and does not need to be wordy. The writing could almost come off as cold, but it isn’t really. It is just succinct. Why write a paragraph, when one word will work. Using this terse writing style, he explores themes of love, loss, moving on, and assassination and morality in equal measures throughout the book.

You would think that with a plot like the assassination of Adolph Hitler through time travel via a for-hire assassin, it would be difficult to add in a romance element to it. But Jason makes it work rather well. Again the romance is bare bones, but the emotions are subtle, raw, and very thoughtful.

His protagonist is an interesting choice for the story. He set him as an assassin who kills without qualms on a daily basis without the worry of legal or moral ramifications. However, throughout the novel, he shows morality, and empathy and even longing in other areas of his life. The leads the reader to think of him as a walking, talking, killing contradiction. How can the reader have compassion for his plights and cheer him on in his quest to assassinate Adolph Hitler at the same time? It is a conundrum, but it happens very quickly. Although, calling him a likable character would do him a disservice. You do kinda like him. He has a very macabre sense of humor that we get little wisps of throughout the story. Even with his sparse lines, he says much in the “in-between” panels.

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Kill Hitler. http://www.goodreads.com

What humor there is very macabre and very dry, skimming the line of the ironic. In one scene the assassin is working in his office, that looks very much like a doctors office. He has a line of customers (patients) waiting patiently to see him. The whole scene is bathed in irony and macabre humor.

Graphically, again the panels are very spare. A limited color palette is used, as well as a very sparse, very flat linework. The main characters are humans, with cartoonish animal heads. You can tell that Jason was very much influenced by the Ligne Clair comic style, à la “Adventures of Tin Tin.” “(Ligne Claire) Uses clear, strong lines all of the same width and no hatching, while contrast is downplayed as well. Cast shadows are often illuminated. Additionally, the style often features strong colors and a combination of cartoonish characters against a realistic background. All these elements together can result in giving comics drawn this way a flat aspect. (wikipedia.com)” Jason nailed this style.

Conclusion

Read it, it will take you an hour at most. Jason comics are among the best graphic novels have to offer right now. They are profound without being egotistical and pompous. Jason gets you thinking about things without it clouding over your day. They are perfect.

“Ligne Claire.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_claire.

Graphic Novel Review of “Fell, Feral City” by Warren Ellis #bookblogger #bookbloggers #amreading #graphicnovel

“Ain’t no Jesus in Snowtown, Detective.”
― Warren Ellis

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Stats

4 out of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages

Published June 5th 2007 by Image Comics (first published September 2005)

Original Title Fell (issues 1-8)
ISBN 1582406936 (ISBN13: 9781582406930)
Edition Language English
Series Fell #1-8

Awards

2006 Nomination – Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series

2006 Nomination – Eisner Award for Best New Series

“Ain’t no Jesus in Snowtown, Detective.”
― Warren Ellis

About

From the publisher, “Detective Richard Fell is transferred over the bridge from the big city to Snowtown, a feral district whose police investigations department numbers three and a half people (one detective has no legs). Dumped in this collapsing urban trash zone, Richard Fell is starting all over again. In a place where nothing seems to make any sense, Fell clings to the one thing he knows to be true: everybody’s hiding something.”

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My Thoughts

“Cause a cop asking a guy for a discount on his crack, that’s screwed up.
Sign of the goddamn apocalypse is what that is.”
― Warren Ellis, Fell, Feral City

“Fell” was written in 2006 as an experiment by author Warren Ellis to make serial comics more affordable. Sadly the experiment was short-lived, and no episodes have been published since the original 9. That being said, Fell is a worthy ready. Each book is a single story that takes place in Snowtown centered around Detective Richard Fell. It is dark and gritty, and very bloody. There is no real story closure or central theme other than watching Detective Richard Fell. Imagine a pseudo-Sherlock Holmes mixed with Spider Jerusalem from “Transmetropolitan”. It’s absurd but effective read and worthy of consideration. Check it out. Fair warning though, right now there are a lot of hard and awful things going on in the world. If you do not want to briefly delve into some of the dregs of humanity in story form I might give this story a pass.

Graphic Novel Review – What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucille De Pesloüan

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Stats

Paperback 

48 pages

Expected publication: March 18th, 2019 by Second Story Press

ISBN 1772600962

About

From the publisher, “What Makes Girls Sick and Tired is a feminist manifesto that denounces the discrimination against and unfairness felt by women from childhood to adulthood. The graphic novel, illustrated in a strikingly minimalist style with images of girls with varied body types and personalities, invites teenagers to question the sexism that surrounds us, in ways that are obvious and hidden, simple and complex. The book’s beginnings as a fanzine shine through in its honesty and directness, confronting the inequalities faced by young women, every day. And it ends with a line of hope, that with solidarity, girls will hurt less, as they hold each other up with support and encouragement.”

My Thoughts

I had the opportunity to review this through Netgalley, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although feminist fiction is not my usual repertoire, I am actively seeking out writers and books to learn and become more aware of it as a literary movement. This is a worthwhile example of feminist fiction that is well done and accessible. 

Let’s start with the good. This is a very approachable book for a young teenager. The imagery is simple, honest, and direct. The minimalist approach to the illustrations helps in keeping its punchy and biting style. Rather than come off as simplistic, the author comes off as personal and has obviously experienced these things first hand.  She makes the reader think and question the everyday sexism felt by women of all cultures, races, and sexual orientation. Furthermore, as approachable as this is it is also important for teenagers. Male, female or queer.  It is a good straightforward look at the complexities of sexism and feminism.

One of the things that I struggled with was each page was its own separate idea individual idea that had little to do with the page before it or after it. It felt disjointed in a way that was a jarring to me as a reader. I understand that this book is not a story, but rather single thoughts that are coherently joined together by the unifying discussion about discrimination and unfairness. Even with a unifying idea, it was too disjointed for me to be able to flow from one page to the next. 

All that being said, this is good. It took much of what women deal with on a daily basis and brought it to the forefront. I can absolutely see teenagers reading this and getting some perspective on the plights of women globally. Great read. 

Graphic Novel Review – The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

Question: Who Watches The Watchman?
Answer: The Boys.

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By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39087797

“Remember the seven Ps. Seven what? Proper preparation and planning… Prevent piss-poor performance.” ― Garth Ennis, The Boys, Volume 1: The Name of the Game

Awards

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About

From the publisher, “THIS IS GOING TO HURT! In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “supes” don’t get out of line. And someone will. Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female are The Boys: A CIA backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth-superpower. Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them-sometimes-need to be taken out of the picture That’s when you call in THE BOYS”

My Thoughts

“As the old saying goes: With great power comes the total fuckin’ certainty that you’re gonna turn into a cunt.”
― Garth Ennis, The Boys, Volume 9: The Big Ride

The Boys is a hefty series written by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Ennis, of “Preacher” fame, that “blows the bloody doors off” of the Superhero genre. This is not your tidy and inoffensive Superman story. Rather, this is bloody, gory, disgusting, and brutal.  It is repulsive, but in typical Ennis style, the reader can not turn away.

The Plot

This story takes the adage of absolute power corrupting and applies it to superheroes.  The superheroes in this story are called The Seven, which is a nod to the Justice League, and are your basic despotic, raping, and pillaging psychopaths. They kill for the fun of it, lord over humans, live to the excess and are generally horrible but powerful human beings.  In turn, the book explores governments’ and by extension societies’ response to the superheroes with a band of misfit black ops soldiers of varying degrees of sociopathic and homicidal tendencies. They, too, are extremely screwed up in exciting and equally terrifying ways. Their sole purpose is to keep the “supes” in check.  In the center of all this is a sweet and goofy love story. No really, I am serious. Ennis makes it work and it is awesome.

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The plot follows The Boys through a series of screwed up interactions with superheroes. The Boys “manage, police, and sometimes liquidate Vought-American’s superhumans,” so that is what they do. They attempt to keep the supes in check, things go awry, there is much sex and death, people die in awful ways, and there is always another superhero to stop.  Neither side can claim the moral high ground.  Through the series, we learn backstory about why The Boys are the way they are, and why each of them has a reason to hate supes. By the end, we have a much richer picture of The Boys and some closure to the story. It would be exhausting if the writing and art weren’t so good.

Additionally, Ennis created one of his characters into the guise of Simon Pegg as a sort of fanboy nod. To some, they find it distracting to read about “Wee” Hughie (aka Simon Pegg) walking into an orgy but my sophomoric sense of humor found it utterly hilarious.

The Art and Execution

The art is a very “Marvel comic” style, purposely drawn to convey the superhero motif. The supes and their world are drawn and colored to emphasize the grandness and gaudiness of the superhero world. Versus The Boys who are dark and melancholic.

The Writing

Typical of Garth Ennis’s style, the writing is large, precise, and excessive. If you are familiar with Preacher, you will be familiar with his style. This is a hard book. It is full of sex, and violence to the extremes. If this bothers you, maybe look for something from a different author.  But for me, this severity and excessiveness are part of its charm. Superheroes are maniacs at their core. This book acts on the extremes of superheroes with extreme characters in retaliation. Who else could keep superheroes in check than people with nothing to lose except their own personal moral code?

The Tiki Putt – Gresham, Oregon

Where Tiki Gods go to die.

The Tiki Putt – Portland Bucket List

I am not sure what to say about this place. Maybe I went to the wrong glow-in-the-dark

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Let me get some Scandia Love.

putt-putt, but this was less than stellar. Here is the thing… I was raised in Las Vegas as a child of the 1980s, we had Scandia. Scandia was freaking awesome. No, it did not have neon and blacklights and tiki torches, but it did have a killer putt-putt range including a castle and water hazards. It also had a batting cage, water bumper boats, two different race car tracks for bumper cars, and a great arcade. As it got older, it did get a bit dated, but C’mon! It was a Vegas landmark.

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Confused shark seems confused. Where did my ball go?

Enter the Tiki-putt. It had cinderblocks painted neon colors, murals on the walls, and a course where you have absolutely no clue where to go or what to do next. It was lame sauce. Which may or may not be because I am utterly spoiled on the putt-putt front from Scandia.

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Look I have a cleverly placed tongue that makes it near impossible to get a shot through.

When we went to the Tiki Putt it was really crowded, and the crows looked like people having a great time. Kids jubilantly swung their putters and winging balls god knows where. Little ones where constantly marveling at the white lint that was now visible on their black t-shirts under the black lights. My husband and I got into the spirit of things. We winged, and we wanged balls all over a glow in the dark luau. We practically broke a hole with one of mark’s shots. His shot popped out the side of a rock formation and nearly tripped me. They have this cool spinning tunnel that affects some people with vertigo, I, of course, am one of these lucky individuals. That gave me a chance to run back in forth through the tunnel like a six-year-old. That was fun!  At this point, we could give a literal rat’s testes about keeping score or even staying track, but neither did anyone else there. So when in Gresham do as the Greshamites do, have some unhinged fun!

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This would be awesome for children if I only understand it. It looks like an Avant Gard Declasse for those artists that want to become one with their art. 

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The saddest after party in the VIP lounge of your favorite dance club. Wait, that’s a swimming pool room or something, 

The Tiki Putt Can be found at:

Contact:

By Phone: 503-201-9007

In Person: 1694 NW Fairview Dr. Gresham Or 97030

Email: thetikiputt@gmail.com

The Spiral Jetty is Crazy Dedication and Smells of Fish

When your view on life is shattered, it helps to witness of feat of pure ingenuity and dedication.

 

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The Spiral Jetty from Space. (https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/arts/design/18spiral.html

About five years ago my father battled stage three throat cancer. What followed was the worst 6 weeks of our collective families life. However, this isn’t about cancer but what my husband did to cheer me up afterward.

 

When my father was diagnosed, I moved back to Vegas temporarily to help my mom and dad. Cancer is a bitch. It isn’t just the emotional and physical toll on the person affected, but it also dramatically changes all the people that they love and love them in return.  After my father’s treatments, I was drained to the point of desperation and depression. My dad is a hero of mine, and I needed a pick me up from all this adulting.

 

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The building of The Spiral in 1970 The Getty

Enter Mark, my husband. He flew down mid-trip to stay with me, and help me cope, and when we drove back to Portland, we turned it into an impressive road trip. Road trips are fantastic, as long as you don’t have kids. With young kids they are purgatory.

 

Ever hear of the Spiral Jetty? I did when I was in college (went to college for Landscape Architecture), and have always wanted to see it. It is a giant earthwork that is only accessible by a long 15ish mile offroad journey through the desert. We did this in my Scion Toaster. We off-roaded in a Scion XB for 15 miles both ways. I still think this is crazy, but you know DEDICATION TO ART!

spiraljettyThe Jetty is only viewable some years, other years it is submerged under the Great Salt Lake. The Artist Robert Smithson said of the sculpture,“I am for an art that takes into account the direct effect of the elements as they exist from day today.” It is effective. As a viewer, you never know if it will be visible or not. It adds a bit of drama to the offroad trip. You have no idea what you will find. The sculpture forms a 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the Great Salt Lake. Over the years, the Jetty has developed a patina of crunchy pink salt crystals over the black rocks.  It also smells like the worst fish market ever, but aside from that it is wholly beautiful and seems entirely at home in the lake.   The artist worked in the middle of the desert for years to create this thing. People should see it as a salute to his profound dedication. It cheered me up substantially and I loved striking it off my bucket list. It was worth the trip.

Review of “This Is a Taco!” by Andrew Cangelose, Josh Shipley (Artist)

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review!

Mmmmm. Tacos. Even the word by itself makes me drool a little. Who doesn’t like tacos, crazy people that’s who!? I can tell you who loves tacos and it is the squirrel.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

 

I think this just might be my favorite children’s book ever. I say children’s, but really this book can appeal to all ages. I bet it could get a chuckle out of even the most staunch adults who only read Proust in the original French. This book is so funny, and the illustrations are absolutely marvelous. It reminds me of the humor that one would find online in your weekly webcomics. Concise and to the point. It also breaks the fourth wall a bit, especially when dealing with tacos. So really win-win for all. I see many kids in the future and their parents getting many chuckles from the adventures of the squirrel.

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