The New Adventures of Hitler: Oh, the Controversy
Posted August 30, 2010on:
So! In 1910, some Irish lady named Bridget Dowling moved to Liverpool and married a German guy named Alois Hitler waaaay before that name meant anything to anybody. In 1914, Alois abandoned his family, faked his death after WWI, and bigamously married some German lady. In 1939 , Bridget and her son, William, moved to the United States where Bridget wrote a manuscript called My Brother-In-Law Adolph about how from November 1912 to April 1913, 23-year-old Adolph Hitler squatted in their Liverpool flat while avoiding the draft, studying astrology, and trimming his moustache.
Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Hitler lived in England?
No, turns out Bridget was full of shit. During those years, Hitler was actually living in a men’s club in Vienna. Bridget really just wanted to make a quick buck or two. But whatever! Imagine Hitler spending time in England a few years before he bombed the shit out of it! What? You don’t want to?
Well, Grant Morrison did. In 1989, Morrison and Steve Yeowell (Sebastian O, Skrull Kill Krew) teamed up and did a twelve-part black-and-white short story in Scotland’s Cut Magazine called “The New Adventures of Hitler.” It went over about as well as any story with that title could possibly go over. Editors (including Hue and Cry vocalist Pat Kane) threatened to leave the magazine and British tabloid The Sun accused Morrison of being a Nazi. The run in Cut was completed, and in 1990 was colorized and reprinted in the UK’s Crisis #46-49 (owned by Fleetway, who also printed a ton of Morrison’s other stuff in 2000 AD) which reopened the floodgates of criticism.
So, what’s the big deal? While it seems like a lot of the critics were mostly just pissed off that the book wasn’t a giant “fuck you” to Hitler, it in no way put him in a positive light. Basically, it’s the story of a young Adolph Hitler and John Bull (kind of the British Uncle Sam) wandering Liverpool while searching for the Holy Grail, talking crap on King George V, and forming his tyrannical ideology. All the while, Hitler has to deal with a wardrobe full of pop stars (specifically Morrissey and John Lennon) and a trolley car that follows him wherever he goes (yet always stays juuust out of his line of sight). So, yeah, while not being a “fuck you,” it does paint a picture that Hitler is completely off his rocker.
As much as I’d like to say that you should check this out, it’s never actually been reprinted after Crisis. Morrison had mentioned making a self-publishing imprint called Snobbery With Violence to get some of his 2000 AD stuff out there, but he has since put that idea to rest. I’ve also heard rumors that Yeowell claims the original art doesn’t exist anymore. If you can get your hands on it (the issues of Crisis do pop up on eBay.co.uk from time to time), I highly recommend picking them up.