Wednesday, October 28, 2015


The secret fate is he gets put inside a giant thermos lid.

Comics have no end of fascination with providing some sort of eternal comeuppance to the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, and reasonably so. I mean, first off, the Nazis and Adolf Hitler were quite bad and, beyond that, they were some of the first villains to blanket the entirety of the medium from the git-go. Nazis practically midwifed superheroes as we know them, which is why they continue to make appearances in modern comics (despite the fact that they're either lightly disguised under another name or even used comically as some sort of absurd word salad - here come some Nazi Biker Nuns, or a Nazi Bowling League, or Underwater Nazi Balloon People, and what-have-you).

Once the war was over, super-heroes also began their eventual (and temporary) decline, coinciding with a rising oeuvre of stories - across genres - wherein some brownshirt gets the business. In fact, you could probably run an entire blog dedicated to comic book stories which delivered some sort of ironic punishment to Adolf Hitler, any of his high command or the Nazis in general (there's a free idea for you guys, no charge, make me proud), but among m favorites is "The Secret Fate of Adolf Hitler," which ran way back in DC Comics' sci-fi anthology title Strange Adventures vol.1 No.3 (December 1950).

♪ Bang bang, my fuehrer shot me dead. 
The tale picks up at Hitler's historical last moments, hiding in his bunker and preparing for the Russians to descend on his heil-ey hidey-hole. But Adolf has a plan! "Ruthlessness, cunning, daring - those are all I need!" he thinks to himself, rigging up a quickie marriage between Eva Braun and his "famous double, hidden here for just this moment!" With two gunshots, Hitler knocks off his double and his girlfriend, proving the Boomtown Rats right about history.

Hastily shaving his mustache, Hitler prepares to evacuate the bunker via a secret exit and dash to safety as an anonymous civilian - Hans Brecht, carpenter - which is a scheme I'd sneer at if my grandfather hadn't actually done the same thing himself when the Allies routed the Wehrmacht in Northern Africa. I wonder if he and Hitler worked that out over a schnitzel and a tall frosty one.

Complicating Hitler's schem, however, is the sudden appearance of three be-jumpsuited future men, walking straight through Hitler's bunker wall. Representatives Raxa, Monjil and a third nameless one who was probably billed as "Space Guy No.3" in the credits have come to help Hitler escape from the bunker. Are they springing history's greatest monster? No, they're bringing him to their home ... Mars!

The Martian council of adjudication puts Hitler on trial for his "crimes against history," which is also what Jonah Goldberg did when he wrote a book, and I have just achieved some sort of karmic parity by po-facedly comparing Jonah Goldberg to Hitler. Someone buy me a commemorative tee-shirt.

I don't know why it's so funny to see Hitler go "ULP!"
The Martian council finds Hitler to be a possible threat, concluding that "If the Nazis had won, they would have sent expeditions into space in a generation or two ... and Mars would have been overrun by gangsters and murderers!" Now, you might be thinking that since the Nazis didn't didn't win, shouldn't they let Hitler go? What kind of thinking is that? Good lord man, you just advocated for the release of the greatest monster of Western Civilization! You're horrible and I'm glad I outed you.

The Martians put Hitler on trial, damning him with recorded evidence collected by their "telescanners," which have captured everything Hitler has ever done. This likely includes "difficult BMs," but this is luckily both a six-page story from the Comics Code era and not a Grant Morrison project.

Naturally, Hitler tries all sorts of schemes to wriggle out of his punishment, like some sort of genocidal Daffy Duck. This is all for naught as the Martians unleash their final punishment: exile in a spaceship which will never run out of fuel, and is programmed to never land anywhere, and the controls for which are on the outside so there's no way Hitler could ever master them and override his punishment. Also the inside of the spaceship is padded, and there are indestructible lamps which provide "Nutrient Rays" which will keep him healthy and nourished as he travels forever in space. Also the ship has speakers which blast Hitler's own speeches at him at deafening volume twenty-four/seven (or whatever the space equivalent is).

"Air renewal, power, food," boasts one Martian scientist, listing the benefits of the eternal space prison in the same fashion a used car salesman might rattle off the benefits of a beat-to-shit Chevy Nova, "Everything has been designed to last for centuries! And with the rejuvenator and psycho rays, he will live indefinitely and remain sane right to the end of his long, tormented life!"

All of this probably could have been accomplished inside a prison cell too, but you have to admire the absolutely byzantine punishment system concocted by author H.L.Gold. To call it Rube Goldbergian would be to undersell it, and to underline how it doesn't have a coconut that runs down a guided track into a boot on a wheel which kicks over a soup can onto a squirrel tied to a treadmill. Hitler is certainly a figure who deserves any punishment imaginable, especially since his actual end was effectively so quotidian ... and unsatisfying, if that's your deal. Then again, there's almost no point to the vast majority of comic books unless they're in some way absolutely bugnuts, so that's two very good reasons to find a limitlessly bizarre sentence for the Fuehrer of the Third Reich.


cup king said...

The so-called 'best attorney on Mars' seems to be a poor Martian's Lionel Hutz

Brigham said...

Those Nazis, though. They were pretty objectionable.

Calamity Jon said...

Yeah, I've heard things.

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