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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Did Deadpool Seriously Kill Hitler?

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In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Tom A., we look at the various ways that Hitler has died in the Marvel Universe…

The first indication that Adolf Hitler died differently in the Marvel Universe than “real life” was in a surprising place, 1953’s Young Men #24, which was where Marvel (then Atlas Comics) tried to reboot their Golden Age heroes. The lead story, by Hank Chapman and Russ Heath, has the Human Torch return. The story gives a recap on his career up until this point and check out what Chapman just squeezes into a SINGLE FREAKING PANEL…

torchhitler1

Yeah, just casually, he has the Human Torch kill Hitler.

Okay, so that was the 1950s, when the Marvel Age began in 1961, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby weren’t exactly worried about the continuity of their comics from the 1950s.

So in Fantastic Four #21, we meet the Hate-Monger. Note how they hyped his secret identity…

FF021cover

At the end, his Hate-ray is accidentally turned on one of his own men, who then shoots and kills him (who says Invisible Girl was useless?)

ffhitler1

ffhitler2

Nick Fury unmasks him and it is shockingly HITLER!

ffhitler

(Note that they at least do suggest that maybe it wasn’t Hitler, but one of his doubles instead)

Okay, so now years later, in the famous What If…? #4 (by Roy Thomas, Franks Robbin and Springer), we have the Human Torch killing Hitler established as part of Marvel continuity…

hitlerwhatif1

hitlerwhatif2

hitlerwhatif3

Damn, Hitler sure talked a lot for a dude who was MELTING!

Man, I just can’t get over how awesome it is that part of Marvel’s long-standing continuity is that Hitler was killed by an android. Hilarious.

Okay, so in Captain America #211, Jack Kirby introduced Nazi X!

nazixa

At the end of the issue, Arnim Zola reveals that he saved Hitler’s brain (Kirby had only JUST introduced Zola a few issues earlier)…

nazix1

nazix2

In Super-Villain Team-Up #17 a couple of years later, Peter B. Gillis gives us the grand unifying Hitler theory for the Marvel Universe. Torch killed him, but Zola transported his mind to a clone boy which became the Hate-Monger. He also had ANOTHER body, which was Nazi X, so Gillis impressively tied in all the disparate stories together.

stvu17a

He also ends the issue with Hitler stuck in the Cosmic Cube, I presume in part to eliminate Hitler as an ongoing villain the Marvel Universe.

Okay, so that was the status quo, but recent years brought a couple if interesting changes, including one involving Cable and Deadpool. Check it out on the next page!

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45 Comments

That Deadpool is aweeeeeeeesome! I must check Duggan’s run. On the other hand, Bendis is again just plain awful: throwing out established continuity for the sake of a good scene and well-established panel (when the other Avengers are in a schock due to Bucky’s sudden revelation…)

There’s actually an interesting and unintentional contradiction to that Deadpool story. In “Deadpool vs. X-Force, Deadpool actually defends Hitler from time travelers. This is before Deadpool met Cable and got his personality (he still has the red-outlined word balloons) so he was really just a hired gun. I wonder if they ran into each other off-screen during this issue.

You mention the awesome panel from Young Men where the Torch kills Hitler but I don’t see it in the story.

Interesting overview.

Best part of that story is Hitler mistakenly going after Nick Fury Jr. first. “I know you ain’t time-traveling Hitler, son!”

Superconnectivity

February 21, 2016 at 6:57 am

I always took Bucky’s statement that he killed Hitler as a reference to the unknown soldier who killed the Hitler clone in the FF. It makes sense, he was an assassin working for the Russians who were no friends to Hitler. The US sent Fury, the Russians sent Bucky, makes perfect sense.

Superconnectivity, I like your theory, but I think you’re giving Bendis way too much credit. This isn’t the only time he’s ignored past continuity and just done whatever he wanted.

Clint Barton arguing for the planned killing of someone seems more than a tad out of character.

“I’m betting that *flameproof* button would have blown us all sky high”

Good thing the button happened to be flameproof, huh? I also love the emphasis on “flameproof”. Typical Roy Thomas. (Btw, how do you bold parts of your comments? I wanted to bold flameproof in the quote, but wasn’t sure how to do it)

Say, aren’t What If’s non-canon?

Raymond, generally, they aren’t, but that particular issue is considered canon, and I’m pretty sure it was acknowledged as such by Marvel, because it explained how Captain America could form the All-Winners Squad and fight communists in the 50s, and be frozen in a block of ice at the same time.

@Raymond
Well, those Cap and Invader What-Ifs became canon, sort of. They took the ideas as gospel that Cap was replaced by The Spirit of 76 and The Patriot, after Cap disappeared, presumed dead. They were as much continuity fixes as they were speculative stories, since Roy wanted to explain why there were Cap stories at the end of the war and his presence in the All-Winners Squad. At the same time, Steve Engelhart threw the 50s Cap into the regular book to explain those stories. Guess it was too hard to say “Only the post FF #1 stories count.” Roy seemed to want to make every story count. I expect he had a near-nervous breakdown trying to patch DC’s continuity, post-Crisis, as witnessed in Secret Origins and Infinity, Inc, before he finally tapped out and left DC.

Raymond- That particular WHAT IF was unusual, in that it didn’t take place in an alternate timeline, but was presented as what actually happened in the regular timeline. It was just Roy Thomas’ way of establishing Marvel’s “late Golden Age” continuity- how the Invaders became the All-Winners Squad, who took the Captain America identity between Cap’s getting frozen and the ’50s Cap, etc.. And that bolded word buisness was something most of the writers did at the time- to me, it always seemed like the one who overused it the most was Englehart, not Thomas.

“The first indication that Adolf Hitler died differently in the Marvel Universe than “real life”…”

Why is real life in inverted commas…?

“Man, I just can’t get over how awesome it is that part of Marvel’s long-standing continuity is that Hitler was killed by an android. Hilarious.”

Is it?

I dunno. All that, and the comics examples in the rest of the article, seem to indicate Hitler’s become little more than an easy, simple symbol to inspire hate (hardly needs a ray gun) and so to act as a safe target for cartoon ultraviolence. Literally a comic-book villain as opposed to a historical figure and real threat.
I mean, look at the Dark Reign images. Respect to Spidey for calling out the hysteria, but also for calling out that bald example of Godwin’s Law!

For a bit of an insight into the people who really had to face down Hitler and what he represented, and the drawn humour they created to cope, I’d recommend the trio of books edited by British cartoonist Tony Husband: Cartoons of World War II, The 20th Century in Cartoons, and Propaganda. That’ll lead on to names like Pont, Philip Zec, Herblock, Vaughn Shoemaker, Boris Efimov and Kukryinsky.

Invaders Now! #1, published after the Bendis scene but before the Deadpool story had the Torch reiterate that he killed Hitler.

Also, that canonical story from What It? #4 places Captain America and Bucky’s disappearance at April 18, 1945 and Hitler’s death in as April 30. it is highly unlikely that Bucky was captured and completely transformed into the Winter Solider in just twelve days

An interesting side note: Captain America: The Official Index to the Marvel Universe treats Hitler’s final Golden Age appearance in Captain America Comics #49, set in June 1945 as a flashback set prior to the main events. This same story happens to also be where William Nasland and Fred Davis are now considered to have taken over the Captain America Comics title.

I wish there was an edit button. To add to the above, obviously Bucky would have been willing to kill Hitler while still Bucky, but the timeline is too tight here to allow for that, having only just been incapacitated.

I love those Deadpool flashback issues. Koblish nails the art no matter what era they are portraying.

Chris, thank you.

There’s a short film now on Netflix, “Kung Fury,” in which the karate-chopping protagonist goes back in time to take out the deadliest martial artist in history—the Kung Fuehrer! It’s pretty funny.

It wouldn’t be too hard to explain Bucky’s comment (that was just Hitler’s double the Torch killed!) but better to ignore it.

For what it’s worth, an early issue of Rick Remender’s run on “Secret Avengers” makes a reference to The Human Torch being the person who killed Hitler. It came out before the Deadpool issue but does reinforce the old continuity.

“Mistake” he says. It’s two-o’clock and time for our hourly Bendis Continuity Disaster Update…

I don’t think I’ve loved Frank Robbins more than for his Extremely Angry Watcher.

Mr. Fantastic: ‘morning, Uatu, what’s for breakfast?

Uatu: EGGS!!!

Did Deadpool seriously kill Hitler?
Deadpool doesn’t do anything seriously!

Raymond, quick tutorial:
triangle-bracket b close-triangle-bracket. bolded words. triangle-bracket forward-slash b close-triangle-bracket.

The triangle brackets I refer to look like this: <
but I'm not sure if they'll show up in this comment. (That's the open one I just typed, shift-comma on my keyboard, shift-full-stop to close. I don't dare show you another formatting mark.)

… the open one worked, so here’s a close one: >

If that “reveal” from Bendis doesn’t sum up his weaknesses as a writer of Marvel Comics, then I’m not sure what does. Had Bendis ever actually read a Marvel before signing on?

I would prefer to think that BuckyCap was just joking and no one got his sense of humor.

That, or he killed Dave Hitler, Adolph’s second cousin.

I seriously did not know the Torch killing Hitler wasn’t just a Roy Thomas Retcon. That’s awesome.

Re: Adam Farrar — I thought Remender’s writing was kind of weak during his Secret Avengers run but the “Jim (Hammond) killed Hitler” scene was just perfect.

Have a good day.
G Morrow

Yeah, all the various instances of the Torch being reiterated as the killer of Hitler (Secret Avengers, Invaders Now! and Young X-Men) were good, annoyingly, though, they all took place before Deadpool #26. Or else I would have totally shared them!

You mention the awesome panel from Young Men where the Torch kills Hitler but I don’t see it in the story.

Odd image glitch. It’s fixed now.

Headcanon: Deadpool and the gang murderized a brainwashed and crazy duplicate. They dropped him off in the wrong room, just down the hall from where the Torch and Toro were doing their thing.

Great Deadpool story. I remember reading this, but cannot remember which Deadpool series it was. I looked on Comicvine and mycomicshop.com but can’t find it. Were the pages made to look like they were from the 1980s or did the book appear then? I am confused.

Never mind. It was the 3rd series. I knew I had read it.

Hitler talking while on fire makes a lot more sense in the original Heath page, but that Frank Robbins’ art is just flat out amazing panel to panel! You don’t get to draw Hitler being immolated every day.

Nazi X doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as one of a line of possibly bodies for Hitler… unless Zola just liked messing with him.

First of all, Deadpool is insane so I think the idea is that you can’t anything he says at face value. Second of all, did anyone else notice they said “damn” in a Marvel comic back in the seventies? One of the running jokes about Marvel for years was that, despite claiming to be more “realistic” than DC, the characters still weren’t allowed to cuss. That having been said, that next to last panel had me in tears!

IanC- “Damn” was actually pretty common in ’70s Marvel comics.

First of all, Deadpool is insane so I think the idea is that you can’t anything he says at face value.

He’s not saying it. It is just shown as happening in the comic.

“Damn, Hitler sure talked a lot for a dude who was MELTING” made me laugh out loud.

The “I killed Hitler” line in that Bendis comic is just a little gag, so it’s not that bad, but as someone already pointed out, the real continuity blunder is that you have Hawkeye actively advocating the cold-blooded murder of a villain. You know, the same guy who (during the West Coast Avengers era) broke up with Mockingbird because she had allowed a bad guy fall to his death, nevermind that said bad guy had raped her, and she didn’t even actively kill her (like Hawkeye is suggesting they should kill Osborne), she just didn’t save her when he was about to fall from a height. Even if, between these two stories, Hawkeye has had a 180 degree opinion change on killing, at least you’d expect Mockingbird to call him out on his double standard, since she’s standing right there. But she never does.

Thanks for explaining the What If thing to me, people. And to Le Messor for explaining how to bold words. Now I’m totally going to abuse it in my comments! (Kidding!)

I’ve created a monster! :D

I have to agree with Tuomas’ comment regarding Hawkeye & Mockingbird and the subject of killing. When I first got into comics, the Phantom Rider ‘rape’ was something that truly shocked me. The failure of their marriage was, to me, the crux of the WCA run, To have the event pretty much ignored by Bendis irked me no end.

I wouldn’t even have minded the Hawkeye thing if they at least had some throwaway line to explain it, like saying the trauma of dying in Dissembled and what happened with Wanda since in House of M and onward changed his views about such things but nope…nothing of the sort.

But this is the same writer who believed Captain America and Iron Man would allow Wolverine to join the Avengers not in spite of his killing or because they felt they could redeem him but precisely BECAUSE he was a killer. Do you guys remember that issue? Steve and Tony having a conversation how in this new post-Dissembled world they need a guy on the team who can “go places they can’t,” meaning willing to kill for them?

““Damn” was actually pretty common in ’70s Marvel comics.”

Was it? What I remember is the characters saying “blast” a lot, me and my friend used to joke about it, our parents had no problem saying “damn.” I also recall reading in some Marvel comic, a Captain America story sent in by a reader, and Cap says “damn” at one point, and they pointed out that they don’t like to use that word.

T. –

I could perhaps see Iron Man willing to consider having Wolverine on a team to handle tricky situations. Iron Man is the guy likely to go “ends justify means” (see Armor Wars, Operation: Galactic Storm, etc.) and that makes his role as Mr. Establishment in Civil War doubly weird… But Steve Rogers I just can’t see in this role, except in a situation of declared war. I already find it hard to see Scott Summers in this role of having Wolverine as his pet killer.

And Hawkeye, yeah. There are possible explanations as to why Clint could change his mind about killing, and that he could already have talked about it with Mockingbird. But to expect Bendis to consider all this when writing is simply giving Bendis too much credit.

Don’t forget Mark Waid’s “Captain America: Operation Rebirth”, where neo-Nazis tried to free Hitler from the cosmic cube and Captain America finally destroyed it.

I am still baffled how fans of comic book history/older fans can say anything about Deadpool is “awesome”.

He is a symbol of so may things wrong with comics since the 1990s.

There’s only one way to explain how all the many deaths of Hitler are possible, the Legion of Crosstime Hitlers. You get to kill a Hitler, and you get to kill a Hilter, and he gets to kill a HItler! Everyone look under your seats you all get to kill a Hitler!

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