August 12, 2013

Hitler Non Grata

Having held onto this for a week or so, I wanted your thoughts on the ultimate decision to go with this illustration for the August cover of The Hollywood Reporter. You can read the full backstory on illustrator, Paul Rogers’ blog. The gist, though, is that the magazine wanted an illustration for a book excerpt about Hollywood’s collaboration with the Nazis. Concerned about protecting an export market, the Nazi’s were given script approval for a stretch of time.

Rogers went through two rounds of sketches. The first set, incorporating Hitler, were based on a Russian poster Rogers was familiar with. When he sent them to the Atlantic, however, they got cold feet. Here’s his quote, which I found pretty interesting:

Maybe it was actually seeing sketches of Hitler right next to their famous masthead, or maybe it was the recent dust-up over the Boston Bomber’s appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone, or maybe it was something else all together, Shanti and her editor decided we should try some other approaches. So the next day, I send over five ideas that utilized a combination of Nazi propaganda and 1930s Hollywood imagery with a fairly wide range of emotional impact. Nazis are tricky, even when you’re dealing with a scholarly piece of history an illustrator has to be careful.

And here’s the second set:

So, what’s your read on this? Could it be that the studies with Hitler, himself, were just too literal? Is it possible the Rolling Stone cover could have been dissuasive? Did the NSA/surveillance doings color the process, at all? And then, is there any instance where a Hitler or a bin Laden would evoke more insight than stigmatization in such a format — ever?

Note: In Michael’s absence this week — yes, it’s the annual retreat off-the-grid to Yosemite– we present a series of posts of images we’ve been looking at lately.)

(illustration: Paul Rogers for The Hollywood Reporter)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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