Title text: So he's saying that God thought Hitler's art was so bad that the Holocaust was an acceptable alternative. It's no secret that the hat guy is closely based on Aram, from Men in Hats.
Cueball speaks to an early version of Black Hat (with more of a top hat than his later "boater" hat style) about the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler. Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany beginning in 1933 and starting World War II in 1939 by attacking Poland. During that war, the Germans (under Hitler's leadership) killed millions of people; most of them were Jews, but other ethnic groups, homosexuals, and the mentally disabled were all targeted as well. This has come to be known as the Holocaust.
Black Hat's comment that Hitler wanted to be a painter, but did not get into art school, is historically accurate. He applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts twice. In any event, Cueball implies in the second frame that had Hitler been accepted into art school, the course of history might have changed, and the Holocaust might never have occurred. Black Hat suggests that perhaps God intentionally prevented Hitler from becoming an artist because God is an "art lover" and Hitler's art was terrible.
As with other early comics, the title text explains the comic for us: this implies that God would have preferred the Holocaust to have occurred rather than allow Hitler to make some bad paintings. Such a comment that God could be so callous would surely be offensive to many people. Cueball's reaction to this shocking statement is relatively mild and suggests that Black Hat has made such controversial statements before. He will make a similarly controversial and Nazi-related statement again in 984: Space Launch System.
The title text also informs the reader that Black Hat is based on a character named Aram from a now-defunct comic strip entitled Men in Hats. In the original quote when this comic was posted on LiveJournal (see Trivia) Randall directed the user to a specific Men in Hats comic about parenting. Like Black Hat, Aram seems to have frequently made judgmental, insulting, or controversial comments in a very emotionless manner. Aram wore a grey (perhaps intended to be black) suit with a red bowtie and a black top hat with a white strip above the brim. Black Hat's hat clearly evolved from the top hat design later in xkcd.
This may be the comic where Black Hat truly comes into existence for the first time. He appears earlier in 12: Poisson, but that was actually first released more than a month later. Then there is also 24: Godel, Escher, Kurt Halsey, released a good month earlier. But here Black Hat does not really resemble his later appearances.
- [Black Hat and Cueball are talking together in the same position in all four panels.]
- Cueball: Learning about the Holocaust has really shaken my belief in God.
- Black Hat: You know, as a young man, Hitler was rejected from art school.
- Cueball: Yeah... shame he didn't get in.
- Black Hat: Well, have you seen any of his paintings? They're awful. Defy all rules of composition.
- Cueball: What are you suggesting?
- Black Hat: Maybe there is a god, but he's a real art lover.
- Cueball: This is why I don't go out in public with you.
- This was the 31st comic originally posted to LiveJournal.
- Original title: "Friday's Drawing - Hitler"
- Original quote from Randall: "Yes, it's entirely possible that those two are Aram and Gamal."
- The link is to a specific comic from the comic Men in Hats.
- This comic was posted on xkcd when the web site opened on Sunday the 1st of January 2006.
- It was posted along with all 41 comics posted before that on LiveJournal as well as a few others.
- The latter explaining why the numbers of these 41 LiveJournal comics ranges from 1-44.
- One of the original drawings drawn on checkered paper.
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