El Eternauta tells the story of Juan Salvo and a group of survivors of an alien invasion. A unknown race of aliens are invading earth an use others slave alien. At the end, the comic writer wonders, is telling the story enough? Perhaps not, but El Eternauta © Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano López. El Eternauta (Eternity Traveller). Real Name: Juan Salvo. Identity/Class: Human mutate. Occupation: Factory owner (factory manufactured electrical transformers).

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The Eternonaut is a seminal work of Latin American literature.

El Eternauta – Professor LatinX

It’s been translated from Spanish into Italian and French, but never until now English. Despite its original episodic publication, The Eternonaut is a carefully mapped single narrative, framed with the insertion of Oesterheld himself as the comic writer at the beginning and end of the story.

Its literariness is part of what has made this a lasting story, capturing the imagination of readers, writers, and artists for over fifty years. Oesterheld, writing about the development of these characters, talks about the idea of heroism: Considering it now, though it was not my original intention, I feel strongly that the only real hero is the hero ‘en masse,’ never the individual hero, the hero alone.

At the end, the comic writer wonders, is telling the story enough? Perhaps not, but then again, it might be. Oesterheld uses the vehicle of the story to engage with many of the pressing global political issues of the time, but from a distinctly Argentinian point of view.

“El Eternauta”: Argentine comic figure as a folk hero

There are references, overt and implicit, to the Cold War. But the perspective is unfamiliar to readers in the U. It isn’t the red-scare propaganda; neither is it anti-capitalism propaganda.

Rather, it’s written from the point of view of the everyday person in commic country indirectly threatened by the escalation of nuclear weaponry and the constant specter of world war.


In the opening card-playing scene, after hearing about a cloud of radioactive dust moving south after U. They ironically call it a “hobby” and wonder when the U. It’s a shockingly dismissive moment. As the story develops, the U.

At points, the protagonists hope for rescue from the U. As the story moves from bad to worse to catastrophic, the characters fight, and win, correspondingly escalating battles.

The contrast between the oppressive hopelessness of the situation and the near-miraculous survival and triumph of the protagonists is pointed and political. That the worst brings out the best in humanity is perhaps trite, but it is an observation worth making over and over. When faced with eyernauta disaster, human ingenuity is eternauga greatest asset.

And, beyond all of that, treasuring the living Earth, teernauta own diverse cultures, the complexity and beauty of life is only possible when faced with etrnauta alternative. In the vein of classic science fiction, this story posits an enemy so terribly unimaginably other in order to conic the realization that we have much in common.

Osterheld’s political activities would eventually draw the attention of another, horrifyingly familiar opponent. Argentina in was at the beginning of the Dirty War, a period of especially cruel eternuata measures taken by the military government in Argentina against its own people.

Violent oppression, torture, and “disappearances” of left-wing activists and those who opposed the military government were common. In a series of events that seems too tragic to be believable, all four of Hector and Elsa Oesterheld’s daughters were assassinated or disappeared in and Two of them were pregnant. In late Oesterheld was also taken by the government, held and tortured for a period of months, before finally becoming one of the more than 30, disappeared.

Oesterheld by this time was well-known throughout the country, and the Spanish-speaking world, as the creator of The Eternonaut.


Graphic Lit

This translation of ccomic original version of The Eternonaut is only one version of this story. The progeny of The Eternonaut don’t stop there. After Oesterheld’s disappearance ina series of other artists and writers worked on continuing the story over four more versions.

Such is the lasting power of the characters introduced in The Eternonautand such are the expansive possibilities introduced in the original version. By arrangement with the estates of the authors.

Oesterheld worked with the best artists and illustrators of his time, including Alberto Breccia and Francisco Solano Lopez. Oesterheld’s work took on increasingly political tones in the s and s, and he, along with his four daughters two of whom were pregnant at the timewere arrested by the Argentinean military government. There is no information about what happened to them, but they are all presumed dead.

The Eternonaut was published in Hora Ceroedited by Oesterheld, in weekly installments beginning comicc It is widely considered one of the most important Latin American texts in both science fiction and comics.

Perhaps best known in the U. He produced artwork for a number of publishers in Madrid and London after fleeing from Argentina to avoid potential arrest.

The Eternaut – Wikipedia

These works included Galaxus: His range of subject matter, and distinctive illustrating style, has earned him international renown as one of the most inventive illustrators in Latin America. He died in August from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Erica Mena is a poet, translator, and editor, not necessarily in that order. She is the founding editor of Anomalous Press. Read Part II here. Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.