I listened: for the rest of that night ... I did nothing but listen.
July 6, 2019 9:52 PM   Subscribe

Sixty years ago, Héctor Germán Oesterheld completed the first serialization of Juan Salvo in El Eternauta (fan-made animation "trailer") with artwork by Francisco Solano López, depicting the fictional events that followed a deadly snowfall that covered Buenos Aires and the surrounding metropolitan area in 1957. Oesterheld's criticism of Argentinian government, in this political sci-fi comic and his other writings (Google auto-translation; Google books preview), lead to the disappearance of him and much of his family (Paste Magazine). Translated into Croatian, Greek, French and Italian, The Eternaut was finally translated into English in 2015 (Comicsbeat, with preview). In Argentina, El Eternauta lives on in public spaces.

Héctor Germán Oesterheld, also known as his common abbreviation HGO, is still not well recognized or documented in English, so here are two more resources:

Eternauta, a fan site in Spanish that still uses Flash, documenting not only Oesterheld's original comic, his sequel or remake of the original series, and five additional arcs and stories from other authors and artists, written after HGO's disappearance and assumed death, which was part of extensive government abductions that lead to an estimated 30,000 missing and presumed dead (BBC) in Argentina's "Dirty War" (Wikipedia).

The English Wikipedia bio page has some, but definitely all, of the information from the Spanish page.

If you're looking for a good summary of the context of El Eternauta and the whole story itself, here's an 12 minute video from ComicTropes, and TVTropes has a recap page, too.
posted by filthy light thief (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This looks really interesting, thank you. The street art is great.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:52 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Whoa, I had no idea. I've seen López's work before -- in the US, he's probably best known as the creator of the wildly NSFW Young Witches porn comic book series.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:57 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

El Eternauta is awesome and depressing and scary, mostly because so much of it rings so true.

I've seen López's work before
Small caveat: Solano is his first surname, López is his second. So, if you call him by his surname(s), it's "Solano López"( or just 'Solano', but not really done for authors who use both). Just like García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, etc.
posted by signal at 7:20 AM on July 7, 2019 [4 favorites]

Fantagraphics, which published the English edition of The Eternaut, also recently published a translation of Oesterheld and Alberto Breccia's masterpiece Mort Cinder. They're planning to publish more Breccia work, including Oesterheld's 1969 "remake" of The Eternaut, which is apparently much more overtly political.
posted by Awkward Philip at 7:56 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Eternauta is a milestone, but Mort Cinder is a masterpiece. Breccia's artwork is increible, but Oesteheld's evocative text is the heart of it all. From page 146 of the Fantagraphics release:
No rats or cochroaches. Too smart to live here. Time without edges, an endless uncountable rosary.

Once every century, food under the door. I don't know what it is I eat, but I eat is slowly, very slowly, like taking communion with every mouthful.

Desperation is a well that gapes, that deepens, that deepens. Until the birds arrive. Yes, birds, seagulls in fight, white and screaming savagely with iodine and salt.

And there are thistles with seeds that the wind picks up. Now they are not seeds. They are longing for the sun, for blue.

And there is a naked girl singing among the waves, hair jeweled with foam.

I don't know how long there were birds, thistles, the girl. Days, weeks. But then the scream...
The page.
posted by fmoralesc at 8:25 AM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

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