El Eternauta, Daytripper, and Beyond examines the graphic narrative tradition in the two South American countries that have produced the medium’s most significant and copious output. Argentine graphic narrative emerged in the 1980s, awakened by Héctor Oesterheld’s groundbreaking 1950s serial El Eternauta. After Oesterheld was “disappeared” under the military dictatorship, El Eternauta became one of the most important cultural texts of turbulent mid-twentieth-century Argentina. Today its story, set in motion by an extraterrestrial invasion of Buenos Aires, is read as a parable foretelling the “invasion” of Argentine society by a murderous tyranny. Because of El Eternauta, graphic narrative became a major platform for the country’s cultural redemocratization. In contrast, Brazil, which returned to democracy in 1985 after decades of dictatorship, produced considerably less analysis of the period of repression in its graphic narratives. In Brazil, serious graphic narratives such as Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper, which explores issues of modernity, globalization, and cross-cultural identity, developed only in recent decades, reflecting Brazilian society’s current and ongoing challenges.
Besides discussing El Eternauta and Daytripper, David William Foster utilizes case studies of influential works—such as Alberto Breccia and Juan Sasturain’s Perramus series, Angélica Freitas and Odyr Bernardi’s Guadalupe, and others—to compare the role of graphic narratives in the cultures of both countries, highlighting the importance of Argentina and Brazil as anchors of the production of world-class graphic narrative.
David William Foster (1940–2020) was Regents’ Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University, where he also led the Brazilian Studies Program. He wrote numerous books, including including Argentine, Mexican, and Guatemalan Photography: Feminist, Queer, and Post-Masculinist Perspectives, Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema, Mexico City in Contemporary Mexican Cinema, and Gay and Lesbian Themes in Latin American Writing.
Foster demonstrates how graphic narratives, through a combination of graphic visuals and literary texts, are the medium for the telling of human stories, for they succeed in transforming everyday situations into visual works of art.
~Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature
It is always a joy to consume criticism by a comics aficionado and scholar like Foster, who does not lose his edge with time; if anything, his work has become more sophisticated, evidencing a protracted view of Latin America's comics industry.
El Eternauta, Daytripper, and Beyond is successful in exposing readers to a body of graphic narrative that is often ignored by U.S. readers. Foster has provided a useful foundation from which scholars can begin to build more detailed and developed histories of graphic naratives in Argentina and Brazil.
[El Eternauta, Daytripper, and Beyond] is written in clear language and it is an enjoyable read which proves to be entirely accessible to specialist and non-specialist readers alike.
~Hispanic Research Journal
El Eternauta, Daytipper, and Beyond constitutes an important contribution to the English-language bibliography on comic-book production in Latin America…This book is a valuable ally for scholars who want...further research into Latin American contemporary cultural production, and specifically for those working on Latin American or Global graphic narrative.
~Popular Culture Studies Journal
Impressive for the range of texts and authors under study together with the variety of subject matter and artistic styles explored, this pioneering book offers a broad exposé of two important primary national graphic novel canons from Latin America. Given the current widespread interest in interdisciplinary scholarly engagement with visual cultures in general, and graphic novels in particular, it remains surprising that this text is the first such academic work to deliver a comprehensive overview of these national graphic traditions. This is a book that will greatly expand and broaden awareness of these national literatures and likely motivate future studies in the field of Latin American graphic novel production.
~Janis Breckenridge, Whitman College, coeditor of Pushing the Boundaries of Latin American Testimony: Meta-morphoses and Migrations
I. Argentina and the Forging of a Tradition of Graphic Narrative: Military Tyranny and Redemocratization
1. Masculinity as Privileged Human Agency in H. G. Oesterheld’s El Eternauta
2. The Bar as Theatrical Heterotopia: José Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo’s El Bar de Joe
3. Resisting Tyranny: The Perramus Figure of Alberto Breccia and Juan Sasturain
4. The Lion in Winter: Carlos Sampayo and Francisco Solano López’s Police Commissioner Evaristo
5. News Bulletins from the Gender Wars: Patricia Breccia’s Sin novedad en el frente
II. Brazil: Graphic Narrative as Postmodern and Globalized Consciousness
6. Of Death and the Road: Rafael Grampá’s Mesmo Delivery
7. The Unbearable Weight of Being: Daniel Galera and Rafael Coutinho’s Cachalote
8. Copacabana and Other Hellish Fantasies: Sandro Lobo and Odyr Berdardi’s Copacabana
9. Days of Death: Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper as Existential Journey
10. Women’s Wondrous Powers versus the Telluric Gods in Angélica Freitas and Odyr Bernardi’s Guadalupe
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