Fantagraphics is proud to publish, for the first time in English, a graphic novel so powerful its main character’s image (much like Che Guevara’s) has become a potent symbol of the endless struggle against oppression; “Juan Salvo” appears on walls and in subways throughout Latin America to this day. This seminal Argentinian science fiction graphic novel was originally released as a serial from 1957–59. Juan Salvo, its inimitable protagonist, along with his friend Professor Favalli and the tenacious metalworker Franco, face what appears to be a nuclear accident, but quickly turns out to be something much bigger than they imagined. Cold War tensions, aliens of all sizes, space—and time travel—this one has it all.
The Eternaut is also thinly disguised political allegory: its writer, Héctor Germán Oesterheld (HGO), because he was involved in groups who protested the military dictatorship, was “disappeared” and presumed dead in 1977. Classical artist Francisco Solano López (who had to flee Argentina for Spain) illustrated the book in a gritty, realistic style. This collaboration between two of the biggest names in Latin American comics is still powerful: the story of Juan Salvo, fighting to save Argentina and the world, lives on in sequels, retellings, and adaptations.
“Oesterheld and López’s Argentinian classic from the 1950s [is] newly translated by Mena with a deftness and energy befitting the Borgesian, literary quality of the narrative … Elsewhere, López’s vigorous and occasionally terrifying drawings bring us from one hair-raising moment to the next, one part R. Crumb, one part Goya, one part Edvard Munch. … These two stories, of course, point to a larger one: that of how we deal with the daily catastrophes and pitfalls of human existence, with or without extraterrestrials.” — The Boston Globe
“In Argentina, The Eternaut is a cultural milestone … López draws the massive adventure in a sharp-edged, high-contrast, varyingly detailed manner … A fascinating and exciting work.” — Booklist
“There is more to this brilliant comic than meets the eye. It is at once both science fiction and political allegory. But fear not. Although Fantagraphics’ magnificently luxurious edition comes with all the necessary historical information, you need know nothing of Peronism to enjoy it. This is one of the most exciting comics you’ll ever read.” The Guardian
“Oesterheld's tale is an obvious allegory for resistance struggles of all kinds. … The characters are granted rich life by artist Francisco Solano López. … With this volume, Oesterheld's masterwork may attract the attention it deserves in North America. Fantagraphics has gone all-out with a multilayered, gleaming binding that emphasizes this book's significance and strangeness.” — NPR Books
“A sense of hope underlies the series, and it can be read as the struggle of the everyman to shirk off the yoke of oppression and to circumvent the cycle of slavery that war begets.” — Paste
“The Eternaut is a particularly compelling work, and it occupies an interesting point in Latin American literature. … In much the same way that Tarantino spins poetry from trash cinema, Oesterheld constructs a political allegory out of sci-fi serials and adventure novels. … Its apocalyptic lens facilitates its argument that anything can be overcome by unity, by refusing to accept oppression; it is, at the end of the day, a paean to the human spirit.” — The A.V. Club
“The Eternaut is considered one of the greats of Argentinian comics and one of the great genre books ever, period … and to have a fancy version of it available for libraries and readers is a dream come true.” — The Comics Reporter
“The Eternaut may just be the most interesting graphic novel of the season. … More than just a rollicking science fiction story, The Eternaut is a national saga for the fight for freedom from repressive government … And it’s gorgeous.” — Comics Beat
“The Eternaut is one of the pillars of South American comics.” — Comic Book Resources
“I’m absolutely enamored that Fantagraphics was able to finally get this graphic novel published in English. Two of the most radical creators in Buenos Aires have a breadth of inspirational and beautiful work that has long been unrecognized to the modern audience. This is some of my favorite kind of science fiction — political allegory and teeming realism coupled with the absurd, limitless boundaries of space, time, and science.” — Comicosity