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“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.

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