Astronauta – Magnetar (2012) is a comic strip character adapted to the graphic novel format, written and illustrated by Danilo Beyruth. It is the debut of Graphic MSP, a comics series dedicated to publishing graphic novels starring some of Mauricio de Sousa Produções (MSP)’s most famous characters. A “Brazilian Disney” for some interpreters, Mauricio de Sousa is undoubtedly the most successful Brazilian comics artist since the mid 1960s. Monica’s Gang, his most famous creation, has been published in comic strips and comic book format but, like other of his characters, is also spreading in advertising, animation, and merchandising in general; and more recently, a new comic book incorporated manga’s aesthetics into a Monica’s Gang concept.
Astronauta-Magnetar can be situated as part of MSP’s interest not to attach his characters strictly into the comic books field, proving his creations can work in dialogue with the recent growing interest in graphic novel form between markets and readers. Astronauta-Magnetar was based on Bubbly, a secondary character in Sousa’s cast. The alleged reason is that Bubbly represents a facet of the creator’s alter-ego: his travels through unknown universes, melancholically contrasted with how he misses his family and girlfriend, were an opportunity for him to express Sousa’s personal points of view about such thematic topics as technology and loneliness. It could also be argued that to confront Bubbly’s canon with the new format would not be so shocking to fans, since it deals with more adult science-fiction themes and does not feature Bubbly as a main character, elements that could provide Sousa with some creative freedom.
Astronauta – Magnetar focuses on a Brazilian astronaut shipwrecked in space after making a mistake during a research about Magnetar, a neutron star with a powerful magnetic field in its interior. The complete isolation that follows brings hallucinations and, in order to keep from turn mad in space, Bubbly needs to discover a way out of Magnetar’s influence. The memories of his grandfather, an old man who conveys great wisdom with simplicity, and Rita, the love of his life, give Bubbly the courage to solve the technological problems with his ship and fight for his survival. Astronauta-Magnetar proved to be a successful graphic novel and helped sustain Graphic MSP with new titles. It also helped to solidify Sousa’s universe as a Brazilian comics canon and reinforce it as an important part of the country’s culture.
— Ivan Lima Gomes
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