Cover image for Fantomas versus the multinational vampires : an attainable utopia
Fantomas versus the multinational vampires : an attainable utopia
Cortázar, Julio.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Fantomas contra los vampiros multinacionales. English
Publication Information:
Los Angeles, California : Semiotext(e), [2014]

Cambridge, Mass. : Distributed by MIT Press.
Physical Description:
87 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Published as part of a series of publications for the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Originally published in Spanish: México : Excélsior, 1975.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Fantasy

On Order



The first translation of Julio Cortázar's genre-jumping meta-comic/novella, featuring Cortázar himself, Susan Sontag, and Octavio Paz in a race to prevent international bibliocide.

Octavio Paz: "If you love art, do something, Fantomas!"
Fantomas: "I will, you can depend on it."

First published in Spanish in 1975 and previously untranslated, Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires is Julio Cortázar's genre-jumping mash-up of his participation in the Second Russell Tribunal on human rights abuses in Latin America and his cameo appearance in issue number 201 of the Mexican comic book series Fantomas: The Elegant Menace . With his characteristic narrative inventiveness, Cortázar offers a quixotic meta-comic/novella that challenges not only the form of the novel but its political weight in contemporary cultural life.

Needing something to read on the train from Brussels (where he had attended the ineffectual tribunal meeting), our hero (Julio Cortázar) picks up the latest issue of the Fantomas comic. He grows increasingly absorbed by the comic book's tale of bibliocide (a sinister bibliophobic plot to obliterate every book from the archives of humanity), especially when he sees the character Fantomas embark upon a series of telephone conversations with literary figures, starting with "The Great Argentine Writer" himself, Julio Cortázar (and also including Octavio Paz and a tough-talking Susan Sontag). Soon, Cortázar begins to erase the thin line between real-life atrocities and fictional mayhem in an attempt to bring attention to the human rights violations taking place with impunity in the country from which he was exiled.

Author Notes

One of the most influential literary figures to emerge from Argentina in the twentieth century, Julio Cort#65533;zar is best remembered for his experimental 1963 counter-novel Hopscotch (Rayuela) and for his short story "Blow-up," on which the 1966 film by Michelangelo Antonioni was based. Cort#65533;zar was officially exiled by the Argentine junta in the 1970s and spent the rest of his life in France, where he died in 1984.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1975, after participating in the Second Russell Tribunal's investigation of human rights violations in Latin America, Cortazar (Hopscotch) sits in a train bound for his Paris home, ogling women and reading a Mexican comic book starring a white-masked superman named Fantomas. Little does Cortazar know, however, that he is part of this comic book story-someone has stolen and destroyed the world's books!-and that Fantomas is also part of reality. Soon, phone conversations and comic pages intertwine, and Cortazar finds himself working with other literary greats (Sontag, Paz, Moravia) to aid the masked hero. But the solution isn't as easy as Fantomas predicts, and Cortazar and company begin to suspect that the scoundrels behind the devastation are the very organizations condemned by the Russell Tribunal: multinational corporations and political regimes. Though fairly short, the volume is ceaselessly interesting, alternating between comic book pages (taken from an actual Fantomas comic story), drawings, photographs, and traditional text, and showcasing the late author's penchant for surrealism and experimentation. Simultaneously funny and damning-Cortazar makes sure to include the Russell Tribunal's full report as an appendix-the novella is a quick, engaging read, sure to please the author's many fans. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.