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Sunday, January 16, 2011


During the height of the Spy Craze in the 60's around the world ignited by the monstrous success of the James Bond movies and franchise a new genre of movies surfaced build around the concept of the secret agent. Very quick in all segments of the media like television, books,... the secret agent appeared to save the world. The secret agent was not only restricted to the male agent but also the sexy female secret agents started to mingle in the deadly game to save the world. Best known from the 60's are "Honey West" played by Anne Francis, "Fathom Harvill" played by Raquel Welch or "Irma Eckman" played by Elke Summer.
Everybody tried to cash in on this money making machine so comics could not stay behind and soon the James Bond novels written by Ian Fleming were adapted into comics for news papers. Even in this medium, the secret agent concept wrecked havoc and was a run of the mill success. All over the world, secret agent comics were popping up. South America was no execption.

And where something in pop culture is a success, making fun of it soon follows so in 1968 a comic magazine in the style of the American magazine "Mad" under the name of "El Pingüino" based in Chili wanted a spoof comic making fun of the sexy female secret agent. Hence secret agent SATANKA. was born.

Satanka. is the sexy top secret agent working for an organisation called "C.I.D.R.A". In her quest to save the world from the evil organisation "SRONIA" she is helped by two other female agents known as "Rock" and "Roll".

Satanka. is the brain child of the Argentinian creator Hector German Oesterheld with the help of fellow Argentinian artist Angel "Lito" Fernandez. Herctor German Oesterheld or also known as "HGO" was one of Argentina's top comic book script writers. He was member of the Venice group who's members were also Mario Faustinelli, creator of "Kolosso", Hugo Pratt, creator of "Corto Maltesse" or Dino Battaglia, creator of "Ispettore Coke".

The sexy secret agent Satanka. was quite a succes in South America. So one day a journalist asked the creator Hector German Oesterheld where his inspiration came from to create his heroine. HGO answered that his femme fatale was modeled after the Austrian actress Marisa Mell. He told that Marisa Mell embodied physically everything that a secret agent should have and be to save the world. So Marisa Mell became Satanka. in the comics of the comic magazine "Pengüino". And this is not strange. Not many people in Europe and even the rest of world know that Marisa Mell in the 60's was a big star in South America. Her movies like "Danger: Diabolik!" or "Le Dolci Signori" were big hits in countries like Argentina and Chili. Her face and name were house hold. Like in Spain at that moment in time, she appeared almost every week on the cover of a magazine or in articles in the yellow press. Probably the 1965 movie "Masquerade" made quite an impression on HGO because in this movie Marisa Mell was the template for Satanka. as seen on the photo above.

And here this entry should have ended! Unfortunately it does not! Next to his profession as a comic book scripter, Hector German Oesterheld was also a critical journalist in Argentina situated on the left hand side of politics. In that capacity he wrote among others one of the best biographies of "Ernesto 'Che' Guevarra" also in 1968, the year that he created Satanka. or one of the most critical biographies of Evita Perron in 1970 making an end to the pop cultural idolization of her life. During the 70's, it is believed that HGO and his four adult daughters joined the leftish political organisation "Montoneros".

In 1976 Oesterheld disappeared to be never seen again. A year later his daughters, Diana (21), Beatriz (19), Estela (25) and Marina (18), were arrested by the Argentine armed forces in La Plata, and were also never seen again. Next his daughters' husbands were also among those that vanished. The dictorship in Argentina removed each and everyone against them. Only a grandson, Martín, born in captivity and recovered from the government by Oesterheld's widow, Elsa Sánchez, was rescued and raised by her. A second grandson, Fernando, born earlier, was raised by his paternal grandparents. When a journalist asked a member of the dictatorship what had happened to Oesterheld he aswered: "We did away with him because he wrote such a great biography of Che Guevara!" (Sigh!). Nobody knows what happened to Oesterheld, how he was tortured and ultimately died a cruel death around 1977-1978 but several other journalists in prison at the same time claim to have seen him alive in january of 1978. After that date all traces dispear in the mists of time! Sadly this is one story of many many many stories in Argentina. In our memories Hector German Oesterheld will always be remembered as a great artist and journalist. And that is something that no political regime can take away how hard and bloody they try to do. R.I.P.

UPDATE - March 8th 2011
In this entry about the comic heroine "Satanka." I mentioned that: "He (HGO) was member of the Venice group who's members were also Mario Faustinelli, creator of "Kolosso", Hugo Pratt, creator of "Corto Maltesse" or Dino Battaglia, creator of "Ispettore Coke"."

I got a nice mail from an Argentinian journalist, comic expert on everything Argentinian comics and artist Carlos R. Martinez telling me that: "Osterheld was not a member of the Venice group. He worked with Hugo Pratt when this artist came to Argentina in 1950." Thanks Carlos for this clarification and info.

Carlos has a great own blog called

"Top-Comics: Blog sobre la historieta argentina y mundial creado por Luis Rosales (1944-2009)"

You can visit his blog at :

Highly recommended.

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