Comics from far away lands: Corto Maltese

Comics from far away lands: Corto Maltese

Comics from far away lands: Corto Maltese

Corto Maltese: one of the best sailor stories ever told. The influence of this comic written by Hugo Pratt has reached farther than you imagine.

Welcome to the first featured comic in comics from far away lands!
So..for starters, what is this and what is the point? I have been traveling and living in many places from my childhood. I am very fond of not only American comics, but comics from all over the world as well.
I will try to introduce some of this famous comics from far away lands to the American readers visiting the page. I also want to demonstrate that just the way American comics influence other countries; other countries also influence American comics.

To begin, Corto Maltese was written by legendary Italian author, Hugo Pratt.


Hugo Pratt was born in Rimini,Italy in 1927. Hugo Pratt would go on to write many famous stories and win several awards as well as being inducted into the comic book hall of fame. Despite being an Italian, Hugo Pratt’s characters are not always Italian. Two of his most famous works are El Sargento Kirk(Sargent Kirk) and Fort Wheeling. El Sargento Kirk takes place during the American Civil War while Fort Wheeling takes place during the British colonial period in North America. In fact, Corto Maltese is not even Italian himself! He is of British and Spanish-Gypsy heritage and he was born in the small nation of Malta. Hugo Pratt would travel to several parts of the world where he would slowly gain perspective and ideas for his masterpiece known as Corto Maltese.
Corto Maltese is a sea captain that travels the world in the 1900’s. Corto’s adventures take him to lands very far away from home and he becomes involved in many historical events of the time period. For example, Corto Maltese is present during the Great War or World War 1. Compiling a full time line of the travels of Corto Maltese is rather difficult due to some stories not having excact dates. This leads the reader to make a time line of the events in t heir head due to the chronology of the historical events. However, some of the last adventures of Corto Maltese take place in Italy and Spain during the rise of fascism before World War 2. Many speculate that Corto Maltese was possibly killed by the fascist government of Spain. However, the more positive fans believe that he traveled down to South America. Corto Maltese traveled to South America in the past and some believed that it was his favorite place.


It is believed that since Hugo Pratt lived in the Italian colonies during the time of the Italian fascist empire, he witnessed the oppression of individuals. Corto Maltese is a character that always fights for the free and oppressed in a way very different than American heroes do. In American comics the villain of the story is usually a mad man or a being from another galaxy. However, in Corto Maltese, the enemy tends to be very real. Corto Maltese fought against oppressive government, colonial governments and ruthless military generals. Along his travels Corto even runs into some famous historical figures such as Butch Cassidy and Ernest Hemingway. However, not all of Maltese’s adventures are historical. Some of his adventures take place in his dreams and have more occult themes based on European legends.

As a character, Corto Maltese has a lot of ideological depth. Corto Maltese travels and questions the purpose of territorial boundaries, traditions and sometimes even religion. Corto Maltese has had a very successful publishing career in Europe and South America. Several animated films have been made in the past as well as some TV shows. Many American comic book writers have claimed to be fans of Hugo Pratt and his work. In fact, Frank Miller decided to name a small South American nation after Corto Maltese. This island first appeared in the Dark Knight Returns and has been mentioned several times in the past including a mention in Smallville.
Now, if you have read this far and you are interested, you might be wondering..Where do I get this stuff?
Unfortunately, a lot of Corto Maltese has never been translated to English due to limited interest from the American audience. Corto Maltese tends to shine more in countries of Romance-heritage such as Italy, Spain, France and parts of South America. However, websites such as amazon.com carry some translations of the most famous Corto Maltese stories at reasonable prices.


With that, the first editorial of Comics from far Away Lands wraps it up. Have any comments? I am willing to take requests but will only fulfill them if I have a decent amount of knowledge regarding the comic book. Also, I have attached a sample of one of the Corto Maltese films courtesy of Youtube. Enjoy!
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