Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea

Overview

Treasure hunter, sailor, and adventurer, Corto Maltese remains one of the most popular characters from graphic literature in Europe and maintains a devoted cult following among American readers and creators. Originally published in 1967, Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea introduces our hero for the first time. The story begins with Corto Maltese adrift at sea in the Pacific during World War I. He is picked up by a Russian pirate/privateer named Rasputin. The graphic ...

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Overview

Treasure hunter, sailor, and adventurer, Corto Maltese remains one of the most popular characters from graphic literature in Europe and maintains a devoted cult following among American readers and creators. Originally published in 1967, Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea introduces our hero for the first time. The story begins with Corto Maltese adrift at sea in the Pacific during World War I. He is picked up by a Russian pirate/privateer named Rasputin. The graphic novel follows Corto and the adventure that ensues. 

Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea is sure to appeal to fans of swashbuckling action-packed tales and sophisticated readers seeking elegant stories alike. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this debut of a new English-language edition of the classic anti-hero Corto Maltese, we meet the protagonist as he is fished from the sea by Rasputin, the disreputable captain of an even worse crew than Corto’s. His fate is soon entangled with those of fellow castaways Cain and Pandora, two teenagers caught in the fray. Although Corto presents himself as a man only looking out for himself, the pair soon realizes the adventurer may be their best hope for survival. Pratt’s fast-paced South Sea adventure careens from encounter to encounter, with the daring Corto always just able to adapt to his changing circumstances, while Cain and Pandora do their best to keep up. Pratt supplies Corto with a colorful assortment of supporting characters, some helpful, many not, and a pragmatic but innovative nature. In European comics circles, Corto is a household name, and Pratt is a revered storyteller. Oddly, this edition, shrunken to a smaller size, doesn’t flatter Pratt’s art, which looks sketchy and often grotesque. That detail aside, this will give American comics reader an idea of what all the fuss is about. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Hugo Pratt’s swashbuckling baddie Corto Maltese is huge in Europe and largely unknown in the United States, which makes him something like the Nutella of comic book heroes." ~The New York Times

"The numerous stories about the “rogue with a heart of gold” have been described as both elegant and complex, and this reappearance offers a new translation." ~Library Journal

"And one of Europe’s most beloved characters gets a new American translation with Corto Maltese: Ballad of the Salt Sea, the elegiac and atmospheric story of a 1920s adventurer as drawn with peerless chiaroscuro by Italian artist Hugo Pratt." ~Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
A disreputable but likable sailor/adventurer, Corto Maltese travels the world of the early 20th century more or less as a mercenary who always ends up siding with the underdog. Pratt originally introduced Corto to European readers in 1967, as the sailor was set adrift at sea by his mutinous crew. He's picked up by wily smuggler-colleague Rasputin, who has just rescued a British and American teen couple from a shipwreck near the Solomon Islands. The complex plot involves Rasputin's efforts to smuggle coal to Germans preparing for the First World War, while greedily scheming to ransom the teens to the British. Corto is happy to back the smuggling project but wants to help the kids instead of treating them as pawns. Then Rasputin's mysterious and sinister boss, the Monk, confounds everyone's plans; the teens and the islander natives have their own schemes. Refreshingly, Pratt's female and non-Anglo characters are fully developed without stereotypes. The attractive art with excellent coloring resembles Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon. VERDICT Apparently, no collected edition has previously appeared in English. Described as a "Tintin for grown-ups," this series is strongly recommended for lovers of adventure yarns, older teen and up.—M.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789324986
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 254
  • Sales rank: 408,790
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugo Pratt (1927–1995) was a celebrated Italian comic book creator who is best known overseas for his popular comic book character Corto Maltese. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2005.
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