We’ve been spending an INORDINATE amount of time over at the TCJ.com board this week, but it must have been because we were subconsciously waiting for the news we have been anxiously awaiting each and every day as we perambulated on the widow’s walk here at Stately Beat Manor. It seems that CORTO MALTESE is coming back in English. The evidence? A bare listing from Previews.
BALLAD OF THE SEA GN
Featuring the adventures of Cortoso Maltese.
SC, 164pgs, B&W SRP: $14.95
Created by the great Hugo Pratt, there is nothing so magical, nothing so languid, nothing so elegant, wistful, romantic and perilous as CORTO MALTESE, the story of a wandering sailor who fights pirates and smugglers and soldiers and meets beautiful women and lingers on the beaches of remote tropical islands in the early years of the last century. there have been previous,badly translated English editions, but they are long out of print.
If we could only get to our bookshelf past the piles of yaoi that have been flooding into the house lately, we could reach our old Casterman editions of a few Corto volumes. The copies of NBM’s rather disappointing pamphlet reprints are buried somewhere else, and a reprint from Tony Raiola is yet in a third spot. Why are these not closer to the front of the bookshelf? In some ways, it is not even necessary; Corto is always near—in our heart, he’s always with us.
Rest assured, there has been a little Corto Maltese cabal in comics, planning some way to bring him back, and shove aside all the pretenders, gawkers and loudmouths, to make way for the REAL comics. But now comes word that Heavy Metal has acquired the rights?
Based on the fanfare with which this announcement was made — you’d think a reprint of one of the ten greatest comics of all times might warrant a press release — we somehow can’t muster much enthusiasm that this release will be more wildly successful than the previous attempts to introduce Pratt to an American audience. (Walk into the pop culture stores of France, and Corto Maltese is everywhere — we’ve netted glasses. a watch, socks and more.) We’re just not smart enough, we guess.
In some ways, this is okay. Corto Maltese is still right where he belongs, at SBM, anyway, and he’ll remain there until our dying breath.