Writer/Artist: Hugo Pratt
Corto Maltese was Indiana Jones and Han Solo before Harrison Ford was even invented. He’s Lupin III and Spike Spiegel and yes, even Carmen Sandiego. The character and his title are true classics, capturing and even defining not just a style, but the entire tradition of “action books.”
So it’s hilariously perfect that he shows up late to his own book for the same reason Star Wars doesn’t start at the Cantina.
Instead, it begins with a hilarious ruse. We start with an eighteen-year-old Serbian deserter named Rasputin, a boy having faced such hardship that only the internationally renowned adventurer, scoundrel, and bon vivant Maltese can help—a man so famous, it takes real-world literary master Jack London to bring the two together.
This is a bit like saying that if you want Spider-Man’s help, you have to go through Hemingway first.
The Corto Maltese books feel somehow both dated and contemporary. The tropes they invented are still very much in use, and Pratt’s style can still be seen in Moebius, Paul Pope, and more manga than I can count. It’s also behind the creation of Benedict Cumberbatch. [Read more…] about The 10 Best European Comics!