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Hard to Find Classic!,
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This review is from: Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea (Paperback)
Originally in French, translated into English in "comic book" format, this is a welcome reprint. The black-and-white drawings have been colored, which, I think, is a bit of a shame. But the coloring is subtle, using "tints" instead of harsh colors, so the intrusion is minimal. Actually, I'm starting to get to like it...
This is Corto Maltese's "origin story," and it is a bit rough. Hugo Pratt grows, through his career, as a writer and as an artist. This is his "masterpiece," the work that establishes his mastery. But...he gets better. The character of Corto Maltese, here, is a bit rough, a bit nasty. It isn't any particular surprise that we first see him lashed to a raft and left to die by his mutinous crew! In this book, he's more than half a villain, although the very beginnings of a coarse kind of nobility are just beginning to show.
This is high adventure, set against the outset of WWI. Most of the characters follow a rude code of chivalry...and it is instructive to note that the protagonist...doesn't!