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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 34 | volume VI | September-October, 2003



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 34September-October, 2003
Essays

World without Corto

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p. 1
Igor Štiks

    When Corto was ten, he lived in Cordoba with his mother, a Spanish Gipsy, the renounced Nina de Gibraltar, and with his father, a British soldier. One afternoon, his mother’s friend Amalia wished to read the child’s destiny from his palm. She was horrified when she saw that Corto did not have the fortune line at all. Wanting to compensate for this serious shortcoming of nature, and respond to this, probably first provocation of destiny in his case, the boy immediately reached for his father’s shaving blade and carved a long and deep fortune line, which would stay on his palm from that moment on. That was how, they say, life’s ups and downs of the famous soldier with an earring on his left ear, an adventurer and anarchist started; according to some, he was an incurable melancholic and romantic, and according to others, he was nothing but a plain smuggler and pirate.
    The opening night of Pascal Morelli’s animated film in Paris last spring reminded me of this magnificent character and his creator, Hugo Pratt, but also of an unpleasant fact. Getting out of the cinema, after I had been watching the Maltese on the screen for more than an hour, it occurred to me that I was in fact stepping into the world without Corto. I was upset by this thought, and I tried to find some explanation, getting into a parallel biographic slalom. I decided to compare Corto and Pratt, led by the factual matches and the oppositions between the life of the artist and his creation. As a matter of fact, didn’t Pratt himself often wanted to put the sign of equality or at least the sign of similarity between himself and Corto, and then he usually referred to Pesoa and the claim that man is what he dreams he is. Another poet seems to pay an important role here. Of course, it is Rimbaud, whose verses can be seen in the Ethiopian adventures of Corto Maltese. I is someone else, the axiom of this young French weapons smuggler is some mystic way interfered in the creation of the myth of Corto Maltese. In the end, as much as Pratt used his own life vortex when creating his most famous character, it seems that the story of Corto had a flashback effect on the history of Pratt’s life as well, at least the one he offered to






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