If there is an epic character in the world of comics, that is Corto Maltese (Corto Maltese). Born by the hand and imagination Hugo Pratt. The first successful appearance of this legendary hero happens 1967 with the comic title “The Ballad of the Salt Sea”, Short makes a legend and a cultural reference Pratt worldwide. From here the adventures of this marine succeed, but his first story becomes a reference that is continually reissued. Sometimes to color an adventure that comes in black and white, other, last, to give prominence to the issue by adding introductory pages written by Umberto Eco himself.
But Hugo Pratt, we abandoned 1995, left a written novel published posthumously, in which like his countryman Gepetto, breathes life and this biography of Ulysses south seas. He builds a plausible and possible life you can not take another title that repeated “The Ballad of the Salt Sea”, published in Castilian Year 1996 por Muchnik Editores.
Hugo Pratt decides who is and where does this ocean adventurer touched by a line of fortune made by himself. For parents choose an English sailor and an Andalusian gypsy. His birthplace is the island of Malta and will name the character, but Hugo Pratt, decides that Corto Maltese pass his childhood in the streets of the Jewish Quarter and the los Naranjos courtyard, and your house is on Flower Street. Some say that one's birthplace where he spent his early years, prints as they are marked in our personality to the end. But in addition to this is doubly true Short, for it is in the Patio de los Naranjos where an episode that will happen but mark your. A gypsy who reads palms, he discovers that no line of fortune. It will not be day without Corto Maltese is the draw with a razor from his father.
THE BALLAD OF SEA SALT
The story begins when a Cornish sailor arrives in Gibraltar and meets a beautiful gypsy of Seville. He continues in the cove of Valletta. A house arcaded courtyard and iron gratings, entre St.John Street y Kingsway, witnessed the birth of their son morning 10 July 1887. Father, is said to have disappeared off the Chilean coast of Iquique, he found up in Adelaide after a cloudy brawl, or even who was killed in the Pearl River. Mother, however, took place in the Jewish quarter to raising small. His first game against the Guadalquivir and was taught by Rabbi Ezra Toledano. One day, next to the Mosque, a friend of her mother headed boy, at that time almost a teen, toppings luck. Imagine his surprise to find that line lacked fortune. No doubt, the boy ran to his house for the razor away from his father. And she drew a line on the palm of his right hand. Shortly after, Toledano took him to a Jewish school in Valletta. Corto Maltese-as he was known- five years later it appeared, in 1904, in the Russo-Japanese conflict in Manchuria, accompanied by a young journalist Jack London; to 26 years was rescued in the Pacific after being tied to a plank and thrown into the sea by a mutinous crew. Since then and during the first quarter of this century, erred by more ports than any other adventurer.
I put here a few excerpts from the book, in the scenario is the city of Córdoba.
“It was hot; a limpid, vibrant sun was viciously over palm trees, the garden of orange trees and the stones of the wall that surrounded. The Orangery occupied the entire south side of the Mosque of Cordoba and, outwardly, plants continued the thick forest of columns of the temple. While the high wall helped to reinforce the isolation, a sky made him a perfect blue dome.
The air was perfectly still, but charged with electricity, as if it had a touch of gloss colors fanned, or rubbing fingers had released their aromas. Corto Maltese entered the garden after crossing the cathedral and walked slowly succession of red and white Moorish arches, until stopped to watch the crocodiles dissected bodies hanging like trophies. It was a ten year old boy.
Briskly to the source is directed; was heated, had run a long way and was drinking greedily. Collected water after forming a bowl with hands and licked tanned face. Just then he rang a distant melody. First the chords of a guitar is heard; sounds were very slow, isolated, peppered with pauses, that were embedded precisely in the still air. After, from the hot glare, it came like a mirage the bereaved voice, Melancholic, loss in time and distance.
Short was impressed; by wet hand over his hair and threw him back, then walked away from the source. He raised his chin slightly and stopped; trying to not hear the sound of water and the cicadas, squinted and concentrated all his attention on that melody to guess where it came from. He came from the streets of the Jewish quarter and from there went following the sound like a perfume, a call, a guide.
Echo to walk slowly, sandals dragging through the deserted alleys and courtyards filled with colorful flowers. Did not see a soul such as A hot afternoon, only occasional cat lazily away insinuating between the flower pots.
The tune began to guide more decisively, was becoming sharper and bereaved, began to distinguish words and, then, Short was arrested and found in front of a patio, on the streets of Los Flores. The pots of geraniums completely carpeted walls that hidden courtyard; I had pots of all shapes and sizes, but all, without distinction, containing the most lush and varied geraniums could imagine: a beautiful show that is clearly outlined against the white washed walls and the pure blue patch of sky.
In the center of the courtyard itself, illuminated by a beam of sunlight blinding triangular, had a wicker rocking chair that creaked and rocked slowly to a very old man, wrinkled face and very thick glasses with dark lenses. …”
The episode of the line of fortune:
"Corto Maltese took the leather case and opened, inside was lined velvet, a nice blue velvet; contained seven razors. Below each knife was embroidered the name of a day of the week. They were beautiful and each one different from the previous; Monday was the reddish cherry, Tuesday was the root of walnut inlay, Wednesday the white bone and polished. The knife had a lovely Thursday shell handle, Friday was the bright steel. Were the most sumptuous, clearly, the Saturday and Sunday: both were silver, but while the former was completely smooth, in the second, magnificently carved, a scene of fox hunting was seen, where a large group of horses galloping followed the pack of dogs.
As Saturday was, Short took the silver knife smooth, polished to wipe the tarnish left by the time after opening and found the edge: it was perfect. The right hand grasped. The blade flashed. He opened his left hand and, without hesitation she drew in a long deep groove and. He lacked the forces, is his vision blurred and lost consciousness "
(Corto Maltese. The Ballad of the Salt Sea, Hugo Pratt, Barcelona, Muchnik Editores, 1996)