Celebrate this milestone in the history of graphic novels, winner of the world’s first-ever “Best Graphic Novel” award, taking the prize in 1976 at the Angoulême Fesitval.
Originally serialized beginning in 1967, this book is universally acknowledged as Hugo Pratt’s masterpiece, in which he introduces Corto Maltese to the world. Corto is but one of a strong ensemble cast of characters whose lives permeate the entire 12-book series. It is here that we also meet the young and beautiful Pandora, her brother Cain, the mysterious criminal mastermind Monk, the grim and ferocious Rasputin, Lieutenant Slutter of the German Navy, and the natives Skull and Tarao. The Ballad of the Salty Sea is also hailed as the first example of the literary comic strip. Pratt was inspired by Conrad, Stevenson, and London, but even more directly by Henry de Vere Stacpool’s Blue Lagoon, from which the author got the idea of a small island in the Pacific which he named “Escondida.”
The action begins in November 1913 in the South Seas as feelings of the Great War were already looming but the romantic ideals of the nineteenth century were still alive. The pace of the narrative and the drawings are very modern and Pratt permeates the adventure with an extraordinary atmosphere of the great outdoors. The story captures the imagination of the reader from the opening pages with a tight, compelling storyline that can be interpreted on different levels.
This EuroComics edition features new translations from Pratt’s original Italian scripts by Dean Mullaney, the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning editor of the Library of American Comics, and Simone Castaldi, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Hofstra, and the author of Drawn and Dangerous: Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s (University Press of Mississippi).