A limited edition of only 500 copies on Corto Maltese’s debut in the pages of Sgt. Kirk, the magazine published by Editore Ivaldi.
Richly illustrated with Pratt’s watercolours, it includes photos and curiosities from his youth and narrates the meeting between Florenzo Ivaldi from Genoa and Hugo Pratt from Venice.
Texts in Italian, English and Spanish. Introduction by Claudio Dell’Orso.
- Lo Scarabeo, October 2020
- ISBN 978-8865276853
- 30×41 cm, 80 pages, hardcover
- Order online: Amazon
As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc.), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.
I was hunting around the Lo Scarabeo website for AE format books and came across this title. It was intriguing enough for me to order a copy, as it is one of their deluxe oversized volumes. I had no expectations and was surprised by the contents.
What we get with The Birth of Corto Maltese: Hugo Pratt and Sgt. Kirk Magazine is two distinct parts. The first part is the very early career of Hugo Pratt, told in three languages, generously illustrated with drawings and photos. It’s told in three parts by Paola Ivaldi, Claudio Dell’Orso, and Ferruccio Giromini. The second part is original art and printed cover to Sgt. Kirk Magazine. The art in the first part has margin notes in all three languages indicating title, size, medium, and year, but the second part only has that information in Italian.
All the scans are clean and well presented: it’s an excellent presentation with no issues. Most of the art is done in water colours, with some pencil and ink. We’re treated to quite a few character reference sheets, with varying amounts of notes. His sense of cover design shines with the Sgt. Kirk covers.
The design is split between the two parts. Working three columns of text onto a page takes a lot of space, with photos and art in straight horizontal rectangles. It’s balanced by the large amounts of empty page space opposite the covers in the second part.
Production is excellent: a sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock with a low gloss, perhaps 200 gsm. The book comes without shrink wrap or additional packaging. Most pages will lay flat after the center is firmly smoothed. While the publisher says it’s limited to 500 copies, the colophon says 580 numbered copies and 20 copies reserved for contributors. My copy shows 101 stamped on the page.
This is a book that doesn’t fit into one category. There is a wealth of Pratt original art that most North Americans haven’t seen.