Forget Wolverine, The Incredible Hulk or even Captain America. Turns out one of the coolest comic book characters ever is actually Maltese.
Corto Maltese, a cult graphic novel created by Hugo Pratt, is highly admired all over the world as being one of the most artistically creative comic books ever written.
This graphic novel was translated into numerous languages and made into a good number of animated movies too.
Corto is a proper Belti — his mother was a French gypsy fortune teller and his father a British sailor. He’s a man of few words and a captain who travels the world helping the oppressed all the while being cool AF.
He was supposedly born here on our island in 1887 and spent his early years in Valletta, where he studied at the Jewish school in our capital until he was about 17 years old. That’s when his family relocated to Cordova.
One day, his mother tried to read his palms, and to her horror she noticed that he did not have a fate line, so Corto (being a total Corto), took his father’s razor and cut his own fate line — from that day on he became the maker of his own destiny.
This laid back 20th century legend is an ironic traveler and a sexy sailor who manages to merge the suave Mediterranean looks with British and European cultures. He’s a modern-day anti-hero and a swashbuckling explorer who would exchange wealth for freedom any day.
Corto seems to have literally been friends with everyone both from his universe and ours — he was buddies with Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Stalin, Hermann Hesse, Tamara de Lempicka, James Joyce and even Merlin.
He travelled all over the world and has been everywhere from Aden to Tien’Tsin in China.
Corto eventually vanished in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, but his legend lives on to this day.
He got a shoutout in Dark Knight #3 – Hunt the Dark Knight. This Batman comic paid homage to Corto by creating an island in the DC universe called Corto Maltese, a South American island. The island has been mentioned sporadically throughout other DC Comics ever since.
Both Superman and Batman have visited the island either to fight missile cataclysms or Soviet presences, and it has made regular appearances on newspapers and magazines throughout the DC universe.