By Hugo Pratt

 

Hugo Pratt’s comic (or graphic novel, as well-read comic readers would have it) Les Ethiopiques, relates the adventures of Corto Maltese, an anarchic Anglo-Maltese sailor, in the Horn of Africa of the 1920s.

 

Hugo Pratt himself grew up in Addis Ababa, where his father served in the Italian colonial army in the 1930s.

 

A formative experience no doubt (Hugo Pratt claimed to still be able to speak Amharic many decades later), but one strangely absent on the page itself. For, while the stark imagery conveys the eastern Ethiopian lowlands own starkness, the comic book leaves much outside of the margins—in particular, this reader will always regret that the illustrator’s own life did not come to the fore in this story