Comic Review: Corto Maltese: The Secret Rose (IDW)

From IDW and EuroComics comes the latest volume of translated Corto Maltese adventures; The Secret Rose. The Secret Rose is the first English translation of the original serialized black and […]

From IDW and EuroComics comes the latest volume of translated Corto Maltese adventures; The Secret Rose.

The Secret Rose is the first English translation of the original serialized black and white comic story from 1987. Dean Mullaney and Simone Castaldi’s translation reads fresh and clear, no doubt honouring the original Italian text. In fact, some of the dialogue breaks between panels appear a bit awkward at times, probably due to the translators staying faithful to the original flow. No worries, the script reads wonderfully. And what a script!

Corto Maltese accompanies his old friend Professor Steiner to visit his old friend writer Hermann Hesse (Creator Hugo Pratt had actually met Hesse himself in 1924) and finds himself immersed in magic, occult, religion, history, and mythology. A tall order, and sometimes with similarity to Yellow Submarine or Alice in Wonderland. Is Corto really in this fabled imaginary land, or as he himself suspects, merely dreaming?

The artwork, as always, is captivating. Hugo Pratt’s linework is superb, his characters memorable. He does not add a line or detail that is unnecessary; his decorative backgrounds serve a purpose. His figures are well shaped and in motion. His light and shadow are in beautifully realized harmony. Simply a master of story and art.

It’s complicated and complex, but all the better for it. The Secret Rose is a multilayered tale of epic imaginary proportions. But enough of the logical description of this Graphic Novel, just pick up a copy and let your imagination be taken on a magical journey.

IDW, EuroComics; Corto Maltese The Secret Rose Graphic Novel, $19.99 for 80 pages of content, not rated; Assume Teen +

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!