Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Planet goes public with disappointment over Corto Maltese

Oh, this is too bad. Corto Maltese is some great cartooning. I was planning on buying this new edition, even though I already have 2 versions of "Salt Sea."

From: Big Planet Comics Vienna
Open letter to Rizzoli Press complaining about their new edition of Corto Maltese
All of us at Big Planet Comics were pretty astounded by the low quality of the new Rizzoli edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea, a book we had all been looking forward to. This is the open letter we sent to Rizzoli, complaining about their edition.

Jared Smith
Peter Casazza
Greg Bennett
Joel Pollack
Big Planet Comics

Subject: Complaints about your edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea‏

To Whom It May Concern,

This is an open letter we are writing to express our extreme
displeasure with the terrible edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of
the Salt Sea you have just released. We are the co-owners of Big
Planet Comics, a group of comic book stores in the Washington, DC
area. Hugo Pratt is one of our favorite artists and we have read,
collected and sold numerous works by him, including earlier editions
of The Ballad of the Salt Sea.

The art has been scanned at a low resolution, leading to pixelization
that obscures or erases the smoothness of the fine and precise art of
Hugo Pratt. In some cases, it seems to have been printed at an even
worse quality, the most egregious example being the middle panel on
page 136, where the thin lines denoting the rays of light look like
they were drawn with a skittering giant marker.

The reformatting of the panels of each page so that only about
two-thirds of each original page is on each page of your edition
jumbles the intention of Hugo Pratt, so that the flow of story from
panel to panel is interrupted or changed, and the natural break point,
or pause, at the end of each original page is now mixed haphazardly
through your layout.

Most offensively, the original panels of Hugo Pratt's art have been
resized, cut, and cropped to fit this amateurish new layout scheme, in
some cases removing over a third of each panel, or splitting a panel
into two new panels. Some panels appear to have been zoomed in,
resulting in further loss of quality and removing more of Hugo Pratt's art.

These terrible mutilations of Hugo Pratt's art are insulting enough,
but there are numerous panels where someone has taken upon themselves
the hubris to fill out the gaping holes in the modified panels by
adding to the art itself.

Also, your description of the book on your webpage at incorrectly
claims this is the first time Ballad of the Salt Sea has been
available in English. In fact, it has been released in English at
least twice: once by The Harvill Press in 1996, and once by NBM
Publishing in 1997.

This book is the first encounter we have had with any division of your
publishing house. Your edition cannot claim in honesty to represent an
unadulterated replication of Hugo Pratt's work. Whoever approved such
a hatchet job on this classic piece of art should be ashamed of
themselves. We would appreciate an apology and explanation.

We, and many of the employees at our stores, were very excited to sell
Corto Maltese to our customers. We are disappointed we will not be
able to recommend that any customer buy your edition.


Jared Smith
Peter Casazza
Greg Bennett
Joel Pollack
Big Planet Comics
Washington, DC
Bethesda, Maryland
College Park, Maryland
Vienna, Virginia

1 comment:

Big Planet Comics said...

I’ve just finished an article on our website showing some examples of the problems we mentioned in our open letter.

Jared Smith