Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rizzoli responds to Big Planet's Corto Maltese complaints

Unfortunately nothing in her explains the rasterizing of the artwork, even if Pratt did approve the layout changes.

Date: Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 6:17 PM
Subject: Fwd: Response to "Complaints about your edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea‏"

Jessica Fuller, editor of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea,
at Rizzoli, replied to our open letter and asked us to forward on the
following message.

She also pointed out that they have corrected their inaccurate sales
copy, that this is actually the first time that an English translation
from the original Italian has been published.

She hoped that we would post the information below so others might
also learn the back story without running the risk of perpetuating
mistaken or misconstrued assumptions about their efforts or their

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

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 2012/3/20
Subject: Response to "Complaints about your edition of Corto Maltese:
The Ballad of the Salt Sea‏"

Rizzoli and our Universe imprint have a history of republishing
classic works that have long been out of print. Occasionally these
books need to be updated or reworked, such as with our M. Sasek This
Is… series where facts need to be changed, but we as a publisher always
strive to remain true to the artist's original work.

Recently, Rizzoli was thrilled to retain the rights to republish Hugo
Pratt's Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea. To ready this new
edition, Rizzoli worked closely with Patrizia Zanotti, Pratt's
longtime colorist and collaborator from 1978 until his death in 1995.
Zanotti is now executor of the Hugo Pratt estate.

Our edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea contains only
changes that were made by Hugo Pratt himself or under the direction of
the Pratt estate.

Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea was originally printed in
the Italian comics magazine Sgt. Kirk, in 1967, and later in the
French magazine Pif gadget in the early 1970s. Hugo Pratt collected
the strips, had them colored, and published them in an oversized
volume in 1978. In 1985, the colors were revamped in collaboration
with Patrizia Zanotti.  In 1994, Hugo Pratt reworked the size of the
strip to three rows of panels per page.  This new, smaller, more
manageable graphic novel format was done to appeal to new Corto fans
in the Italian market.

Universe/Rizzoli took the changes that Pratt himself made in the 1994
edition and reprinted this reworked format. We made no changes to Hugo
Pratt's 1994 version.

There have been other English editions of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of
the Salt Sea, but the Pratt estate wanted a fresh translation from
Pratt's original Italian text. Harvill Press published an edition of
Ballad of the Salt Sea in the oversized format and in the original
black and white. The translation for that edition was made from a
French translation of the original Italian text. The NBM edition of
Ballad of the Salt Sea also contained a translation twice removed from
the original Italian.

We worked directly with Patrizia Zanotti and the Hugo Pratt estate on
this project. They were fully involved, and we had their support and
approval during every step of the process: from the much-improved
direct translation from the original Italian; to using art that came
from the Hugo Pratt estate via their European publisher; to reviewing
multiple rounds of color proofs.
Chris from the art/design collective Meathaus addresses his
involvement and contributions here:

We hope that this explains the process and choices behind this new
edition of Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea. If anything, we
are happy that there are Hugo Pratt fans still reading his work. We
hope to introduce his stories to an entirely new generation of readers
and, with our edition, hope they will enjoy Pratt's reworking of his
classic Corto story.


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