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Corto Maltese was a South American nation. A small island off the coast of South America, it was the location of the Corto Maltese Revolution first seen in Dark Knight #3 - Hunt the Dark Knight. Corto Maltese was confirmed to exist in the mainstream DCU at the end of Time Masters #4, where there was a tossed-off reference in a newspaper headline: "More Arms to Corto Maltese." The Corto Maltese islands has been occasionally referenced in other DC Comics since. The islands are mentioned to be the location of one of a number of Lexcorp '33.1' project labs located throughout the world.
Dark Knight Universe continuityEdit
"Corto Maltese" first appears in Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns as the name of an island at the center of an incident not unlike the Cuban missile crisis. Corto Maltese was also the site of a rebel uprising in the second issue of the series. The tiny nation received the arrival of Soviet Destroyers of its coast. Superman was sent by the US Government to fight the Soviet presence there in secret, until the battle becomes too intense and The soviets unleash the Coldbringer missile, which weakened Superman considerably, as noted by Batman before their battle at Crime Alley.
Batman movie continuityEdit
Corto Maltese was referenced in the 1989 Warner Bros. feature film, Batman. Photojournalist Vicki Vale travelled to Corto Maltese to take photographs of its revolution's aftermath. Her photos were selected for an article in TIME magazine.
In the movie, Vicki Vale spent time in Corto Maltese, where she shot a series of gruesome photographs during the violent rebel uprising. When the Joker saw Vicki's pictures on the cover and throughout the magazine showing a desert war zone strewn with dead bodies, he remarked, "I don't know if it's art... but I like it".
Corto Maltese is the name of a comic book character, a sailor in the South Pacific and elsewhere, which was created by an Italian cartoonist named Hugo Pratt. There are several Corto Maltese comic books and movies, although there are few, if any, in English. It can be assumed that Miller's use of the name is a tribute to Pratt, since in Italy they were both published on the periodical "Corto Maltese". Reportedly, the character was chosen to be from Malta because he "had to be mediterranean, while also being somehow part of anglosaxon culture (...) because in alglosaxon narrative tradition there's more magic, more legend; (...) the only Mediterranean who could have these features was a Maltese" (Hugo Pratt in an interview to Nives Millin, 1973). The name came instead from the Spanish word "corto", which means sharp, cunning, and refers the character's attitude.
Several clips from or entire movies of Corto Maltese can be found on YouTube. The official Corto Maltese web site in English is at http://cortomaltese.com/
- Batman: The Dark Knight
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
- Legends of the Dark Knight #31 - Family