In October 1983 Hugo Pratt, artist, cartoonist, watercolorist and writer created CONG SA.
Pratt loved to have fun with serious things, even with the name of his company! As he pondered the name of a company that could manage all of his works, he recalled the bombastic names of American companies like King Features Syndicate, founded by William Randolph Hearst in 1941. From World War II onwards, King Features dominated the comics market and brought Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake to Europe, among many others. Thus, Pratt invented the Comics Organization News Gold, a name which reflected the various facets of the Pratt works – the comics themselves, the organization that had sprung up around them, news and gold, indicating treasures to search for, or perhaps connoting the “Gold Vanity“, the Corto Maltese ketch.
In 1987, on April 24th, Pratt signed over the property and use of the rights for all of his works, past and future to CONG SA. Pratt wanted Cong, his own “syndicate”, to manage everything to do with his creations, and that is why he gave total control of his works to Cong.
Pratt passed away on August 20th 1995, but the core mission of the company he founded remains the same. Cong SA is dedicated to promoting the “Corto Maltese” brand, increasing the public’s familiarity with the high artistic value of the complete Hugo Pratt oeuvre, and finally to reaffirming the significance that Corto Maltese himself has always represented for a large group of fans, travellers, writers, photographers, artists or “mere” dreamers.
The Cong offices are situated in Grandvaux, a little village surrounded by the grapevines overlooking Lake Geneva, in Switzerland, just down the hill from the last residence of Hugo Pratt. Not far from our headquarters in Grandvaux, there stands a statue of Corto Maltese, created by one of the great friends of Pratt, Livio Benedetti. Corto’s cape is flowing in the wind, and as always, he is gazing beyond the present time, the present place.
He seems to be smiling at the passage of time, the timeless antihero of real adventure.
The Cong company is currently very active in the management and promotion of the entire art estate of Hugo Pratt, in addition to his most famous character. Books that have been out of print have been reprinted in recent years, such as Fanfulla, Captain Cormorant, and Billy James. Cong has recently published works that were previously unpublished, such as Sandakan, or previously self-published, such as Tuttifumetti (all-of-the-comics), a catalogue of the complete Pratt’s works. Most recently, Cong has edited The Long Range Desert Group series with new coloring.
Cong SA rights management covers publishing, merchandising, media and exhibits of the Pratt works.
Corto Maltese is an international copyright. The name and signature of Hugo Pratt is Trademark. ©CONG SA legally covers the works of Pratt and everything derived from it.