Mu (1988)

Texts and drawings by Hugo Pratt
(collaboration on artwork of the ship and jungle temples by Guido Fuga)

This single story in 2 parts comprises 168 comic pages
and appeared in the magazine “Corto Maltese”,
 edizioni Rizzoli.

The first part from issue 63 in December 1988, the second part from issue 88 in January 1991.

Between 1924 and 1925 Corto Maltese is involved in the search for the legendary Atlantis. Before getting there he meets Tracy Eberhard, an intrepid aviator whose sea- plane crashes in the jungle. The figure of Tracy is based on the real-life Amelia Earhart (whom Tracy says she knows), who was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo (1932) and mysteriously disappeared in the Pacific in 1937. Having passed the tests of the harmonic labyrinth, Corto finally reaches Mu, which is located under the ground of Quetzal Island (a clear reference to the Mayan people), right at the base of an extinct volcano. This kingdom is reigned over by the beautiful queen Anti, surrounded by her female warriors. Pratt chose her as a fairy-tale representative of magic and fantasy, who could evoke the wildest dreams ever for daydreamers. There is a kind of premonition that hovers over the entire story, almost as if fate had decided in advance that this would be Corto Maltese’s last adventure. This can be perceived from the fact that Corto’s arrival at the lost continent of Mu, the mythical Atlantis, appears almost as a loop that naturally returns to the first theme that Pratt had explored many years before in the initial episode of the Corto Maltese series: Atlantis and its myths. Thus, the circle closes. This feeling is highlighted by the return of all the characters that appeared throughout the long-running saga, almost like actors coming to the front of the stage to take their bow. Some of the characters make a brief cameo appearance though many have longer appearances, and none are missing for the final goodbyes. Bocca Dorata, Morgana, Tristan Bantam, Levi Colombia, Professor Steiner, “the Monk” (the monk, even if he turns out not to be THE Monk), Cain Groovesnore, Soledad, as well of course as Rasputin and Corto Maltese. As always, this last adventure of the errant sailor contains not only Pratt’s own travel experiences (Easter Island in this case) but his readings or interpretations of Plato, certain texts of the Old Testament and the many documents that discuss the Mayan codices, right up to Churchward and other authors, that are all combined in his research into the myth of Mu, the lost continent.