l’ultimo volo (1994)

Texts and drawings by Hugo Pratt

(collaboration on artwork of planes by Guido Fuga)

This single story comprising 60 pages appeared in 4 episodes in the French magazine “A Suivre” from issue 200
 (September, 1994), editions Casterman.

This is a surreal and fantastic tribute by Pratt to the memory of the author of The Little Prince. It is July 31, 1944 when Saint-Exupéry leaves on a war mission in the skies of the Mediterranean, which will turn out to be his last. On board his French Lightning P 38 F5 B No. 233 he sees (or seems to see) the Little Prince talking to him from a cloud. A double story thus begins, one that follows his last flight as he is pursued by German fighters and the other in which he relives the most important moments of his life. Distant memories come back to him of when he was flying for the Argentine Compagnie Aéreopostale (he sees his old friend Mermoz again), elegant dances in Buenos Aires (where he meets the beautiful Consuelo Gomez Carillo, his future wife), and the terrible experience he went through with his mechanic Prévot after their plane had crashed to the ground in the Libyan desert during the record attempt on the Paris-Saigon route (when by miracle they were saved by an Arab after days of marching across the desert). Then Saint-Exupéry himself enters his own dream, walking on clouds that seem to be made of cot- ton-wool until he reaches a phone booth from which he calls his literary friends Leon Werth and André Gide and his wife Consuelo, for a final farewell. Meanwhile, the German fighter draws closer and closer to Saint-Exupéry’s plane... and the only trace that will remain is the legend of that last flight.