13 March 2015

The scorpions of the desert – eBook

The complete series of  The scorpions of the desert by Hugo Pratt to be published in English for the first time.

Cong eEditions is a new imprint edited by Cong SA, Hugo Pratt Art Properties, the company that manages the entire Hugo Pratt oeuvres. A series of 5 books will be released exclusively as eBooks.



For many, Hugo Pratt is considered an author who equals the narrative power of novelists such as Dumas, Conrad, or Jack London. This is not a rash claim – considering the quality and power of the great number of tales he has written and drawn. Corto Maltese is his most famous character but he created many other graphic novels and series like The Scorpions of the Desert, Wheeling, Sgt Kirk, Ernie Pike, andJesuit Joe just to mention a few.
In the coming December the series of Corto Maltese will be release by Euro Comics (IDW Publisher) in the USA.

Pratt’s own life reminds one of a character straight out of an adventure novel.
The saga entitled The Scorpions of the Desert was not a casual choice. Pratt had actually lived in Abyssinia at a time that turned out to be pivotal for the country as well as for Pratt’s own development. In 1940, his father enlisted the 13-year-old Hugo in the Italian colonial militia in Addis Ababa. His battalion was composed of high school and college-age students. Regular troops had still not arrived to secure the area, and so these young men were tasked with the protection of civilians against attacks by desert bandits. At that time, Hugo was the youngest soldier in the Italian army and a sort of mascot for his battalion.

Hugo Pratt with his father, 1941

Hugo Pratt with his father, 1941

In this supposedly ephemeral role, Pratt experienced a real war. In the episodes of the Scorpions we can discern the palpable memory of the young tagalong. Even if he was just a “mascot,” he experienced the severe conditions that confronted these men at the epicenter of a larger global conflict, whether they were equipped for it or not.
The Scorpions tales, created by Pratt between 1969 and 1992, concern a little known bit of history. It is the history of Northern Africa from 1940 to 1941, a period in which the famed “Afrikakorps” had not yet appeared in the desert theater, while in the Mediterranean the French were temporarily out of commission. The English and the Italians were to confront each other directly.


Translation by Fiore Sireci and color by Patrizia Zanotti.
First Book released on February 2015 on iTunes.
52 pages, ISBN 978-2-940552-00-9, $ 7.99


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