If you only know "Corto Maltese" as a war-torn island nation in various DC Comics properties, it's way past time to learn where that name came from. The original Corto Maltese isn't a nation, he's a man. Specifically, he's an enigmatic sea captain who has adventures around the world in a series of comics by the late Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt. The very epitome of EuroComics, the Corto Maltese stories were first published in Italian, but moved to French when Pratt himself moved to France.

Corto Maltese in Siberia is a landmark in the series, because it's the first epic novel-length adventure in what had previously been a series of short stories. IDW's Eurocomics imprint is publishing a new English-language trade paperback of the book in March. This five-page preview takes place before the adventure really gets going, but it gives you a sense of Corto Maltese and the unique international allies he collects, including a certain "mad monk" from Russia.

 

Hugo Pratt/IDW
Hugo Pratt/IDW
Hugo Pratt/IDW
Hugo Pratt/IDW
Hugo Pratt/IDW

 

Here's the official word from IDW:

With this book Hugo Pratt leaves behind the short story form he’d used for 21 interrelated tales and presents a truly epic graphic novel. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the First World War, Corto Maltese is engaged by the Red Lanterns—a Chinese secret society made up entirely of women—to find an armored train laden with gold that belonged to the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. They aren’t the only ones lusting after the treasure. The adventure, which shifts from the hidden courts of Venice to the mysterious alleys of Hong Kong, from Shanghai to Manchuria and Mongolia to Siberia, also attracts regular and irregular armies, as well as revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries.