'Battle Stations' Rediscovers Lost Hugo Pratt Art After More Than 50 Years (Exclusive)

Battle Stations Hugo Pratt - Publicity - H 2019
Hugo Pratt/Rebellion Publishing
Early work from the 'Corto Maltese' creator will be featured in the 'War Picture Library' hardcover, to be released next year.

A quarter century after his death, the work of comic book legend Hugo Pratt will once again thrill fans next year, as Rebellion Publishing’s Treasury of British Comics brings his early work back into print. The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive look inside the first release, Battle Stations.

Pratt, whose real name was Ugo Eugenio Prat, is best known for his work on Corto Maltese, a long-running historical adventure strip that ran in a number of European publications from 1967-1989. Beyond having significant influence inside the comics field — Alex Toth, Paul Pope and many others have cited him as an inspiration — Pratt had a number of unlikely noteworthy fans, including writers Jorge Amado and Umberto Eco, and former French president Francois Mitterand. He died in 1995 at the age of 68.

Battle Stations is the first in a series of hardcover editions re-presenting early work from the creator that had been lost since original publication more than half a century earlier, under the banner War Picture Library. Featuring a story set during World War II and originally published in the early 1960s, Battle Stations isn’t just the recovery of a forgotten piece of comics history — it also offers a rare chance to see one of the undisputed greats of the comic book medium growing into the full strength of his talents.

As can be seen in the exclusive pages below, while Pratt’s signature style isn’t entirely in place by the time the story — written by Donne Avenell — was originally published in 1963, his mastery over the comic book page was firmly in place. The War Picture Library series of Pratt reprints is likely to create a new generation of fans for the artist’s work, even as it allows for a new appreciation of his development as an artist.

The U.S. release for Battle Stations is scheduled for Feb. 18; the U.K. release two days later on Feb. 20.