Maltese Oberon

Maltese Oberon

My old Corto Maltese comics are full of wonders that I had forgotten.

In a Midwinter Morning's Dream, Corto Maltese, asleep against a pillar of Stonehenge after a night of drinking at The George in Amesbury, is recruited by Puck to save Britannia from the Germans.

It's a December 1917 dream in which Oberon summons Puck, Morgan la Fay and Merlin, to prevent a german raid on a meeting of the british High Command in Tintagel Castle. The trap was set up by Rowena, the german lady married to Major Vortigern Welsh. Her brothers Hengest and Horsa are to lead an assault party out of an U-Boot.

Oberon wants to stop once again the germanic feys from invading Britain. The Saxons have taken over most of Britain, Oberon doesn't want to flee further.

Merlin awakened wants a new Arthur, all the knights of the Round Table, a large army with roman allies... Oberon updates him, there are no more Romans around, there are american allies but the war is in the Flanders fields. The King Arthur must sleep for twenty centuries, it's too soon.

All the soldiers are in Flanders, the King Arthur cannot be awakened, they're left with a sailor asleep against a stone, Corto Maltese.

Corto, Morgan, Puck and Merlin succeed in stopping the U-Boot, the beautiful Rowena is tried and executed, the german shortcut is denied.

It's a nice story weaved by Hugo Pratt, in his Celtic Tales. Ironically, Oberon is a germanic fey, although Shakespeare granted him fame in the British Isles and their zone of influence.

Oberon can also be found in the story of Huon de Bordeaux a thirteenth century french epic poem, where he announces himself as the "son of Julius Caesar". The story says that Hugo Pratt had spotted a Great War grave in Flanders for a canadian soldier named "Julius Caesar" and that put him on the track to develop this short tale.

Corto Maltese is an interesting character, from what I remember of reading it years ago, he was much the passenger, not wanting to involve himself too much, but having to fight anyway. He was leaving as quickly as possible, not settling, travelling by sea or by dream.