Corto Maltese, 1967

 Curio & Co. looks at the fate of classic comic book character Corto Maltese. Curio and Co.

Taking your fate (literally) in your own hands.


Corto Maltese is a comic book sailor and adventurer created by Hugo Pratt in 1967, and premiered in the serial “Ballad of the Salt Sea” in the first edition of Sgt. Kirk magazine.

But though the “rogue with a heart of gold” is fictional, he would say that no one but himself set the course for his life.

Born in Malta in 1887, his father was an English sailor, his mother a gypsy from Seville. Growing up in the Jewish quarter of Córdoba, Maltese discovered that he had no fate line on his palm. He took this to mean that his fate was his to choose, and carved his own fate line with a razor.

Few of us would go to such extremes (he is a comic book character, after all), but it certainly is a strong reminder to follow your heart and do what you love.

For Maltese, his choices sometimes lead him into trouble – it was only a phone call to Joseph Stalin that saved him from execution on the border between Turkey an Armenia – but his journeys bring him respect from the real-life characters he meets, such as Ernest Hemingway, Butch Cassidy, James Joyce and Joseph Conrad. And his travels always lead him to what he truly loves: adventure.

So the next time you’re given the opportunity – take fate into your own hands. (But forget the painful symbolism.)