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An episode of “Mort Cinder” based on the Battle of Thermopylae

  In July 1962 began to be published in the comic book Misterix a series that is considered-rightly-as one of the greatest works of  argentine comics: «Mort Cinder», written by Hector G. Oesterheld and Alberto Breccia masterfully drawn. Before continuing, say that Misterix was published by Editorial (Publishing house) Abril in 1948 and become a great success over the next decade, but the at date of completion of the series we discussed that title had passed into the hands of a small publishing (Yago ), as its former owner had left the cartoon business.


     “Mort Cinder” publication coincides with a sharp decline of comic books in Argentina, diametrically time what had been the fifties with millions of copies sold and successful titles as the same Misterix original, Rayo Rojo, Hora Cero, Frontera, Patoruzito, El Tony and many more. Nor were good times for both creators, Oesterheld had lost his own publishing and control of their magazines (Hora Cero and Frontera) and Breccia had his wife seriously ill.


Misterix by publisher April

     It is in such difficult circumstances and in an editorial that claimed modest great prices (even paid on time and form) that begins to take shape Mort Cinder. Oesterheld and Breccia had worked together between 1958 and 1959 in the Editorial Frontera, performing both unit histories as character creation Sherlock Time, a kind of investigator of the mysteries of outer space.


       And who is Mort Cinder?, as defined by the same Oesterheld in one of the first pictures of this episode, was «the man of a thousand and one deaths»… or the many lives. So in the ten episodes spanning the series Mort participate in the construction of the Tower of Babel (as the plot a launching pad for a spacecraft), sail on a slave ship, will be pursued by a mad scientist or intervene in an episode of the First World War. It should be noted that one of the characteristics of the series was that the stories almost always start in the store of a antiquarian from Chelsea, Ezra Witson, and from memories or observations on any of the objects that exist there.


      mort1mort2  As we said the publication of «Mort Cinder» began in 1962 and lasted until 1964. The battle of Thermopylae was the last episode and was about to be left unfinished because Oesterheld refused to finish it before the non-payment of the publisher. Following the trend of the series the story begins in the business of Ezra Witson (whose face is that of an old-looking Breccia) when it observes a vase with scenes of this battle. Mort is then revealed that he was there: «My name was then Dieneces and me was Alpheus, another hoplite like me,» he says, and starts his story narrating the arrival of the army of King Jerjes, the beginning of the fighting in the initially which defenders decimate the ranks of the «immortals» of the Persian king.


     While celebrating this partial victory Dieneces / Mort is wounded by an arrow and his friend Alpheus removing it from the front line. Shortly after he help rescue Alpheus, who is believed to be dead but only unconscious by a blow.


     That night as candle arms, Dieneces meets the soothsayer Megistias, who anticipates that the fate of the defenders is sealed: «Our thread comes to an end on the loom of the Parcaes … none of us will ever to Sparta». Upon hearing this revelation Dieneces watches his comrades sleeping and he remembers different moments spent with them. Finally wakes his helot (slave) to carry a message to his family, although it is an excuse to get him away from there and save his life.


    The next day he received the news that the Persians have found a way through the mountains and attack from behind. Someone suggests evacuate Thermopylae but Leonidas refuses to do so, while leaving leeway for allies of Sparta, all of which are removed except the Thespians. He becomes the denouement: Leonidas falls in battle and then is injured Alpheus, who Dieneces / Mort stabs him in the neck to alleviate their suffering and soon after it falls unconscious by a blow.


When he wakes up is before Jerjes who promises a terrible death: “I regret to be the only captive”. When the time of punishment Dieneces is indifferent to death and challenge the King to order to begin the ordeal. Impressed by this attitude Jerjes cuts his bonds and say: “Go Sparta man .. you’re king but me, you’re king of yourself … go …”.


      We regret that our own narratives limitations and difficulties that arise in any translation can not fully convey the content of the episode, let alone the beauty Oesterheld text, but in the absence of words there are the magnificent drawings of Alberto Breccia to give realize why Mort Cinder is a true «clasic» comic.

     Carlos R. Martinez

Note: The size of the comic book Misterix that published “Mort Cinder” was 15 x 21 cms and had a very poor printing, which is not allowed to fully appreciate the work of Breccia.

Images shown here (except the top) were taken from a reprint in 1969 of the journal LD (Drawn Literature)


In a previous note we summarize the contents and changes experienced by Skorpio magazine since its launch in 1974 until its demise in the mid 90s. This time we complete the picture reviewing other titles published by Record Editions.



    It was the second title that launched after Skorpio by Record Editions. The entire first issue (December 1974) and much of the second was dedicated to publishing  “The Ballad of the Salt Sea”,  the initial saga of the famous character of Hugo Pratt who gave name to the magazine. Among the most outstanding series of Corto Maltese counted “The Voortrekers” set in the time of the Boer War in South Africa, “The Cobra”, “Canada Joe”, “Lady Shadow” and “Press”, war stories told by a war correspondent, for the style of  “Ernie Pike”.


The novelty or difference regarding Skorpio and Corto Maltese was offered reprints of old works Oesterheld and Hugo Pratt as “Sergeant Kirk” (created in 1953), “Ticonderoga” and the aforementioned “Ernie Pike”.


In its first version Tit-Bits was a magazine that was published from 1909-1957 and whose material was approximately preferably dedicated to serials (folletines) and adventure stories, but also included cartoons. Record Editions took that title for a new magazine whose first issue appeared in1975 and in its initial stage included the series “The Vikings”, “Reno Reagan”, “Jet Power”, short stories by Carlos Roume (extraordinary cartoonist horses) plus the contribution of the Italian series “The Master” and “The Aristocratics”. To this material was added the reissue of the adaptations from literary works made by the great master José Luis Salinas (Cisco Kid) in the forties.



Among the series that were later published include “Man of Richmond”, “Nobody” drawn by Alberto Breccia, “Black Series” and “Timber Lee”, a western  written by Italian Mino Milani and drawings of Juan Arancio. Also reissued novels adaptations made by Bruno Premian-another pioneer of the comic in Argentina-released new versions of two popular comic “Bull Rochett” and the extraordinary “Watami”, originally written by Oesterheld and now scripted and drawn by Jorge Moliterni. Finally say that Tit- Bits was the only title (with Skorpio) Record Editions that lasted until the early nineties.


gre-pif1gre-pif2   Another prestigious title of Argentina comics that appeared in 1939 and allowed to meet in our great American comic series. Disappeared in the mid-50s, he dusted Record Editions to baptize another of his journals which began publication in December 1975. This new Pif-Paf also gave great importance to the reissue of «classics» like “Ann and Dan” (the first cartoon with his own script Hugo Pratt), “Wheelling” (also from Pratt) and two works by Oesterheld and Alberto Breccia: “Sherlock Time” and “Mort Cinder”. Among the new series may be mentioned the police “Chinatown”, “Blond and Hook» and “Macho”.


gre-gunga   It could be considered “Cinderella” Record Editions so little is promoting her remaining items in magazines. Besides there were published stories unit like “South of the Sun” by Jorge Moliterni and “Jingo” Italian material drawn by Ivo Pavone, an artist who came to Argentina along with Hugo Pratt and resided here for more than a decade. Gunga Din appeared in late 1980 and its slogan was “Adventures in Images”.


Title which began publishing in 1981 and whose material (printed full color) predominated unit and also included stories illustrated stories. Juan Zanotto, Arturo Del Castillo, Alberto and Enrique Breccia, Lucho Olivera and Carlos Roume  were among the artists who contributed their work to this journal.



Magazine appeared in 1988 which combined new material with reissues series already known in other Record Editions magazine as “Bandits”, “Gala”, “Comanchero”, “New York, year zero”, “Riff” and “Alvar Mayor”.



 Αποκλειστικά για το Comics Trades 2012 – 2013

      Carlos R. Martinez

 February 2013

Άδεια Creative Commons
Αυτή η εργασία χορηγείται με άδεια Creative Commons Αναφορά Δημιουργού-Μη Εμπορική Χρήση-Όχι Παράγωγα Έργα 3.0 Μη εισαγόμενο.



In the mid-seventies comic production in Argentina was nearly monopolized by Editorial Columba, the only one who had not only been able to overcome the crisis that hit the media in the sixties but was able to consolidate its market position. Columba magazines (D’Artaganan, Fantasy, The Tony and Interval) were characterized by very conservative scenarios, as well as numerous texts that are often not allowed the artists to demonstrate their full capacity. However had going for it with the talent of writer Robin Wood (real name, not a pseudonym) and his great creations as «Dennis Martin», «Nippur of Lagash», «Jackaroe» and many others.


     It is in these circumstances that Publisher (Editions) Record launches your line of magazines (comic books) that started in 1974 with Corto Maltese and Skorpio and continue later with Tit-Bits, Pif-Paf, Gunga Din and beyond Skorpio Plus and Phoenix. Leading the Editions Record was Alfredo Scutti, cartoonist who had worked in the late fifties in Totem magazine, published in Argentine by the Italian artist and writer Alvaro Zerboni, who at that time also edited a magazine of photo-novels.

      In the early seventies and safely using their contacts with Zerboni (who had already returned to Italy) Scutti successfully publishes several magazines of Italian erotic photo-novelas (photo stories) including «Killing». Subsequently -we do not know if Zerboni society or as his representative in Argentina- Scutti start editing your comic books, which were noted for their scripts bolder about sex and violence and fundamentally better graphic quality, product pay a better price and to give more space to the artists to do their jobs. Add that the material produced for the magazines of Record Publisher has published after by Eura Editoriale in Skorpio and Lanciostory mags, although we can not say whether it was the result of an agreement between equals or Record was merely a subsidiary of Eura.

    Another aspect that should be mention in the Record Editorial work is the way that highlighted the work of writer and artists through special sections, dissemination of the history of Argentina and cartoon world through columns written by writers Carlos Trillo and Guillermo Saccommano and rescue by the work of Jose Luis Salinas. To all this must be added the issue of several books, including those collected papers of the same Salinas, «Watami» Jorge Moliterni and a cartoon history of Argentina.

      Done this brief review will begin with the details of individual journals Editorial Record, whose cycle closed in 1996 due mainly to the country’s economic problems and competition from imported comic books, due to the then prevailing exchange rate, a mirage according to which Argentina’s currency to the dollar equivalent, a fiction that erupted in 2001 with a formidable crisis. But now, let’s talk about comics …



    The first issue of the magazine Skorpio appeared in July 1974 and among its first series were counted «Corto Maltese» by Hugo Pratt, “The Cobra” by Ray Collins and Arturo del Castillo, “Black Soldier” a western drawn by Ernesto Garcia Seijas,» The sweet color of the stars” by Grassi and Lucho Olivera, «Precinct 56» a thriller of Collins and Angel Alberto Fernandez, «Henga» by Ray Collins and Juan Zanotto and «Killing», drawn by Garcia Seijas. “Killing”  take its name from one of the photo-story magazines published by Scutti, character soon change its name to … «Skorpio», initially on own scripts drawn by Oswal (Osvaldo Roberto Viola) and then for a long time by Ernesto Garcia Seijas. Always at the same initial period unit drawn cartoons were published among others by Leopoldo Durañona, Victor Hugo Arias, Solano López, Lucho Olivera and Jorge Moliterni. About «Henga» say that narrated the adventures of a Neolithic hunter was actually descended from an extraterrestrial civilization, adventures where there were always beautiful women drawn by Zanotto. Skorpio material was completed with the sections «These are the creators» with reviews of the various artists who collaborated in the magazine, «Mail cartoon world» with the concerns of readers and «The Comic Strip club» with news, biographies, comments and reviews by the writers Carlos Trillo and also Guillermo Saccomanno. Closing each issue covers reproduced an engraving of the artist Frederick Remington titled «Old West».


  In a second step adds to its ranks Skorpio screenwriter Hector G. Oesterheld, who creates «Loco Sexton» a journalist of the Far West that draws Arturo del Castillo, «Nekrodamus» a story set in Renaissance Europe about a demon who seeks redemption by Horacio Lalia, and in December 1976 the second part of «The Eternauta» whose original version had made ​​Oesterheld and Solano Lopez in 1957. Other developments were «Hor, Daredevil» or “Hor, son of Henga «,» The Desert Scorpions» by Hugo Pratt, “Odysea 2000″ by Victor Hugo Arias and “Detectives’ Studio» a parody with art by Perez D’Elia. While Julio Cesar Medrano make military unit stories, especially aviation.

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CT5-Skorpio21 CT7-logo CT-Skorpio31 CT12-Skorpioextra CT-Skorpio37 CT10-Skorpio55

    Subsequent to May 1977 the name of the magazine becomes Skorpio Great Color, precisely because each issue includes three color cartoons. This can be considered the beginning of the most brilliant period of the magazine, which lasted until the early eighties and included the addition of new series such as «Alvar Mayor» (Carlos Trillo and Enrique Breccia) set in the fifteenth century during the conquest of America, «The Professionals» (the historical setting is the Mexican Revolution) and scripted by Jorge Moliterni drawings, great artist who died prematurely in 1979, «Ace of Spades» (Barreiro and Juan Gimenez) about the crew of a B-17 during World War II, «The condemned» (Saccomanno-Mandrafina) reminiscent in some respects to Papillon, «I Cyborg» and “Red Planet» both of Alfredo Grassi-Lucho Olivera,  “Lord Jim” by Carlos Albiac and Horacio Lalia (a disciple of Alberto Breccia specialist in horror and Victorian England), «The pilgrim of the Stars» (Trillo-Enrique Breccia), «Derek» (Saccomanno-Mandrafina), «Little king» by García Seijas and September 1978 in the No. 55 of Skorpio presentation of «Barbara», a dash of Ricardo Barreiro illustrated by Juan Zanotto. «Barbara» is possibly the most beautiful women of the comic Argentina and here had to fight an alien civilization that had enslaved humans. One attraction of the series (besides the protagonist) was that many of his adventures passed the ruins of a devastated city and practically covered with water that was none other than … Buenos Aires.


    For 1982/83 we see a decline in the quality of the magazine that loses color pages and is again Skorpio to dry. There is a predominance of the unit above the comic series, although in this case may be mentioned titles like «Mandy Riley», «Riff», «Gray Traveler» (by Alberto Breccia), «Gala», «New York Year Zero» and an unfortunate third version of «The Eternauta» written by Italian Alberto Ongaro and performed by a team of designers on some initial sketches by Solano Lopez. About the end of that decade Skorpio covers begin to imitate the aesthetics imposed by Fierro, comic book appeared in 1984, high impact among young audiences. Notwithstanding this decline continues, no characters emerge as relevant and by 1991 the highlights were the work of artist Enrique Alcatena, whose boundless imagination illustrated scripts of «Crossing the labyrinth» or «Mobile fortress».

CT16-Skorpio1990 CT17-Comicclub CT18-TRAVELGREY CT19-Alcatena CT20-redplanet CT21-REMINGTON CT22-Detective

      According to the website «Historieteca» Skorpio last number was 235 in January 1996. In September 1998 there was an attempted revival lasted only two numbers: 280 and 281. Novelty was published in the form of a color insert, chapters premiere of «Nippur de Lagash» classic series Editorial Columba, who by that time was also way to extinction. We close this summary of the nearly 25 years of Skorpio adding that the magazine had supplements under various titles, such as the Golden Book, Extra and Super Skorpio, which were published in some of the series already mentioned and others as «The Adventurers»,»Avrak»,»Across Oceania”, “Foreign Legion”, “Slot Barr” and “Cimarron”.

 Αποκλειστικά για το Comics Trades 2012 – 2013

                                                        Carlos R. Martinez

                                                           February 2013

Άδεια Creative Commons
Αυτή η εργασία χορηγείται με άδεια Creative Commons Αναφορά Δημιουργού-Μη Εμπορική Χρήση-Όχι Παράγωγα Έργα 3.0 Μη εισαγόμενο.


Πριν περίπου είκοσι χρόνια(δυστυχώς δεν κυκλοφόρησε ποτέ στη χώρα μας…),, μερικοί από τους κορυφαίους Αργεντινούς, Ιταλούς, Αμερικανούς και Γάλλους δημιουργούς κόμικς, άφησαν ο καθένας το δικό του προσωπικό ύφος σε μια μοναδική έκδοση! Οι Alberto Breccia, Dino Battaglia, Antonio Hernandez, Hugo Pratt, jean Giraud(Moebious), Juan Zanotto, Joseph Gillian και ο μεγάλος Harold Foster μεταξύ άλλων, συμφώνησαν να συμπεριληφθούν σχέδια από διάσημες δουλειές τους, όλα σε σχέση με τους ινδιάνους, τον πολιτισμό τους και τα ιδιαίτερα στοιχεία ενός λαού που πολέμησε για να μείνει ζωντανός όσο κανείς άλλος, για μια ειδική έκδοση αφιερωμένη ακριβώς σε αυτό. Ινδιάνοι και κόμικς! Το λεύκωμα αυτό περιείχε επιπλέον ξεχωριστές πληροφορίες για κάθε μια από τις φυλές των ινδιάνων, με σκίτσα από τους κορυφαίους σχεδιαστές κόμικς, ιστορίες παλιότερες φτιαγμένες από αυτούς, αλλά και κάποιες που σχεδιάστηκαν ειδικά για την έκδοση, κι άλλα πολύ όμορφα πράγματα, όπως οι χάρτες των περιοχών που έζησαν, αντικείμενα καθημερινά και όπλα και πολλά ακόμη. Σε κάθε μια από τις σελίδες του, το κυρίαρχο στοιχείο ήταν οι ινδιάνοι και ο τρόπος για να αποτυπωθούν τα έργα και ημέρες τους, μελάνι και χαρτί, φαντασία και σκίτσα!

Σήμερα, θα σας παρουσιάσουμε τις εισαγωγικές σελίδες αυτού του λευκώματος, αυτές που έχουν μια αναφορά αντί προλόγου, φτιαγμένη από ένα κολάζ σχεδίων όλων όσων σας προανέφερα. Ο κάθε ένας δημιουργός, έχει και την δική του σελίδα. Το δικό του τρόπο για να περιγράψει αυτά που βλέπει με τα μάτια της φαντασίας. Σε μελλοντικά μας άρθρα, θα έχετε την δυνατότητα να δείτε πολύ περισσότερες από αυτές τις σελίδες, χωρισμένα σε θεματικού τύπου αφιερώματα, ενώ να πούμε ότι πρόκειται για μια αποκλειστική δημοσίευση του Comics Trades. Όλες τις σημερινές αποσπασματικές σελίδες, μπορείτε να τις βρείτε στην υπό – κατηγορία «ΕΡΕΥΝΑ & ΚΑΤΑΓΡΑΦΗ».



Στα μέσα της δεκαετίας του`70, κυριαρχούσε μια άλλη λογική σε όλα τα επίπεδα, σε σχέση πάντα με τα κόμικς και τους χαρακτήρες που διαβάζαμε. Ήταν οι επιρροές ακόμη νωπές, από την προηγούμενη δεκαετία, αυτές που καθοδηγούσαν τους δημιουργούς και τις εκδοτικές εταιρείες στο εξωτερικό. Όλα αυτά αντανακλούσαν φυσικά και στην δική μας μεταφρασμένη πραγματικότητα. Από το 1978 όμως κι έπειτα, άρχισαν οι μεγάλες αλλαγές. Για πολλές από αυτές, αλλά κυρίως για τον τρόπο που κάποιοι χαρισματικοί δημιουργοί έβλεπαν τα πράγματα και για την νέα αισθητική που πέρασαν μέσα από τις δουλειές τους, ευθύνονται δύο περιοδικά. Ήταν αυτά που αδόκιμα ίσως σαν όρο, χαρακτηρίζουμε στις μέρες μας σαν πολυθεματικά, με την έννοια ότι δεν περιείχαν μόνον ένα χαρακτήρα, αλλά 6 ή 7 διαφορετικούς, κυρίως σε αυτοτελείς ιστορίες. Και τα δύο αυτά περιοδικά, έκαναν μια μικρή χάρτινη επανάσταση και μας έδωσαν την ευκαιρία να γνωρίσουμε έναν άλλο υπέροχο σχεδιαστικό κόσμο, αυτό των Αργεντινών δημιουργών.

Διαβάστε την εκδοτική ιστορία του «Skorpio«, στην υπό – κατηγορία ‘«ΕΡΕΥΝΑ & ΚΑΤΑΓΡΑΦΗ», μαζί με κοινά εξώφυλλα της έκδοσης του εξωτερικού με την δική μας. Θα ακολουθήσουν κι άλλα άρθρα αφιερωμένα στο περιοδικό και τους δημιουργούς του, με επιμέρους έρευνα και παράθεση στοιχείων, όπως και αποσπασματικές σαρώσεις ιστοριών που περιείχε. Αυτό είναι το πρώτο σημερινό άρθρο που προστίθεται στην συγκεκριμένη κατηγορία. Θα ακολουθήσουν κι άλλα.


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