Sunday, January 20, 2008


La pista d'argento (The Silver Track) was a western comics album published in 1941 as part of Florence-based publisher Nerbini's 'Collona albi grandi avventura' series. It is signed by Italian artist Mario Tempesti. I couldn't find much info on Tempesti other than the fact that he was a staff artist of Nerbini's comics magazine L'Avventuroso; he also seems to have made cover illustrations for publications outside of the comics media.
La pista d'argento was published in Turkey twice during the war era. In its first edition, as the headline comics of 1001 Roman's monthly special issue no. 27 (March 1942), it was titled as 'Gümüş İz' (The Silver Track). The story concerns an expedition to find a team of geographers who had been lost in the wilderness. The search party gets captured by American natives whose chief has plans to organize an uprising to set up an "empire" by uniting all native tribes.
Even though it is a mediocre comics in all aspects from art to story, it had a second edition in Turkey two years later in the same series, the first and only time a comics was published twice in 1001 Roman. The no. 57 (sept. 1944) of the monthly series headlined it as 'Ölüm Yolcuları' (Voyagers of Death). This 2nd edition was not a reprint, but an abridged version with a new Turkish translation. The heroine's name was given as Violetta whereas she was Miss Edna in the earlier edition. The 'Ölüm Yolcuları' edition expanded on the dialogue between the tribal chief and the leader of the captured search party. In the 1st edition, the hero simply calls the chief's plans as "madness", but in the 2nd addition, he strikingly also adds that they are "a minority and should be content with the amount of land they have". In this manner, the story not only assumes a blanket identification with the white people over the non-white people, but also attempts to provide a generalizable justification for the suppression of 'minorities'' aspirations.

In the subsequent monthly issue, the editors of 1001 Roman published a reply to the readers who had apparently written letters to point out that this comics had already been published earlier in the series. In this rather unconvincing reply, they claimed that this was not a case of an unintentional mistake on their part, but they had decided to go ahead with a second edition because the earlier one had sold out.

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