Franco Fossati in the Spanish mag Bang! # 9 (1973), for instance, is clearly operating in bad faith: in an article about Hugo Pratt, Oesterheld's name appears once, in a list, among many other names (talking about Ernie Pike - the name comes from American war correspondent Ernie Pyle, the face is Oesterheld's - he says that Pratt "was inspired by a friend's face to create Pike's"). Fortunately Spaniard editors read Argentinian mag Dibujantes # 21 and added a note or two restoring the truth. Closer to us in time it's not possible to feign ignorance: there's simply too much information circling around and Héctor Germán Oesterheld is the creator of adults' comics in the restrict field (the comics milieu, I mean). Not that he intended to do so. In his mag Hora Cero Semanal's cover, he stated: "Historietas para mayores de 14 años" (comics for people over 14 years old). What happened was that he worked a lot. Some of his stories are just average, but when they're good, they're very good. Here's what Oesterheld wrote on Hora Cero Semanal # 1's back cover (September 4, 1957; my translation):
"LET'S DEFEND COMICS
There are bad comics when they're badly done only.
Denying comics all together, condemning them as a whole, is as irrational as denying cinema all together because there are bad films. Or condemning literature because there are bad books.
There are, unfortunately in a huge ratio, lots of bad comics. But these don't disqualify the good ones. On the contrary, by comparison, they should underline their quality.
We believe that our comics are good comics. By good comics we mean strong comics, comics that are stout and cheerful at the same time, violent and human. Comics that grab the reader with fair, reliable, means. Comics that baffle the reader because they're new, because they're original, because they're modern, they belong to the present day, they may even belong to the future.
FRONTERA and HORA CERO are proof enough of what we're saying: the readers know it because they chose our stuff.
With HORA CERO SEMANAL we believe that we've outdone ourselves: we are sure that we assembled quality comics in a way that's hardly repeatable.
It's with legitimate publishers' pride that we bring to you HORA CERO SEMANAL knowing that it is a new valuable addition to our magazines which, turning their backs to cheaper, inferior, imported stuff, open their pages to Argentinian stuff. Said stuff (someone has to say it sometime) conquered, without protection or help of any kind, a dignified place among the best stuff done in the world.
To the readers, to the publishers of good comics, our sincerest regards.
I don't suppose that Dominique Petitfaux is ignorant when he makes this outrageous allegation in Casterman's tome 1 of the series, 2003 (I may be wrong though; my translation): "Silence is a very important theme in Ernie Pike. When we know those long mute sequences in Hugo Pratt's oeuvre, it's easy to guess that those panels without words were created by the draughtsman who wanted to counterbalance the beautiful, but long dialogues - and sometimes useless captions - written by the scriptwriter. If the silence after Mozart is still Mozart, silence after Oesterheld is Pratt." To be fair, he wrote the word "guess" somewhere in his diatribe. But guess work is incredibly unprofessional for a so-called critic. The truth is that Hugo Pratt is a sacred cow and Oesterheld is no one outside of Argentina. Videla's thugs killed this great master, European critics killed his memory and usurped his rightful place in comics history.
Sgt. Kirk page written by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and drawn by Hugo Pratt. Where are those long dialogues and useless captions? By the way: even the name "Corto" (yes, as in "Corto Maltese)" was used first in Sgt. Kirk by Oesterheld.