Corto Maltese is the name of a small island off the coast of South America.
Corto Maltese was the site of a rebel uprising against the government, which was backed by the United States. Due to rising tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which supported the rebels, Superman was dispatched by the U.S. President to intervene in subduing the uprising. However, once Superman's presence in Corto Maltese was confirmed, the Soviets retaliated by launching a nuclear missile at the U.S. Though Superman managed to divert the missile to an empty desert before it detonated, the warhead served its purpose: to disrupt all electronics and communications in the Western Hemisphere, and to cause mass chaos in the aftermath.
- Corto Maltese has been referenced in non-canonical DC sources. However, it was confirmed to exist in the mainstream DCU at the end of Time Masters #4, where there was a tossed-off reference in a newspaper headline: "More Arms to Corto Maltese."
- Corto Maltese was also referenced in the 1989 Warner Bros. feature film, Batman. In the movie, journalist Vicki Vale spent time in Corto Maltese where she shot a series of gruesome photographs during another violent rebel uprising. Upon seeing Vale's work, the Joker glibly commented, "I don't know if its art... but I like it!".
- Corto Maltese was mentioned in Smallville Season 6, Episode 11 "Justice". Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and his team of fellow super heroes (Aquaman, Cyborg, and Impulse) proposition Clark Kent to come with them to help break up one of Lex Luthor's operations targeting people with superhuman abilities, stating "Gentlemen our first target is a large facility on the island of Corto Maltese. You guys know the drill, wheels up in thirty-five minutes."
- Corto Maltese is referenced in the Arrow television show. In the episode "Lone Gunmen" Oliver Queen mentions that the mercenary Deadshot operated in the country.
- The name Corto Maltese is named for a fictional adventurer created by Italian comic book writer, Hugo Pratt.