Greek comic artist/Illustrator Nicolas Stefadouros talks about his colorful heroes, music and literature

"Comics are a popular art in countries like the US and it's a way to pass strong messages to the public especially kids. Yes, Spiderman can be African-American. Yes, Thor can be a woman. Yes, gay is normal too. Comics can be a very powerful visual 'weapon' against prejudice."

Nicolas Stefadouros: Colorful Comix

Greek comic book artist and illustrator Nicolas Stefadouros was born in Athens in 1980. He studied at the department of Civil Engineering of N.T.U.A. eager to unfold a great career in... comics. Since 2000 he has worked with magazines such as TA SAINIA, PANAIGYPTIA, “THE MACH|NE”, websites like SOCOMIC.GR, TVXS.GR, he's designed countless t-shirts for TEESNEY.COM, swimsuits for FAB Sportswear, he's illustrated the majority of the preschool series of Desyllas Games, done inking for MDS Studios (Apocalypse4), illustrated browser games for Sportnews, books, children's books, posters, CD covers and many more always associated with the work of a... civil engineer.

"Every stimulus affects the inspiration of an artist. Music, literature, movies, anything. Life itself is a great inspiration!" (Self portrait/artwork by Nicolas Stefadouros)

In 2015 he (finally) studied comics in Vakalo Art & Design College, tutored by the supramaximal Nikos Koutsis, to whom he owes his soul!

Interview by Michael Limnios

What experiences have triggered your ideas most frequently?

I guess most of my comics have to do with personal experiences, memories or things that would have been but never did actually. They're a mixture of fiction and reality. Even the “OMG, Zombie!” series which is surely a fictional story has also characters based in reality or situations that could be real.

What characterize Nicolas Stefadouros’ artwork?

It's kind of cartoony, colorful (maybe too colorful sometimes) and with lots of thick eyebrows (hahaha). A trademark of the artist.

What has been the relationship between music & literature in your life and art?

I love music and literature! Can't imagine my life without either of them. Can't work without music actually! I envy every musician, that has this amazing ability of expressing oneself through music. I'm a self-taught guitar player but I play only for myself, to relax, because I sound terrible! Literature is something my mother taught me to love. I love the smell of books, the feeling of calmness in a library, the imaginary journey a good book can offer.

How does affect your inspiration?

Every stimulus affects the inspiration of an artist. Music, literature, movies, anything. Life itself is a great inspiration!        (Artwork by Nicolas Stefadouros)

"I love music and literature! Can't imagine my life without either of them. Can't work without music actually! I envy every musician, that has this amazing ability of expressing oneself through music. "

What are your hopes and fears for the future of comic?

I hope for better understanding of comics in Greece, and I think we're getting there. Greeks were familiar only with comics like Mickey Mouse and used to believe there are only comic books for children. Nowadays things have changed eventually and people start to understand it's another way to express a story. I fear of the consequences of the financial crisis in comics but I'm optimistic we'll overcome.

What do you miss most nowadays from the comic of past?

I miss the comic magazines that stopped due to the crisis and I miss the innocence of my old comic books.

What do you learn about yourself from the comic art and culture?

I think working as a comic book artist changed the way I even see the world. I watch the people in the subway or the street, looking for weird faces, expressions, dynamic movements, interesting buildings etc. And then there are the people that read the comic books (me included) that get the same feeling like reading a book, watching a movie, listening to a song. If it's a good read it will change them.

What does ‘Underground Comic’ mean to you?

I can't say I've read enough “underground comics” to have a solid opinion. I was mostly a Disney fan, and then there where French and Belgian comics I loved (mainstream like Asterix, Tin Tin etc.) and superhero comics (Marvel, DC). So I'm completely clueless.

"I hope for better understanding of comics in Greece, and I think we're getting there. Greeks were familiar only with comics like Mickey Mouse and used to believe there are only comic books for children." (OMG, Zombie - Artwork by Nicolas Stefadouros)

If you could change one thing in the comic world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

You mean if I would draw a story and then it would be a reality? Well, I'll sound like a potential Miss Universe but... world peace and the end of poverty would be something worth drawing for, although I think it'd be impossible even so.

 

What is the impact of comic (and general of art) to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

Comics are a popular art in countries like the US and it's a way to pass strong messages to the public especially kids. Yes, Spiderman can be African-American. Yes, Thor can be a woman. Yes, gay is normal too. Comics can be a very powerful visual “weapon” against prejudice.

Make an account of comic art in Greece. What has made you laugh from and what touched (emotionally) you?

That's hard... We have so many talented artists and writers that it'd be extremely difficult for me to just say about one or two of them! There are many comic books that made me laugh and even more that made me cry lately.

Where would you really want to go via a time machine and what memorabilia (books, records) would you put in?

I'd love to see my city back in 1950 or 1960, wear the clothes that were in fashion back then, walk the same streets I walk now but with a different perspective, buy books that then were new, the first Beatles records, see my parents as kids, take photos from a distance. That'd be fun!

How you would spend a day with OMG, Zombie?

I think I wouldn't spend even a second with a zombie haha, I'm terrified of the thought someone chewing my flesh!

"It's kind of cartoony, colorful (maybe too colorful sometimes) and with lots of thick eyebrows (hahaha). A trademark of the artist."

(Self portrait/artwork by Nicolas Stefadouros)

What would you say to Yoda? What would you like to ask Spiderman?

What would I say to Yoda?... Hmm... “Would please master you teach me? Mm?”. Spiderman is one of my favorite characters of all times, because I was always a geek, nerd etc so I'd probably ask him if he has any spare costumes to give me!

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