INTERVIEW: "Fantastic Four" EP On Character-Driven Approach, Sequel Plans
Comic Books, Film
Original art is a growing market for creators and fans alike, and for the holidays artist Vasilis Lolos is selling choice pages of his work for a good cause. The Last Call cartoonist is auctioning off pages from his work at Marvel, Image and Dark Horse, as well as his self-published projects, with all proceeds to benefit stray dogs in Athens, Greece.
“During this time of winter and the constant bombings and riots, these stray dogs need a helping hand,” Lolos says. “This is why I created these auctions, so I can sell my artwork really cheap but help somebody in need.”
Bursting onto the American comics scene in the mid-00s with the Pirates of Coney Island (sadly unfinished) and work in anthologies like Flight and 24seven, Greek artist Vasilis Lolos quickly made a name for himself with his angular artwork and unconventional storytelling. But after quickly rising up the ranks with group projects-as-books 5 and Pixu, Last Call for Oni, and even mainstream work on Spider-Man and Wolverine, Lolos disappeared. But now news is coming to the surface that Lolos is plotting his return to American comics, and it’s called Electronomicon.
According to a post on his DeviantArt page, Electronomicon is the name of a graphic novel he’s doing for Oni that he describes as “in the vain (sic) of Blade Runner and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft.” This collection of cosmic horror stories is something the artist has been working on and off on since 2009, with 2012 looking to be the year it reaches completion and publication. In recent years Lolos has had a habit of doing work for musical acts, and in this project he’s bringing that influence to bear with the group La Suspiria reportedly working on a soundtrack.
The artist Rafael Grampá first came to my attention through Gunned Down, a 2005 small-press anthology of Western stories done largely by South American creators. Joining him were then-unknowns Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Although the book didn’t sell well, flipping through it I realized I was holding something special. Moon and Bá rose to fame pretty quickly with works at AiT-PlanetLar, their self-published projects, and comics at Dark Horse and Vertigo. But Grampá’s work was few and far between.
With the release of the anthology 5 in 2007 and his first solo work Mesmo Delivery in 2008, American comics audiences got their first real taste of what Grampá could do. Vertigo hired him to contribute to a milestone issue of Hellblazer; Marvel, with a milestone issue of Daredevil; Dark Horse reprinted the sold-out Mesmo Delivery, which goes for over $125 new at Amazon. Recently Marvel put him as the lead feature in the second volume of Strange Tales, and Dark Horse contracted him for his second standalone graphic novel.
His work evokes easy comparisons to Geoff Darrow, but deeper analysis shows an appreciation for detail, not for detail’s sake, but to add flavor and weight to the scene he depicts in a panel, a pin-up or a cover. Rather than just drawing to tell you where someone is and what they’re doing, Rafael’s illustrative line adds texture, tone, mood and atmosphere — and that’s before a colorist touches the page. Although well-known by some in the industry, by and large the mainstream comics public doesn’t know the full scope of what the artist is — or could be. Maybe this interview will help.