Vasilis Lolos is a prolific comic artist and designer from Athens, Greece whose inventive and dynamic graphic storytelling style graces our new MTV Comic Hats, debuting today.
Lolos started his career in comics drawing short stories for the Greek publication 9, following it up with the popular World War I graphic novel Genitria and the self-published anthology 5 (his work published alongside such contemporaries as Gabriel Ba, Rafael Grampa, Fabio Moon, and Becky Cloonan). He's also contributed works to Image Comics (Pirates of Coney Island) and Oni Press (The Last Call), and even helped design the look for the My Chemical Romance music video "Danger Days" (concept art below).
We recently had a chance to chat with Vasilis about Hats and what turns him on about making comics!
MTV Geek: How did you get involved with MTV Comics?
Vasilis Lolos: I met with Bradley (Hatfield) sometime around 2007-8 when he was working on his Comic Collective website. We started hanging and talking comics after that. When he told me what he wanted to create it seemed like great idea, so I wanted in from the get-go. I mean growing up to me Æon Flux was the hot s**t along with The Maxx and the other Liquid TV stuff like Migraine Boy -- and if Brad didn't ask me to be a part of MTV Comics, I'd make him.
Geek: How did you come up with the idea for Hats?
VL: Hats is my idea of a "comic vacation," the print issues were all rushed cheap last minute and with no programed thought behind it. They are my Rock & Roll comics. I did the first one in 2005 a week before the Ape con. I picked up the copies from the printer in the same cab I used on my way to the airport. Hats is about not giving a fuck about the comic making process and cutting it close, haha. I just wanted to do something that I set myself free of coming up with a script, making thumbnails or any kind of plan. Comics tend to be OCD and by the numbers -- and at some point, I felt that I wanted to move away from it, initially it wasn't even a conscious effort it was more like "I just want to make something fun." When I start on a Hats comic I have no idea what I'm doing, it's like automatic writing.
Geek: What is Hats about?
VL: Rock and Roll. And this guy Hats that will do anything for a buck and a good time.
Geek: Who are your biggest artistic influences?
VL: I grew up on obscure anime imported to Greece. I was lucky enough to have our gadget-crazed neighbour "dump" his old VCR at my place in the early-early 80's, so comics were a second choice to me after videotapes. Anything that had robots in it was, and is, a great Influence. I love the designer on Plawres Sanshiro anime. Leiji Matsumoto's Captain Harlock has made a huge impact on my artistic style (and hairdo over the years) Also Katsuhiro Otomo is one of my favorite comic artists. I love Moebius, Mignola Taiyo Matsumoto and Frank Miller. Truth is that I get my artistic juices flowing from anything but comics.
Geek: What do you want to do with "Hats" in the future?
VL: Whatever feels fun, I'd love to make an old-school adventure game off Hats. Part point-and-click part shoot-em-up part fighting part racing all awesome. Anything goes.
Geek: What other projects are you working on now that you're excited about?
VL: I've been compiling a cosmic horror collection of stories for some time now, it's called the ELECTRONOMICON and pages away from completing the last one. Unfortunately since there is practically no money in comics I started the thing without having a publisher for it, so I can't tell you who is putting it out.
Another project is a punk-rock fairytale; I started messing with the idea in 2000, I did some short stories and even a never finished 80page take on it in 2004 (you can download it as a pdf for free on my blog). The idea is that a boy gets his heart stolen from a witch making her claim on his dead mother's "bargain with the devil". But after I started joking about it last month I decided to go with it and reboot the whole thing.
Check out the first installment of Hats #1 below!