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DF Interview: Bigger Bang, Part 2: Artist Vassilis Gogtzilas cues the concept
By Byron Brewer
The saga of Cosmos will get underway in November when IDW’s Bigger Bang arrives in stores. And the whole thing started, according to writer D.J. Kirkbride, when artist Vassilis Gogtzilas “contacted [me] with the notion for a cosmic superhero, and a line drawing of a huge muscular caped guy floating in space.”
To continue our exploration of this miniseries, Dynamic Forces gladly bought a space bus ticket to Cosmos’ current alternate universe to speak with Gogtzilas and get the artist’s side of the story.
Dynamic Forces: Vass, tell us how you got interested in art. You are a painter as well as a comic book illustrator, yes?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: I just never stopped drawing and painting since I was a kid. I remember comics, illustrations and fumetti (Italian comics) everywhere! Every memory is somehow connected to comics. I live in Greece and when I was little I started publishing my works from the age of fourteen in newspapers, magazines and comics mags. To see my work printed is like a need since then. I work as an illustrator, comics artist and painter. My illustration work was also presented in Taschen’s Illustration Now! Volume 2.
Painting is viral for me to keep evolving as an artist. You need to observe life and nature.
DF: How did you bring your drawing skills to comic books?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: My first attempts were to make my own stories from existing characters, but I created my own too as a kid. Everything started very early.
Drawing and painting was always there. But comics, the joy of making stories with pictures, was pure love. I sometimes see comics as cheap art books! They offer so much great art for a few dollars!
DF: Do you remember your first piece of published comic book work? Was it the Mr. Universe story in Image Comics' PopGun graphic novel?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: That was my first published work. Mr. Universe was a funny satire on superheroes. A little sad sometimes. Nice experiment at the time. Gave me the opportunity to play with the cliches of the superhero genre. Some other works followed for PopGun and other anthologies.
DF: Tell us about how you came to do all the wonderful work you did in IDW Publishing's The Adventures of Augusta Wind?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: That was J.M. DeMatteis and his trust on my work. We were in contact for years before Augusta Wind. We were talking about the possibility of working together but the right project never appeared! At one point, I self-published a small artbook called Splat! And I sent a copy to J.M. DeMatteis. He wrote to me immediately after he got it that I had a drawing in the book that looked exactly like how he imagined the character of Augusta. It was meant to be, as they say! And we started work after Chris Ryall and IDW said yes to the project. Working with J.M. DeMatteis is an amazing experience!
DF: Another writer, D.J. Kirkbride, and you will soon launch a miniseries for IDW called Bigger Bang. D.J. tells me you were the main impetus for this story. Comments?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: I approached D.J. to make a cosmic superhero book together. D.J. is the nicest person and I had a great communication with him since the PopGun days. We have many things in common and we share a similar taste in characters. So I really wanted to work with him. He filled the project with almost everything you will read in the book. Some are based on my concept drawings, others are purely his. It’s great because he is perfect as the other artistic half. He makes the book make sense. He is also very charismatic in writing humor and emotional scripts and both are very important elements in the book. And all that with writing expressionist freedom!
DF: Tell us a little bit about this miniseries from an artist's point of view.
Vassilis Gogtzilas: Very expressive in style. I try to give the book an identity all its own from cover to cover! In the last issue, the art explodes! Some of my best stuff yet!
DF: Do you enjoy designing characters for such a superhero sci-fi book?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: Most of the characters are very fun to draw. Especially the manservant of King Thulu was a pleasure!
DF: Vass, what should comic book readers be looking for from your talented pen in the near future?
Vassilis Gogtzilas: Another Augusta Wind series probably around the end of 2015.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Vassilis Gogtzilas for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Bigger Bang hits stores in November!
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