TALES OF UNSURPASSED VANITY
(Istories Ateliotis Mataiodoxias / Ιστορίες Ατελείωτης Ματαιοδοξίας)
10 issue personal comicbook anthology (self published, Athens, Greece May 2001-Dec 2004)
Written and drawn by Con Chrisoulis
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My "Tales of Unsurpassed Vanity" (Istories Ateliotis Mataiodoxias / Ιστορίες Ατελείωτης Ματαιοδοξίας) were essentially my effort to rid my post-teen self of any superheroes, and all their creepy connotations, from any comicbook creations/stories that I'd involve myself with.
Having just arrived in Greece in 1997, after self-publishing "Clans" and being involved in "Bloodsport" and all that other stuff that occurred in Melbourne and that you can read here, I spent most of my time at the beach or plain screwing around at my home town of Paleros, Acarnania in Greece. I worked in my mom's mini-market (basically drawing all evening at the cashier's desk) and tried to come up with an original concept in order to self-publish anew in Greece.
I recall thinking that Terry Moore's comicbook "Strangers in Paradise" was the most "mature" basis to use as inspiration (or was it the comic press at the time that was shoveling it down our collective throats as one?) and I went along and tried to create a cast of ordinary post-teens trying to cope with the world, relationships and weird hi-jinks!
I was equally inspired by the "urban" style of Greek comicbook creator Leandros, whose short stint in "Babel" magazine in the late 90s inspired a slew of future creators. His black and white stark compositions and the plain in-your-face storytelling that, almost always, took place in real-life everyday miserable Athens, was just draw dropping.
Anyhow, after, kind of, preparing the backdrop for my series "Jazz and Maria" and having one of the weirdest summers ever, in late 1998, I headed for Kalamata to begin my mandatory 18month army duty (why 18 months? Well, its too long a story—suffice to say it involves my stupid decision to have a Greek ID card issued when I was a teenager and some even more moronic laws on the side of the Greek gov).
After spending a couple of months in Kalamata, I was transferred to Didymoteiho, Evros (at the farthest north-eastern Greek-Turkish borders), where I stayed in relative piece and quiet for 9 months and then to the farthest north-western Greek-Albanian borders at Filiates, Thesprotia where I stayed for 7 months or so and lived a type of hell that I'd rather not reminisce upon.
Anyhow, while in the army, I was given the position of Food Provider (Sitistis) and was in charge of buying food on the behalf of the battalion's kitchen personnel, as well as stock and preserve the wartime supplies (which is another joke, for another time; see: label and date changing on rotting tin cans in an abandoned warehouse).
While there I befriended a bunch of dudes, one of whom was really into comics, George Paulopoulos, one of the funniest bastards I've ever met, and who's the only dude from my army days that I still hang out withl so, we kind of hit it off talking about comics and stuff and once I began drawing the "Jazz & Maria" story, having prepared it for so long, he and the rest of the crew I hang out with, would be all critical and stuff on where this drama was heading (remember: we're in the army and everyone is acting gung-ho and stuff). So, after drawing something like the first 8-9 pages of Jazz and Maria's initial meeting in a club, I decided to pull a "but he's a vampire and he just bit her neck in the very last panel" stunt. And you know what? It worked. They were all impressed and dug the story, which went from a mellow love thing to blood and guts!
I also began drawing various other stories with suprise endings while in the army ("Nothos / The bastard") and some "Louvre De Buff" stories (short one-pagers about a homeless drug addict hound living in the dirty streets of Athens, partially based on a mate, Kostas Louvros, that I met, again, in the army).
So this went on an on until, once I finished my damned duty, I was left with 30-40 odd pages of comicbook pages and nothing to do with them. So when I relocated to Athens in late 1999, and began working as a videoclerk (!), I tried, right off the bat, to pass the pages onto "Babel" magazine, the only outlet I could think of that would publish black n' white short stories (or comics at all at that point!). It's hard to imagine this, ten years later, but Greece did NOT have ANY publishers at all in the year 2000 that would publish comicbooks. So, after submitting my work personally to "Babel" and coming back and forth to their offices, for what seemed like ages, I was told that they can't publish "Jazz & Maria" 'cause it's too long! I have to admit that I was dissapointed, and even looking back, the story wasn't that bad (or long-- a mere 9 pages). Note: A few years later, I did get to have my work published in "Babel" but this time I was invited, so it just goes to show... You can read some of my "Babel" stuff here.
Having learnt from my Melbourne experience I just began amassing any cash that I could from the shitty jobs I did and in May 2001 I spent it all on self-publishing a collection of my short stories, the "Louvre De Buff" strips, the "Jazz & Maria" stuff and anything else that I'd drawn in the past two and a half years.
I named my personal anthology "Tales of Unsurpassed Vanity" and set off to change the scene, but most importantly my whole life! I kept a pretty tight monthly schedule for the first 6 issues (which kind of killed me financially, as i self-published 6 24-paged issues within 6 months, never wondering when I'd get --or whether I'd get-- any money back), but looking back it was a pretty fun and creative period. Just me and my drawing board against all odds, working my ass off at a some day job just trying to gather the cash to print the next issue.
Soon after the first issue was published "9" magazine began being published by "Eleftherotypia" newspaper and the new scene (and my career) kind of took off from there. By the year 2003, I was being published in "9" magazine, I had already self-published 7 issues of my "Tales", I co-created another indie comicbook anthology with some fellow creators named "Subart", I participated in a buttload of other indie comics, and helped in their distribution, I plotted and drew a series of comicbooks based on works written by Ancient Greek authors and began making a name for myself (er, right?).
You can read more info in regards to my "Tales of Unsurpassed Vanity" by clicking onto the individual issues below, where you can even read some complete short stories of mine
(Please Note: that I will be uploading more pages and info as time goes by, so check my News section for updates, or recheck the below links once in a while--- remember, the volume of the work that has to be scanned, cleaned and uploaded is simply way too large)!
Note that every the issues' cover motifs had a cycle of 3 issues, meaning that there would be common design elements for every three issues published (#1-#3 have the 'Kingdom Come' motif, #4-#6 have the long poster 'Jazz and Maria' lab motif, #5-#7 have the white borders motif and #8-#10 have the black right-hand side border motif).