Nikos Kastanakis (Νίκος Καστανάκης) was a Greek painter and comic artist, known for his contributions to the Greek installments in the 'Classic Illustrated' comic book series.

Early life and career
He was born in 1896 in Constantinople, the present-day Istanbul, but then the capital of the Ottoman Empire. His brothers were the journalist Loukas Kastanakis (1890-1956) and the writer Thrasos Kastanakis (1901-1967). He was trained as a painter in Constantinople, and later studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts. During the 1920s, he worked as a political illustrator for the Kathimeriní/Καθημερινή ("Daily") newspaper.

World War II
During World War II, he took part in the Greek National Defense against the Nazis, making propaganda posters. His son Apellis Kastanakis was killed fighting the German invaders.

After World War II, Kastanakis returned to newspaper work, collaborating with Rizospástis (Ριζοσπάστης, "Radical") and Avgí (Αυγή, "Dawn"), as well as the magazine Sátira (Σάτιρα). He also illustrated children's books.

Classics Illustrated
During the 1950s, he was involved with the publishing house Atlantis of Giorgos Pechlivanidis, responsible for the Greek translations of the 'Classics Illustrated' series ('Κλασσικά Εικονογραφημένα'). The American comic books with adaptations of literary classics was launched in Greece in 1951, with translations by Vassilis Rotas. By October 1953, the translated issues were supplemented with locally produced installments, presenting tales from Byzantine/Greek history and ancient mythology in comic book format. Kastanakis drew about six historically themed issues, dealing with subjects like the Greek Revolution of 1821, the Greek-Persian war of 480 B.C. and the ancient Euripides play 'Iphigenia in Aulis'. Other local illustrators for the Greek 'Classics Illustrated' were George Vakalo, Bost, Pavlos Valasakis, Gerasimos Livieratos, Takis Katsoulidis, Giannis Dragonas, Vasilis Zisis, Alkmini Grammatopoulou and Costas Grammatopoulos.

Nikos Kastanakis passed away in Athens in 1981.

Series and books by Nikos Kastanakis in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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