'Pepito Gonzales' strip from Ta Nea newspaper's weekend supplement of 23 April 2022.

Vangelis Saitis is a Greek cartoonist and architect, best-known for his comic character 'Pepito Gonzales' ('Πεπίτο Γκονζάλες'), whose adventures have appeared in Mikros Cow-Boy and other magazines, newspapers and fanzines since 1973. Another creation by Saitis was the humor comic 'The Flowers' ('Οι Φλώροι', 1980) for Skathari. Later in his career, Saitis gained notability as a political and sports cartoonist, before switching to architecture. When Saitis made his debut as a comic artist, he was notably only 14 years old. At the time he was presented in Greek media as "the youngest cartoonist of the country." 

Early life and career
Vangelis Saitis (Βαγγέλης Σαΐτης) was born in 1960 in Athens, Greece. In late 1973, at age 13, he submitted his first cartoons to Mikros Cow-Boy (Μικρός Καουμπόυ, meaning "Little Cowboy"), a story paper/magazine dealing with the adventures of the Far West sheriff Jim Adams. His talent was recognized by the editors, writer Giorgos Marmaridis and artists Themos Andreopoulos and Kostas Rampatzis, and, after some training, Saitis became a regular contributor to the magazine.

Pepito Gonzales
Already at age 14, Saitis became strongly associated with one of Mikros Cow-Boy's secondary characters, 'Pepito Gonzales' ('Πεπ?το Γκονζ?λες'), a funny wannabe sheriff who wanders around the Wild West seeking adventures and glory. Between 1975 and 1979, he regularly contributed short stories, which could count up to 16 pages. After that, his work for Mikros Cow-Boy became more sporadical.


'Pepito Gonzales' from Mikroú Serífi #313 (June 1979).

From cartoonist to architect
In 1975, the fourteen-year old Vangelis Saitis appeared on Greek television as the "youngest cartoonist of the country" in the 'Salt and Pepper' show with Freddy Germanos. In the following years, he participated in three international cartoon exhibitions, held in Kifissia, one of the northern suburbs of Athens. By then, he had already expanded his activities by contributing to other magazines. He made cartoons for Trust in Laughter magazine (Τραστ του Γέλιου), edited by the veteran cartoonist Nikos Zikos. Later on, he also contributed cartoons to The Postman (Ταχυδρόμο), until he found a regular position as freelance cartoonist for the Athens newspaper Ta Nea. Starting out doing the daily sports cartoon, Saitis was eventually promoted to political-editorial cartoonist, contributing one or two drawings per week with mild satire until 1980.


Cartoon about the energy crisis (Ta Nea, 1980).

By the early 1980s, Saitis was still working for Mikros Cow-Boy, while also providing artwork to the magazines The Parents and Cosmopolitan. For the short-lived comic weekly Skathari (Σκαθάρι), he created the comic feature 'The Flowers' ('Οι Φλώροι', 1980), about a middle-class family of five. Between 1979 and 1984, other periodicals with his work were the satirical magazines Green Cat, Pontiki and the Greek edition of MAD, as well as the newspapers Vradini, Oikonomotechniki and the weekly New March (Νέα Πορεία). Saitis additionally appeared in the English-language publications, such as Greece's Weekly (1983) and Greece Today (1988).

In 1984, Vangelis Saitis dropped most of his cartooning activities and headed for the United States for postgraduate studies in architecture. After one year, he returned to Greece, where he first fulfilled his military service and then focused on a career in architecture, opening his own office in the center of Athens. Between 1990 and 2010, he was also a writer for Idaniko Spiti ("Ideal Home"), the leading Greek interior design magazine, while also contributing to other specialized magazines, such as Building.


'Life On Mars', comic strip by Vangelis Saitis from Blek magazine (2021). "Oh you, uneducated little child... This is a telescope." "I am scientifically observing the planets." "Unbelievable! There is life on Mars!"

Later cartooning work
Later in life, Vangelis Saitis has occasionally returned to both cartooning and his signature character Pepito Gonzales. Since 2015, he has been publishing some new 'Pepito Gonzales' comic stories in various fanzines, Blek magazine and, in 2022, in the newspaper Ta Nea. He has also been making new cartoons and comic strips for Blek magazine, edited by Leokratis Anemodouras.


Vangelis Saitis in 2021 (Photo © Nikos Nikolaidis).

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