'Digenis Akritas' (Greek Classics Illustrated).

Pavlos Valasakis is a Greek expressionist painter, engraver, translator, writer and comic artist. During the 1950s, he was one of the artists of the Greek version of the 'Classics Illustrated' comic book series.

Born in Athens in 1925, Pavlos Valasakis (Παύλος Βαλασάκης) got his artistic education at the Art Academy of Stockholm, Sweden. He has since then been making expressionist paintings. He first exhibited his art in Athens and Stockholm, and participated in several national and international group expositions. At age 22, in 1947, he did his first cartooning work for I Diáplasis Ton Paidon (Η Διάπλασις των Παίδων, "Children's Psysique"), a popular children's magazine published by Grigorios Xenopoulos.

Classics Ilustrated
As a cartoonist, he was also involved with the Atlantis publishing house of Giorgos Pechlivanidis. In 1951, the publisher began releasing Greek translations of the American 'Classics Illustrated' ('Κλασσικά Εικονογραφημένα') series, presenting literary classics in comic book format. By October 1953, the translated issues were supplemented with locally produced installments, presenting tales from Byzantine/Greek history and ancient mythology. Coordinated and written by editor Vassilis Rotas, several issues appeared until the early 1960s. Issues drawn by Pavlos Valasakis were about ancient, mythological and historical themes, such as the Marathon's Battle, Pandora's Box, Phrixus & Helle, admiral Andreas Miaoulis and the medieval epic 'Digenis Akritas'. He was also the prime artist of the spin-off 'Classics Illustrated Junior' (Mikrón Klassikón), especially noted for his rendition of the 'Stories of Nasreddin Hodja'.

Valasakis is best known, however, as an illustrator of over 150 children's books and school textbooks. These include story and fairy tale books, historical adventure novels and educational books about history or mythology. Since 1971, he has also written several books himself, including 'The Tour of Koutavos and other Stories for Children' ('O gýros tou Koútavou kai álla diigímata gia paidiá', [Hestia, 1989]), 'By What Right?' ('Me poio dikaíoma?', [Oceanida, 1991]) and 'When Piglets became Humans' ('Ótan ta gourounákia gínontai ánthropoi', [Hestia, 1994]). 'The Miracle or Rhodes' ('To thávma tis Ródou' [Hestia, 1979]), written by Frances Stathatou and illustrated by Valasakis, was awarded by the Greek Children's Book Circle.

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