Cartoon hero Varoufakis tackles austerity 'minotaur'

AFP , Saturday 9 Jul 2016

Comic book
A woman reads a comic book about former Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis entitled "Wow" in Athens on July 8, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

Greek's flamboyant former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis may no longer have the perhaps thankless task of fronting Greek attempts to resolve its debt crisis -- but a cartoon version has him still socking it to the Eurocrats.

Cartoon fans have seized on a strip depicting Varoufakis as a superhero standing up for Athens in its Brussels battle for financial survival as he looks to slay the "minotaur" of austerity -- with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble cast in the role of villain.

Leftist academic and economist Varoufakis, author of "The Global Minotaur", a book looking at the root causes of the global economic crisis, gave his assent to his portrayal in a strip which has sold more than 3,000 copies since going on sale last week.

It's not the first time either Varoufakis or indeed Schaueble have been portrayed at cartoonish loggerheads -- Germany-based satirist-artist Kostas Koufogiorgos once had Schaeuble order the then Greek minister to tuck his shirt in "so I can see you've really tightened your belt".

In Greek mythology, the minotaur was a half-man, half-bull monster which devoured ritual offerings of young boys and maidens. It was eventually slain by the hero Theseus.

Varoufakis resigned just over a year ago in the belief that stepping down would help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras strike a better deal for Greece with foreign creditors.

But he also quit after conflict with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who presides over the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers.

Last year, German television portrayed the Greek as a Terminator-type figure in "V for Varoufakis" and now the comic strip, titled "Wow", depicts a meeting with Dijsselbloem.

After the Dutchman -- also featured in the cartoon strip -- accused him of destroying EU efforts to resolve Greece's debt crisis Varoufakis retorted simply when they met: "Wow."

Varoufakis is now active in a pan-European pro-democracy movement, DIEM 25, urging greater transparency in the European Union.

Chryssa Ariadni Kousela, who created the cartoon strip, told Greek media that Varoufakis had not only given permission to be featured but had also sent four handwritten scripts which were reproduced in facsimile form at the end of the comic.

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