Today we talk to Vitaly S. Alexius, the producer behind “Romantically Apocalyptic,” a humorous Webcomic set in a post apocalyptic landscape. www.romanticallyapocalyptic.com
CHECKPOINT: What is Romantically Apocalyptic about?
VITALY S. ALEXIUS: “We find that the average-there are a number of different size atomic bombs. The total devastation varies, but they average on this Earth map here… If they are expertly spread out, you’ll find we really get a complete coverage of all humanity”. Excerpt from Buckminister Fuller’s lecture, “The World Game”.
From the darkest dreams of imagination in my starkly-realistic and highly-detailed style “Dreaminism” I bring to my viewers, visions of the future that will inevitably come to pass if mankind’s planet-wide industrial machine isn’t adjusted in time. I have stood witness to a fall of a Nation and great noble ideals.
I have seen Russian cities ravaged by human carelessness, industrialization, depression, oppression, crime and war. I have seen science fail and unleash death in the dark cases of Chernobyl and the Aral Sea “accidents”. My vision is that of a Romantic artist, with one exception – to showcase not just the destructive power of nature, but also the destructive power of man.
Also, it contains lots of fun dark humour as even in times of darkness we have to find something to smile about to survive.
What prompted you to create Romantically Apocalyptic?
I have a hobby called “urban exploration,” which basically involves finding abandoned buildings, exploring them, and photographing them. It is a lot of fun to witness fall of human structures and decay that immediately takes over buildings, eroding the walls, chipping paint, cracking floors- nature consuming all we’ve created over just a couple of decades if a building is left without humans.
Often these buildings are filled with deadly chemicals/asbestos/dust, so I wear a 3M safety mask. This mask is where the captain’s face comes from- he wears the exact same mask, except he constantly lives in the future where everything has been poisoned and destroyed. I always wanted to do a comic/have been pestered by my fans to create a “series” based on my post-apocalyptic paintings, but for a long time I had no idea how to do it, until I’ve moved into a house that had a green screen studio in the basement.
At around the same time, I bought a police hat at a local garage sale. After taking several photos of my friend in the hat and mask, I decided that this would be an awesome way to create a comic – combining photography and illustration, the way matte painters do it for Hollywood films.
In a Digital Painting Tutorial (http://abduzeedo.com/digital-painting-tutorial-vitaly-alexius) you said that you ‘love to research before starting a piece.’ What kinds of research did you do for Romantically Apocalyptic?
Online – to find abandoned structures or cities torn apart by natural disasters or man-made weapons.
In the real world – during my travels to comic conventions and urban exploration trips.
Zee Captain is a memorable character, particularly because of Zee Captain’s odd personality traits and constantly carrying a cup of tea in the middle of a post-apocalyptic landscape. What were some inspirations for Zee Captain?
Quirky characters like: “Zim” from TV show “Invader Zim”, “Bender” from the TV show “Futurama” and “Ostap Bender” from Russian novel “The Twelve Chairs”.
Do you think that a project like Romantically Apocalyptic would have been possible pre-Internet? If so, what might have been different?
Yes, but it woudn’t have been read by as many. The earliest post-apocalyptic humorous comic featuring gas-masked heroes was “Goodbye, Soldier!” by Juan Gimenez from April, 1981, Heavy Metal.
Like Juan, I would simply have to find/work for a paperback publisher for my comic to reach an audience and the comic wouldn’t be anywhere as detailed as traditional mediums take far longer than digital to work with.
What types of tools/software/hardware do you use?
1)my SLR camera with external flashes and greenscreen
5)props for characters
Anything else you’d like to add?
Read RA www.rom.ac or we will take away your precious moon with our moon exploding laser.