Tease of the Month: Vitaly S Alexius

Conceptualized by Vitaly S Alexius in 2005 as a series of post-apocalyptic paintings, the web-comic was up by 2010. And with the years, it turned into a collaborative multimedia art project of epic proportions. This online graphic narrative is far from crude lines and humour. It is an amalgamation of poetry, prose, photography, digital art, music, film and of course, some great humour!

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Romantically Apocalyptic (RA) introduces us to a man dressed up as a Gestapo officer in a gas mask. Popularly known as Zee Captain, the best way to describe the protagonist of Romantically Apocalyptic is perhaps ‘stark raving mad’. In a world so bleak and gloomy, his bursts of insanity makes me realize that no matter what sort of a hell-hole you are stuck in, you need to have the time of your life!

With the Sniper, the Pilot and the Engineer for company, this webcomic takes you through not just the horrors society has to offer in a post-apocalyptic world, it also makes you squee with glee as cuteness unfolds. In a world plagued with zombies and horrifying beasts, it is tough to imagine cute or funny blend in seamlessly. But the RA team does perfect justice to it. Breaking away from the tradition of crude line drawings and humour that most web-comics love to adopt, RA is not any other webcomic. It is one of the most beautiful graphic novels I have seen online. And it really doesn’t feel wrong to claim that it is also one of my absolute favourites!

For those who wrinkle their noses at the thought of Photoshop playing an integral part of a comic, it is time for you to explore the world that Alexius has created. After all, such imagination and execution is not very usual in this realm.

Excerpts from our exclusive and hilarious interview with Vitaly S Alexius:

ST: How would you introduce the webcomic to those who are uninitiated?
VSA: Romantically Apocalyptic is a post-apocalyptic, adventure, cyberpunk, sci-fi, cinematic comedy!

ST: You have a 100 pager to go along with the webcomic. That is making a lot of people on the internet call you overly ambitious. What are your thoughts on that?
Who are these people? I demand names!
I wouldn’t call us overly ambitious, I’d say the project is run by a hard-working team.

ST: How do you create each comic? Do you write it out before and then tackle the art? Or do you have a special formula?
VSA: First I go out and shoot abandoned buildings. Doing such is dangerous as hell and also thrillingly fun. (I fell onto a dirty pile of broken glass once).
Next, comes script writing in gmail. Why Gmail? Because it saves things automatically and then I can mail the script to others.After the script follow storyboards. The are sketchy.
Next part splits into 2 possible paths:
1)If we are at a convention and unable to access the studio, the storyboards are turned into digital paintings drawn from scratch in Photoshop by our team of freelance artists.
2)Following the storyboards, we shoot actors in our Toronto studio on greenscreen.
These photographs are then inserted into Photoshop with backgrounds taken from our Urban Exploration trips or painted from scratch, depending on how crazy the art gets. The more crazier frames requires lots more painting.

ST: What are two things you absolutely love about your webcomic and what are two things that you don’t really like about it?
VSA: I enjoy how detailed RA is.
I dislike how it’s not detailed enough (so I secretly update old episodes once a week, while no-one’s looking)
I love RA cosplayers, as they make the characters come to life.
I dislike grumpy people who feel the need to point out that cosplayers are (insert anything negative here).