The chaptered comic strip, has been collected into a 100-page graphic novel – and to the still-uninitiated:
It is not quite like anything you’ve probably ever seen before. The story follows “Zee Captain” and his sidekicks as they amble through a post-apocalyptic landscape. And while that hardly seems new and different, it’s the unusually superlative graphic quality of the comic cells and the Monty Pythonesque dialogues and leaps of logic that can become quite mesmerizing. Zee Captain, his face hidden by a gas mask that gives him a Darth Vaderish look, wears what looks like a Soviet Red Army uniform from WWII, and the strip does have nourish WWII feel. It’s as if the nuclear holocaust on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had never ended and spread to every major city on Earth. But how did author/artist Vitaly S. Alexius achieve the unique look of this strip? Fortunately for deviants, there are helpful tutorials on his profile page.
Alexiuss’s “cinematic comics” begin with backgrounds chosen from his own vast personal collection of landscape and architectural photographs which he accrued from his years working as a freelance commercial photographer. A layered matte background is achieved from several photo sources. The storyboarding comes next, whether drawn by alexiuss himself on napkins at the local diner or under more professional conditions by an assistant. Then Vitaly and his main cohorts don costumes to become the characters of Romantically Apocalyptic and there is a greenscreen shoot with Zee Captain and others in the proper poses to be inserted against the existing matte backgrounds. The final matte “painting” creates the look of cinema cells from a most amazing movie.
Beyond Romantically Apocalyptic, alexiuss’ profile page is a genuine wonderland, featuring his unique humor in several series of comics as well as contests of his own creation. He is currently soliciting donations for a points pool from which he intends to buy deviantART subscriptions for deserving artists, donate to deserving groups and create more engaging contests
Zee Captain demands your attention be turned to getting on board this wild ride that is the Alexiuss arts juggernaut. And Zee Captain generally gets what he wants.
Your “cinematic comic” Romantically Apocalyptic has become a worldwide phenomenon. Besides its being so unique, original and just so damn good, is there some sociological reason that you think might be driving its popularity at this point in time?
Possibly it is love for post-apocalyptic genre that drives the appreciation for the comic.
While you mastermind Romantically Apocalyptic , you have several collaborators, (some are deviantART members), who do storyboards, serve as actor/models, etc. What keeps them working on Zee Captain?
The same thing that keeps me working on Zee Captain - I love to create post-apocalyptic things and I love to share the said art with the world.
The captain is now on Facebook and Twitter. Can you speculate on the future of story narratives, in light of their increasingly serving multiple platforms in reaching their audience? Do you find this to be a pain – or a challenge?
Facebook and twitter captain provide the audience more interaction with the characters, which is lots of fun for both the creator and the audience and also they remind comic readers about release of new episodes for them to enjoy.
The sheer volume of hours you work to create each Romantically Apocalyptic episode’s panels, which includes storyboarding, greenscreen photography with live actors, and photoshop brushwork, would seem to be too massive an effort to expend on such a surreal, even “whimsical” narrative. Surely there is a message of some weight intended as we follow the semi-rational captain through the post-apoc wasteland? Do you want your fans to seriously ponder the abyss after having had their chuckle?
Yes. The fans must ponder the doom which the capitalist single-use machine is producing by slowly chipping away at the environment.
Do you still have time for your “straight” photography and non-Romantically Apocalyptic digital works, or has the captain commandeered your life wholly?
No time whatsoever, nor the studio for it. I've closed down my photography studio for the time being, as I am not even home half the time due to constant convention travels around the world. Most likely, this January I will be opening a large warehouse to shoot photography and the Romantically Apocalyptic live action series in.
Does the Romantically Apocalyptic story take place after the December 21, 2012 apocalypse? And if you and your team are still functional post-12/21/12, will Romantically Apocalyptic continue to be produced (more as a documentary than sci-fi, of course)?
Putting such dates on apocalypse is silly. The Romantically Apocalyptic story is taking place way after our lifetime, when the biosphere has been fully consumed, when all rivers have evaporated, all trees have died out, when all cities have run out of resources and the air has become too full of chemicals and too poisonous for humans to inhale without a mask.
for Artists On the Rise
Try all mediums possible.
Submit all attempts to deviantart and conceptart.org to receive critiques, to find friends and fans.
Improve all skills from perspective to anatomy.
Learn specific skills from online tutorials on deviantART and YouTube.
Don't be scared of showing your work EVERYWHERE. Promote as much as possible.