This interview is part of Up Up Down Down’s Associates series. There are a lot of awesome webcomics out there and these are some of the ones we love. You’ve probably seen their banners on our site. There are a lot of awesome webcomics out there and these are some of the ones we love. You’ve probably seen their banners on our site. Check out the full list of comics in our Associates tab. The next webcomic in our series is Romantically Apocalyptic by Vitaly S Alexius.

Romantically Apocalyptic is bold, extraordinary, and – most importantly – unique. It’s info pages announces its premise succinctly:

I am the captain.
The year is 20__ something something.
I stopped counting a while ago, and therefore not sure what day it is.
Humanity is virtually wiped out in a nuclear holocaust.
Me and my last squad: pilot and sniper, live in the wasteland ruins of tomorrow.
This is my story.
I am captain.

RA is created by Vitaly S Alexius and uses his own art style which he calls “Dreaminism” – a blend of photography and digital painting. If you’ve ever watched Vitaly work at a convention you can see how his talent extends beyond his artistry – he has a powerful presence on the floor. Vitaly was kind enough to share his process on deviantART here. Take a look: If you love his work as much as we do you can get a commission from him here Take a look at some of our favourite comics from the link collage above.

Where did you get the idea for Romantically Apocalyptic? How did you develop the ideas and characters?

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 greenscreen 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.

This creates a comic that can easily transfer to TV screen, which is what I’m currently doing- creating a pilot for the Romantically Apocalyptic TV show.

You’re a talented and unique artist who dabbles in a variety of work (CD covers, book covers, photography). What made you interested in webcomics?

I started drawing very simple comics with a pen when I was in 5th grade and I always wanted to create a hyper-detailed comic that I could share with as many people as possible, but wasn’t able to do it until I’ve discovered the technique of combining greenscreen with photoshop painting and posting the result online.

Is there any kind of work or commissions you’d like people to know about?

I do lots of CD and book covers, but it takes me a month for each so only the most interesting/dedicated clients are accepted.

Where does your sense of humour come from?

From my Russian-Canadian heritage, a combination of both cultures.

Tell us about the personality of your kitty.

My kitty is very hyper and jumps around everywhere.

I’ve seen you at trade shows and marveled at your website. Where does your innate marketing ability come from?

I enjoy spreading my work to as many people as possible, so I taught myself statistics and internet marketing.

What is your greatest hope for Dreaminism and Romantically Apocalyptic? Paint me an ideal picture of your work’s future.

A multi-million dollar live action film and tv series that goes on forever.

You’ve said of Siberian Russia that “life there is eternally an intense motion.” How does your life experience there influence your work now?

Living in Siberian Soviet Russia has given me a great art education and provided me with an experience of two lifetimes, since I now live in Canada, which is a very different life compared to Russia. In terms of just education in Siberia; I had high arts school Monday to Friday, where I painted sketched crafted for 4 hours daily, right after regular school for nearly two years and it was completely free. Compared to Canada, Toronto – such education doesn’t exist here and all the art schools are incredibly expensive. Akademgorodok, Siberia (a science city where I lived) had a surprisingly clear notion about green architecture as universities, roads and buildings were encased in deep forests with a web of gravel paths interconnecting buildings. I camped and hiked daily on these paths, right outside my apartment building. Walk far enough and all civilization will disappear, and before you, nothing but a green ocean as far as the eye can see; waves of wind running back and forth between tree foliage, whispering an arcane tune and colliding at the shores of mountains and steppes.

My very first art inspiration came to me in 1995, Novokuznetsk, Siberia. On the gabled cottage roof, covered in wooden planks, mouldings and swirly carvings, where I met a local artist. He was drawing some kind of forest on his canvas, via the view from the rooftop. I admired his glorious skill and pondered what it would be like to become an artist myself. Later on, I was enjoying a nice hike via the good old Trans-Siberian railway of the Soviet Union, while climbing various green mountains, covered with lush vegetation, with a group of good friends of that time.

Upon the climb, we sat on the mountain side, enjoying the mid-day sun bursting though the clouds, in an explosion of light rays that lived on their own accord, playing with the shadows of the mountains, forests, and fields below. The wind rolled about the fields, creating a magical, wavy sea of orange grasses. And from that moment on, I’ve said to myself: “Every artist has their style. Whatever shall mine be?” Whilst staring at those rays of light, I decided “I shall become the master of the landscape and the sky, and draw it in a manner as of a tasty delicacy, that can be consumed in large quantities via the spoon of visual perception – and thus the delectable sky, full of light rays that you see in most of my works now, was born.” It took me about 15 years to master those rays of light.

You’ve said it took you 15 years to master the interaction between rays of light and landscapes. What are you working on mastering now?

Directing actors and manipulating lighting in abandoned locations.

What piece of advice would you give an up and coming webcomic creator or (in a more general sense) artist?

Constantly add new content to your gallery! Don’t be afraid to exhibit your work on the internet. Submit it everywhere and show it everywhere and eventually your work will get noticed.