Romantically Apocalyptic 1-3
Artist(s): Vitaly S. Alexius
Writer(s): Vitaly S. Alexius
After the apocalyptic end of the world, a character known as “the captain” roams the devastated landscape so you, the reader, can wonder WTF is going on!
I was walking by the artist gallery, dodging stands and fans, when I saw the posters for this graphic novel on the walls of one particular stand and I was immediately intrigued.
Naturally I was cautious, since I despise that very common practice of putting amazing art in the covers and then not so great art inside, but upon perusing a few pages I was impressed. The artist was there in the table, so I asked about the price, and I think I was quoted something like $50.00. That gave me pause, because we are not talking $20.00 or even $30.00. here. I browsed the pages a bit more, and decided I liked what I saw. I also noticed that was selfpublished, and that made me more flexible with departing with my hard earned money.
The lady in charge of sales was not very talkative, and when I asked Mr. Alexius to sign the copy, he put it to the side for a while, before getting to it, despite there being no one else requiring his attention. I’ll chalk this one to him being distracted by some other matter that I wasn’t aware of.
Now, this is how I give a lesson to you, young (and not so young) readers on not judging an artist by his behavior or his personal quirks. If I were a scout trying to sign up Vitaly Alexius for a big contract, I may have walked away thinking that the brilliance of his art is not worth the business hassle of dealing with “another difficult artist”. Keryword here “I MAY have”.
But since I am walking in as a fan, as a art aficionado, I have no problem separating the artist who doesn’t give me the time of day from the man who is able to render such beautiful and powerful images, in this album I just picked up. He cares enough to invest in self-publishing it, and he cares not to cut corners, and make it on album format, with rich glossy paper.
Further attempts at trying to ask him questions about his graphic novel were met with laconic answers, so a the end of the day I couldn’t get more than a “yes, it is my first graphic novel”, and “no, I don’t have anything else to show right here”. I did get from him this feeling that he didn’t like calling his book a graphic novel, but I could be wrong on that.
This graphic novel stands on its own merits on account of two factors. One is the amazing art, and the other is the quarky balance of humor that crisscrosses the pages of this novel.
On the art department we should note that Vitaly Alexius understands contrasts to a degree that he transforms it to a whole artform in itself. Most of the pages of this novel are composed of splash pages with ominous colors and a degree of plasticity that will marvel the readers who prides themselves as art aficionados. One will read this novel once for the initial effect, but then you will read it again and again to dwell deeper into the many layers it has, as many layers as panels.
The only thing I would’ve advised Mr. Vitaly S. Alexius to add to this brilliant first graphic novel would be to allocate some to sketches or to how the style gets created and brought to life on paper. Otherwise, this is a very interesting, very well formed and mature piece of work from a relative young artists that is worth picking up and admiring.
Going to Vitaly S. Alexius Deviant art site we find samples and tutorials on how he designs his pages and from start to finish he does takes us through his creative process, and it is amazing.
I mean, we are in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, and the classic way of drawing comics should be considered extinct. I am not sure that is a good thing or not. But the reality is that it is so hard to find originals still being done in vellum paper, with India ink, that you pick up and can feel the pencil under your fingers, and smell the eraser on the originals.
More and more coloring gets done directly on the computers before sending them to print, and more and more art gets done digitally without ever seeing print before .. well… being sent to the presses. Prior the year 2000 most pencil work and ink work was sent back and forth between the collaborators via ups or fedex messengering services. Now a lot of the design gets done in computer, then a lossless file gets sent via e-mail, and the next link in the collaboration chain forwards the file electronically after his/her part is completed. Now, the end result is that there is a file sent to print, and a floppy sent to the kiosk or LCS, but… there are no originals per se to appreciate.
So Vitaly Alexius belongs to a breed of artists whose time has come! His art portrays wonderful world overlapping coloring and textures everywhere, but embracing a post-apocalyptic landscape.
He manages to make chiaroscuros a canvas onto which to splash the shock of his colors in oniric precision, bringing form, shapes, composition and antropomorphic figures to coalesce giving shape to a new landscape of dreams.
Vitaly Alexius dreams in color.
And we can read the adventures (or misadventures) of The Captain, or The Pilot, or the Snipper, and think that we are reading an adventure story, but that would be taking this comic enterprise too serious. This is a showcase on how to render dreams onto paper, and plaster them with colors that haunt you even after you close your eyes. This book is a tour deforce for an artists that has a lot to say, but not enought story to say it with, and we shoudln’t make the mistake of thinking that is irrelevant. I, for one, have no problems understanding that the art here is the whole story.
These images remain burned in my mind’s eye after I have closed the graphic novel. I love them and I am intimidated by them. To add shock value, the behavior attributed to the characters is uniquely cartoonish, which adds creep-out factor to the whole graphical novel. The captain is marvelously impervious to the horror that surrounds him, and that resonates strongly with us, readers, in adding shock and awe to Vitaly’s world.