Protagonist Kat from Shawn Atkins web comic "Gello Apocalypse"
This month I had the privilege of speaking with featured artist, Shawn Atkins. Proving himself to be as fun and animated as his artwork, Shawn demonstrates strength as a visual artist and a creative storyteller. Both as author and illustrator of his web comic Gello Apocalypse, Shawn has complete creative control of the characters and their interactions which results in an ongoing story (with an updated issue posted every Wednesday). In speaking with Shawn, his dedication to and love for his characters and their stories is clear.
The players in the aforementioned comic reside in fictional Apocalypse, Ohio; appropriately, the artist reigns from Fremont, Ohio. While growing up in Ohio, Shawn dabbled in comics, but it was not until attendance to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and an introduction to Pittsburgh’s comic art scene that his passion began to flourish. Shawn received a degree in Media Art and Animation from AI in 1999, and has continued to produce comics and cartoons since.
Gello Apocalypse follows a group of friends, led by protagonist Kat, described as “easily confused but always full of spunk.” My favorite character of this troupe of misfit friends, Mechanical Mike Three, a robot constructed by Kat who does “robot stuff.”
Though none of his characters are directly inspired by Shawn’s friends or family members, Shawn acknowledges that every once in a while he notices character attributes that are familiar. Every so often, he says, he will read through his comics and a character’s expression or statement will remind him of himself; an aspect unintended at the point of creation. Also unintended, Shawn says that friends have stated they see Shawn’s superhero Thundergirl and Gello Apocalypse’s Kat as sharing similar attributes to Shawn’s wife.
In addition to Gello Apocalypse, Shawn creates weekly comics alongside Seth Fronzoli on Explorers of the Universe, his other web comic. This comic follows Diego, Alyssa, Tim, Jane, and John as they journey through life. Each character possesses a super ability giving the comic a science-fiction adventure premise. Both websites are easy to navigate and are complete with chapters, character biographies, and a funny and creatively structured FAQ.
In addition to his web comics, Shawn also posts his various drawings and characters on Gello Apocolypse (images sprinkled amidst this text). Not to be missed in these, aside from the obvious strength in concept and creative, is the success in rendering. The figures’ shapes have a loose quality, yet overall appear exactly as they are intended with great visual power (check out Hines Ward!).
The artist’s most recent work is below. An example of one of his superheroes, Crystal pays homage to one of Shawn’s inspirations and artistic idols, Jack Kirby, co-creator of many well-known Marvel characters such as those in Fantastic Four and X-Men. Crystal possesses beauty and sass, not unlike Gello’s hero Kat.
As this is simply a teaser, be sure to visit Shawn’s comics at the following links. These have been deemed “Not Safe for Work” by the artist himself so audience discrepancy is suggested.
To join Kat and her friends in Apocalypse and to enjoy Shawn’s non-Gello related artwork, click below:
And the next link will allow you to begin a journey with Explorers of the Universe: