Interview with Viridian City Comic Strip Artist Ray Bruwelheide | Fanboys Anonymous

Interview with Viridian City Comic Strip Artist Ray Bruwelheide

Posted by Anthony Mango Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Team Rocket Giovanni Viridian City comic Pokémon noir TumblrArtist Ray Bruwelheide is the man behind the very interesting comic strip Viridian City, which depicts the world of Pokémon in stark contrast to what the series usually represents. Rather than appealing to the child in all of us, it is a much more adult, gritty, dark interpretation that evokes themes from crime dramas and horror/thriller mysteries with a noir feel.

When I came across this I thought it was particularly interesting, so I reached out to Ray to get some more information about where this idea came from.

Q: How did you originally get into Pokémon?

A: The same way everyone around my age did, I think. I was in 4th or 5th grade when it first came out, and I had a subscription to Nintendo Power at the time, so I was basically the perfect target demographic for it. Plus, all of my friends played it as well so it was inescapable.

Q: Everyone has a favorite Pokémon, so which one is yours?

A: I'm most familiar with generation 1, so the first that comes to mind is Kabutops, because an ancient crustacean horse-shoe crab Pokémon with blade arms is about as cool as it gets. I'm also partial to Blitzle and Crustle.

Q: What was your motivation for starting the Viridian City comic?

A: When I started it, I had a lot of free time and a well-paying job, so I wanted to make something that represented what I was thinking about at the time, and that ended up being a stylized, adult take on something that was really important to me as a kid.

Q: What did you draw from for inspiration? Was this interpretation based on anything in particular?

A: Well there's the obvious answer of "Pokémon and film noir," but more specifically I was looking at a lot of work by J.C. Leyendecker who was an amazing illustrator from that period (and later became Norman Rockwell's mentor) as well as plenty of Bioshock and the 2001 animated Metropolis.

Q: What are your thoughts on the reception it has received so far?

A: Mixed, honestly. I obviously love the positive reception it has received and all the great feedback, but the cynical part of me also realizes that on the Internet, it's easy to have formulaic success by combining two things people like or have nostalgia about. Most nerdy blogs these days are pretty full of posts like "My Little Game of Thrones Ponies" or "Breaking Bad Adventure Time" and it just seems so predictable.

Q: What are your plans for the future of Viridian City? Are you going to continue making up new strips?

A: Yeah, but slowly. The pages currently up were created in 3 batches with plenty of time between. I shot myself in the foot a bit by setting the level of detail so high. The pages look good in the end but require a lot of time.

Q: What other projects do you have under your name and coming up in the future that you want to let others know about?

A: I've got a game in the works that won't be seeing the light of day for a while, but new info on that and on future Viridian City stuff will show up first on my personal art tumblr

What do you think of Viridian City?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.