This is an exclusive interview in which we talk to creator Arin Leviti about his new interactive graphic novel Atlantis: The Last Survivor. Currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign, Atlantis is looking to be released on iTunes as a unique graphic novel experience.
What is Atlantis: The Last Survivor about?
Atlantis is the dark story of the last times of the lost continent of Atlantis. It is told from the perspective of Agathon, the young son of a member of the resistance and Phile, the demigod daughter of Poseidon. The once paradise on earth is now a mere shadow of itself, strangled by a sect of religious tyrants that managed to poison the source of energy that sustained humans and the creatures that gave them the means of civilisation, the so called gods.
What appeals to you about the legend of Atlantis?
The legend of Atlantis serves as a warning of what could happen if we don’t take care of what we have. And I love the idea of a world where gods and humans are united!
Did you look at previous portrayals of Atlantis for inspiration?
Nope! I didn’t want to. I read pretty much everything about the legend and I knew I wanted to write a story about our world but set 12,000 years ago. That was my main goal and I still think it’s what makes Atlantis unique.
What kind of research did you carry out for the project?
I read a lot. Most of my ideas came from Plato‘s Timaeus and Edgar Cayce‘s transcriptions of his psychic sessions. None of these are historically accurate, but this gave me a great deal of creative freedom. I used that as a frame, a guiding pattern within which to create the characters and the story.
Can you describe the characters of the story?
The main character, Agathon, begins as the rebel son who indulges in a dangerous, forbidden love affair with a demigoddess and rejects his parents spiritual beliefs. When his parents are murdered before him by the ruling, religious tyrants, he finally sees the truths they’ve been trying to teach him. He is in love with Phile, the only god who still visits the land she once shared with the humans. She’s torn between her love for Agathon and Poseidon’s disapproval. The High Priestess is the last of a lineage of Tyrants that managed to impose a totalitarian agenda by poisoning the flux, the life force that sustains men and gods alike. Temacles is a member of the resistance and dear friend of Agathon’s father. He managed to infiltrate the oligarchy to carry out the plans of the resistance group, The Circle Society. Poseidon is the leader of the creatures that chose earth as a new home after their planet had been destroyed by a horrible war. He saw in humankind a hope for the future but little did he know about what was going to happen in the following centuries…
Looking at the Kickstarter page, you seem to have created an interesting setting for your story. Can you describe the world of Atlantis?
Atlantis is a dying world. The past of the once glorious kingdom has been erased and forbidden. Its people have lost touch with true spirituality and are now driven by fear and greed. The ultra modern City of the Golden Gates itself is built on top of ancient stone structures to cover every possible sign of what used to be the cult of the pagan gods. The few pockets of hope are the members of the Circle Society, the bearers of the truth and ancient wisdom.
Atlantis will be published as a digital app. Do you think that digital media is the way forward?
Absolutely. The digital medium gives creators a new set of tools, really expresses the full potential of graphic story telling. But I also think that hard copies will never lose their appeal, we love objects too much!
How will the fact that it will be a digital publication make Atlantis unique?
I think this medium offers a completely different experience from a paper comic or graphic novel. You can hear and watch moving images while you’re reading the comic. Coming from a film background, the ability to play in a digital, visual medium feels natural and helps me convey a full experience more than print does. I can highlight the more poignant moments with music, sound effects, powerful animations and visual effects. It’s still a relatively uncharted territory, digital interactive graphic novels have only recently started to gain popularity, and I imagine I’ll learn and discover more about this medium as we build it.
You directed the successful short Spring Rolls. Do you have any further film making plans?
Not at the moment. I’ve got a few scripts that I’d like to produce but I’d also like to write more for comics. Comics/graphic novels fans have always been very receptive to new ideas and stories and this is the kind of public that I’d like to write for in the coming years.
Atlantis: The Last Survivor has an impressive group of collaborators working on it. How did this team come about?
I met Malinda [Coler] in Italy through a friend in 2006 when she was teaching English in Milan. She started working for Tall Chair in 2011, a couple of months before I pitched my story about Atlantis to her. She loved the story and we’ve been working together on its realization ever since. I met Denis [Medri] through a friend last year and was stunned by his art. He was equally impressed with my script and the opportunity to work in a digital medium. To complete the team, I reconnected with Liz [Cirelli], my composer for Spring Rolls.
Do have any upcoming projects that you are working on?
Yes, a story about a ghost and his lover set in Paris during an imaginary Belle Epoque, drawn in the style of Alphonse Mucha, one of my favourite artists. I’d rather not say more about it at this time…
Learn more about Atlantis: The Last Survivor and show your support on the Kickstarter page!