✮ Helltropolitan

What is Helltropolitan exactly?

Helltropolitan is a comic series that follows the insane, miserable, comical young adult lives of childhood friends Martha & Sophie— with the occasional appearance of the straight up bizarre people they meet. Their stories vary in length from short gags to graphic novelizations.

Their hometown is a caricature of the quintessential “city”. A sizzling hotbed of showbiz, real estate, drugs, and consumer debt. The exact name or location of this city isn’t important, because it’s everywhere. It could be Portland, Seatle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, New York, or maybe even Vancouver- you might live there and not even know it.

With Martha finishing up her senior year of highschool and Sophie freshly moved out struggling to make ends meet on a slew of minimum wage jobs, they seem to be at the worst possible place at the worst possible time. Can they still eke out an existence in a world like this?

(Probably, they’re cartoon characters.)

Where can I find it?

Here, you can find them over at Tapas and Webtoon as well. If they’re reposted anywhere else, I’d appreciate a link back to my website if possible.

I also post a lot of development updates, sketches, and bits of trivia on my instagram @ramen_rampage under the tag #helltro.

Art Direction

I was partly inspired by Ralph Bakshi’s films to try blending cartoons and gritty looking urban photography together for the comic. A lot of locations you see in the artwork for Helltropolitan don’t actually exist; They’re just multiple photos cut together and color manipulated to fit the mood of the scene. I do a majority of the photography spontaneously with my crummy phone camera whenever I’m out somewhere visually interesting.

The thick lined version of my style I went for was almost spiritually ripped off from a combination of 2000s era cartoons and Archie. I was also somewhat inspired to use a faux-newsprint texture from those comics. The visual clash between these cartoony candy colored characters and drab realistic backgrounds helps the comic strike a certain balance between fun & disturbing that makes it what it is. I’ve also heard a lot of people describe the comic as having a pop art look.

Concept Art

Because I use real photos for backgrounds, I also design custom props from time to time. A lot of them tend to be a little horrifying.

Custom Props

I also enjoy adding random templates and face crops to some of my comic uploads to be abused, feel free to use them however you see fit.