Eric Chats With Alex Grecian About Proof #24

Proof Positive returns! After an issue with the printers for a few weeks, issue #24 has arrived on stands with a cool story involving Joy, the male fairy that was adopted by Nadine. Alex and I go over a lot in the one so I'll just jump right into the interview.

Eric: So I can officially say that you made me tear up a little with this issue, Alex. Evil!

Alex: That's usually my goal, Eric. Although I'm hoping to make you wet yourself next month.

Eric: So male fairies can speak in English? Or was our new little friend taught by his surrogate mother?

Alex: He was taught. At roughly six months old, he's already bilingual. So are his sisters, since they can clearly understand English. They just don't speak it.

Eric: The Pinocchio captions... Is that actual prose from the original story?

Alex: That's the original prose. (Well, it's been translated. I can't read Italian.) Most people only know this story from having watched the Disney version (which is great too). But there's so much cool and creepy stuff to play with in the original book.

Each of the Proof stories, so far, has been loosely modeled on a classic children's story (to varying degrees). I planned, from the moment the first arc ended, to tell Joy's story as a riff on Pinocchio. You've got a real little boy, gradually turning into a statue, a puppet, which is the Pinocchio story turned upside-down, just as Proof's overall story is really Tarzan turned upside-down. The same themes crop up over and over in this book.

As has been pointed out to me, I was much more explicit with the Pinocchio parallels than I usually am with these things. Generally speaking, you may not even notice the Bambi or Peter Pan references in Proof, but I lifted directly from Collodi's book for a couple of reasons: The parallels were so fun to play with, and I had much less room to maneuver than I usually do.

This story was originally planned as a double-sized annual and, at one point, I was going to draw it myself. That wouldn't have been good, though. When Chris expressed interest in drawing an issue of Proof, I knew this was the story for him and I whittled it down to fit his schedule. I think it turned out great.

Eric: How long has Wayne known that Nadine is harboring the fairies? I thought it was supposed to be a secret.

Alex: It was. But how long do you suppose she could keep that kind of secret from Wayne? I kind of floated that out there to see if people would notice. What's especially interesting about that for me is whether or not Wayne has told Leander and Proof about the three domesticated fairies. Given Leander's opinion of fairies, do you think he knows about them?

Eric: Knowing Leander he'd probably try to separate them from their mother, which would just damage things at this point. How does Wayne take care of them?

Alex: I think of Wayne as the kindly uncle who stops in to make sure everybody's doing okay.

Eric: Now if that wasn't some heavy foreshadowing by the Demon, I don't know what is. Care to elaborate on that scene at all sir?

Alex: I assume you're talking about the bit where he says that Joy both will and will not see The Demon again? For that, you're gonna have to wait for "Who Killed the Dover Demon."

Eric: Going into Joy as a character a bit, he seems like a good kid overall. He and his sisters really don't strike me as all that violent, similar to the domesticated fairy that hangs around with our ink monkey. Is it because of who they've been brought up by?

Alex: Sure. Nadine's a very smart critter with a strong maternal instinct. And once all four of the domesticated fairies were removed from their environs and exposed to other cultures, they've proved to be a pretty adaptable species. How integrated they can actually become remains to be seen. I will say that the three children have a leg up on the fully-grown fairy Tink. They've really never known a life in which their own kind weren't trying to eat them.

Eric: Wayne is probably one of your best characters sir! Looking forward to #25, which I know most readers won't know, but you guys decided to push back the date correct?

Alex: Yes. In order to keep some gap, we've pushed back #25. But then 26-28 may come out a little faster, since it's all a dense interconnected mini-arc.

Eric: Moving on to a little bit more of Joy's journey in the issue he meets the very awesome and in my opinion beautiful wolf known as Rolf. How did Rolf know to help Joy and why did he not go any further with him?

Alex: Why Rolf helped Joy has more to do with the special properties of male fairies than anything to do with the wolf's intelligence or a canine agenda. I think Rolf is a rare and cool-looking wolf of average wolfish intellect. But living on the habitat, Rolf would definitely know to stay well away from fairies. Once they neared Colonel Dachshund's compound, which is surrounded by wild fairies, Rolf knew he'd be eaten alive if he got any closer.

Eric: Were Joy's cousins trying to tear into him or were they curious as to what he is?

Alex: Oh, I thought we communicated a certain sense of wonder with Joy smiling and reaching out to them as they crowded around. A pre-adolescent male fairy would be in no danger at all from a pack of females. In fact, they'd be very protective of him. There are far fewer males than females and, much like bees, the males have a single duty within the community. The females would want to make sure he reaches maturity.

Eric: The Colonel was extremely interesting here. He felt a little Hannibal Lectorish to me here as he revealed bits of information to Joy. Were you going with a creepy vibe here or were readers supposed to pick up on something?

Alex: Creepy, sure. But also quite confident. That wasn't the last scene you'll see between those two.

Eric: So what Nadine has been doing to the three fairies, is it at all dangerous to them or is it something that doesn't hurt them in the long run?

Alex: Hemochromatosis is an extremely rare disease, but bleeding really is still used to treat it. In fact, that's the only known treatment. (Leeches are making something of a comeback in several branches of medicine right now.) So Nadine's doing the correct thing for her kids by bleeding them every so often. The fact that she consumes the blood is just an added attraction for her.

Eric: Joy's threat and The Colonel's elated reaction to it, do you think he hopes for a challenge from the boy in battle one day?

Alex: Oh, absolutely. In fact, even if he could escape the Habitat, do you think he would?

Eric: He helped found it, right? So wouldn't that mean The Colonel knows the place like the back of his hand?

Alex: Things've probably changed a bit since he left, but yeah, he was one of the five founding members of The Lodge and he has more tricks up his sleeve than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Eric.

Eric: This is just a guess on my part, but is it safe to say Joy will have a big part in the upcoming war?

Alex: That is safe to say, yes.

Eric: I'm actually surprised by Nadine in this issue because of the maternal nature she seems to have changed a lot from when we first met her. Do you think some of it's an act or does she really care about these three as if they were really her own children? Can chupacabras in the Proof-verse have offspring?

Alex: As opposed to chupacabras in the real world? ;)

There's no doubt in my mind that Nadine and her children are a real family. She really does care for and nurture them and, as far as I know, she has no agenda for them other than to grow up well. Looking back to the ending of the first trade, Nadine always had a strong maternal streak. When she thought that her skin might allow her to play mother to Elvis, she was delighted, and when he rejected her she was crushed. The three babies filled a loss for her that may have been feeding some of her early hostility (we haven't explored why she's so maternal yet). That doesn't mean she'd be a good houseguest, but I think she's probably a great mother.

As for whether she can give birth, I suppose much of that would rest on whether or not she's found a compatible mate. You think she has? I guess it's a big habitat.

Eric: I guess my thoughts behind the Nadine thing lay behind the nail being baked into the pie and her seeming a little bit evil there. I forgot about the scene with Elvis and how sad she was when he rejected her. Do you think he'll ever be able to make peace with her?

Alex: Nope.

Eric: So question about the letters page, exactly how much fan mail does Dave Casey get? ;)

Alex: Not as much as he should.

Eric: I think Dave is awesome, and should get more praise. He just adds so much to Riley's artwork that he deserves a little praise.

Alex: He certainly does. We love Dave.

Eric: How did Nadine gain the piece of joy's father? I thought that was a really interesting moment where he placed it on the stump.

Alex: Hmm. Well, Nadine isn't allowed to go all the way to the fairy section of the Habitat, so someone with access, someone who was there for the cleanup operation when Joy's father was found, must've kept it and given it to Nadine later. Wonder who that might've been. (Actually, you'll find out in #27.)

Eric: Oh, and the cover for #25... There's a Mongolian death worm in The Lodge?!

Alex: Well, not right now, there isn't.

Eric: So it's safe to say issue #25 is going to be huge from both a storytelling standpoint and special content? Well worth whatever it costs. Tease away!

Alex: Well, I hate to give anything away, but I will say that the unicorn returns after taking Proof's virginity in Proof #75 (which is in the past, since #25 is set in the future) to stab everything in sight. It's gonna be bloody and kinky and disturbing and you'll put the comic book down feeling very strange and much less sure of your sexuality than you thought you were. Break out the leather chaps before you read #25!

Major characters will die and allegiances will surprise you. Also, stabbing unicorns.

With that, we wrap for this month, join us back here next time as we talk issue #25!

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Eric Ratcliffe is a young writer/pop culture journalist/interviewer currently working on pitching a project named the Hunter chronicles. When not reading his weekly stack Eric can be found watching dvd's, playing on his 360 (gamertag: Zack Hunter) or just surfing online trying to find a scoop or two. Brand new to the Comic Related family, Eric is a fun new voice.

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