Eric Chats With Alex Grecian About Proof #15

Welcome to this week's Proof Positive where we start the new year with a definite bang! When we last left our heroes, Ginger, Elvis and Marc were adventuring in the series and Proof, Bella and the Dragon were about to finish the fight with the Thunderbirds. Sadly, things really didn't turn out as well as they could have. So with that, we start the conversation!

Eric: So, Alex, lets start things off with the new character working on the wolf. Who exactly is that?

Alex: That's Gordon Plum. He was introduced in the backup story way back in issue 10. Wayne's the caretaker of the habitat, but if you're going to have all those strange animals running around, you're going to need a veterinary staff and Gordon's the head of that. We'll be seeing more of him later this year.

Eric: Leander walking in and addressing the fairy as "that creature" came off a bit heartless, as if he suddenly didn't care for it. Any elaborating?

Alex: Well, no one much care for the fairies. The Lodge has an obligation to preserve the species, but they're nasty little critters. Leander's also feeling some pressure right now from the events of the last three arcs. Who knows, though, maybe there's something else going on there. I've already seen an interesting theory or two floating around online.

Eric: How is our Wolf friend faring? Did the ink monkey really help Gordon find the right thing to help him?

Alex: Yep. Rolf, the wolf, seems to be making a speedy recovery and we'll see him again pretty soon.

Eric: The fairy being tame... does that have any impact on the upcoming war?

Alex: Quite a bit actually. Man, these are definitely keep-reading-and-find-out sorts of questions. Hard to answer these without giving away the ballgame. :)

Eric: Well it's not my fault you like to foreshadow! Joe has decided to strike out on his own and rediscover himself a little, so does this mean that's the last we see him of him in the series? Or will he be coming back later down the road?

Alex: I'm pretty sure Joe'll be back. But he needs to discover himself. Once he knows what kind of person he wants to be, he'll have a beter notion of where he fits in the world.

Eric: Mi Chen Po and the Rabbi seem to know a lot about each other. Have they met before?

Alex: One unseasonably warm night in Paris, Mi-Chen-Po sent over a drink to our mysterious rabbi at a little hole-in-the-wall he frequented. There was something about the way the light glistened in the rabbi's beard that made Po abandon his inhibitions. They left the bar and walked around the city, talking until dawn. As the sun rose, the rabbi took off his boots and ran through the surf, laughing and tossing his sidelocks. Po's flight left that afternoon, but he's never forgotten the night they shared and he still does his best to stay kosher.

Or not. They did kind of act like they knew about each other, though, didn't they?

Eric: The battle in the sewers had Marc lose his hand but all he seemed to care about was his watch. Would you say that was him going into shock...or is he really that shallow?

Alex: That was definitely shock. The watch was a gift from Ginger and Marc knew he was losing her. So it became a stand-in for the sense of loss he was already feeling. He connected two traumatic events and sort of shut down his brain. Shock's an interesting phenomenon. I'm fascinated by the way our brains put things together and seem to generate non-sequitors.

Eric: Agents of the lodge aren't the brightest guys on the planet are they? Lighting the Thunderbird on fire? What was he thinking or is he a trainee?

Alex: Heh. Well, Dr. Tan and Isabella were there to help Proof, not fight or capture cryptids. They're field-trained, of course, but don't get a lot of practice. Tan wasn't aiming at the thunderbird, he was trying to send up a flare to get some help. He just should've pulled to the right a bit, I guess. :)

Now if Isabella'd had the flare gun, I imagine she would've taken the thunderbirds out on purpose. Her aim was pretty damn good in issue 13 when she shot the windigo with a flare.

Eric: Speaking of Isabella, there's some pretty obvious chemistry between her and Proof and she does seem to want him to ask her out?

Alex: Yeah, there was some question about whether she'd be open to the idea of going out with him. After all, they're different species and that could be kinda yucky. I've always hated stories where the beast-guy just automatically has an attractive human girlfriend. That shouldn't be an assumption. I'd think it'd be very hard for Proof to find a woman who'd be interested in him (not that he's necessarily looking). And there's no reason to think he'd be interested in any woman other than a sasquatch.

Anyway, she does seem to like him a lot.

Eric: The blind pastor once again speaks on faith towards John. Do you think that he really believes that John withheld his name intentionally? And I want to know what that joke was that John would tell him?

Alex: The preacher's charges, his angels, were burning up and there wasn't anything he could do about it. In fact, he was partly to blame for bringing Proof out there in the first place. So he was completely overreacting, being irrational. He's been a reasonable man up to this point, but here we're talking about a situation where his entire life as he knows it is going up in flames. Anybody'd be a little nuts about it.

As far as the joke goes, that'll have to wait until next issue. Proof really did have a joke to tell him.

Eric: Proof putting the mother in her place was a really touching moment. I take it he doesn't like to see bad parenting?

Alex: I wanted to include a Cryptoid on that page reminding readers that Proof doesn't remember his own mother, that he has no idea who his parents are, but probably assumes he was abandoned as a child. That Cryptoid ended up seeming too heavy-handed and I deleted it before the book went to print. I decided readers who were familiar with Proof's past could figure out the emotional beat going on there and new readers might just be confused by it.

So, no, he doesn't like bad parenting and won't put up with it.

I think there are a lot of great parents out there, but the vast majority of people probably have children for the wrong reasons or find themselves unable to disengage from their own lives long enough to develop good parenting skills. The example in Proof is of a woman who's put her own need to affirm her faith ahead of her child's needs and I think that's incredibly common. You've also got parallels with the mysterious rabbi and Joe, the mama thunderbird, and the preacher leading his flock.

In the preacher's case, though, he actually seems to be a reasonable person looking out for the "children" in his care. And the rabbi was very much a sad but proud father sending his son off to college. :)

Parenthood is a theme Riley and I plan to explore a lot more in Proof.

Eric: What exactly did Mi Chen Po do to Ginger in the sewers? Does she even remember meeting up with him?

Alex: Ginger's memory seems to have sprung a leak. She doesn't remember the last hour or so that she was down there. What happened to her probably won't be revealed for quite a while, but it's going to figure into "The Cryptid War" when we get there.

Eric: So, looking thoroughly at the cover it seems to me that it's symbolic of just how much of an overall trainwreck Proof's current mission became. Am I thinking too much into this one, Alex?

Alex: Ha! I wish I'd come up with that. I'd love to say yes, but the truth is both complicated and disappointing. Riley painted that particular picture a long time ago, just for the hell of it. And, based on that painting, I thought it might be a cool idea for Mi-Chen-Po to have found an abandoned subway tunnel and be using it to shuttle back and forth. I was going to have Joe derail a train under the city. But, strangely, we weren't going to use that picture as a cover. Riley's done a lot of paintings like that. Cool stuff, but for one reason or another, we decide not to use 'em.

Eventually, the subway idea turned out to be too awkward and I ditched it. We also ditched Riley's original cover because it was a close-up of Mi-Chen-Po which would have blown the surprise at the end of issue 13. Readers would have seen the cover of 15 before reading 13. So at the last minute, I grabbed that painting and sent it to Image and that's what we ended up with.

The train was, finally, representative of nothing at all, but Proof's got his mad on and that's definitely symbolic of his attitude.

Or maybe Riley subconsciously meant it to be symbolic of the mission's failure. :)

I've been told that some folks think it's our best cover. Riley's started painting them all now, so beginning with issue 17, there'll be a long string of really striking covers.

Eric: Finally, what's coming up in 16? What can people look forward to?

Alex: The funeral of the agent who was killed in issue 13... The return of the Dover Demon... Proof and Ginger reach a decision about their partnership... Elvis gets some very bad news... A new agent joins The Lodge... 'Bembe, the baby dinosaur gets stuck... A new relationship blossoms for one of the agents... And a familiar face returns with a big surprise!

Lots and lots of stuff in an issue that's much like numbers five and nine, where everybody regroups at The Lodge and gets ready for the next mission. Those are turning out to be my favorite issues to write.

As usual thanks go to Alex for taking the time to do this commentary. Join us for part one of the next Proof positive in issue 16 and then join us right back here at Comic Related for part 2 where Riley Rossmo joins us for the column. See you then!

Preview Proof #15!

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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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