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Eric Chats With Alex Grecian About Proof #25

Welcome back, dear readers, as Proof Positive returns to Comic Related! Yes, it's been a few months but the wait was well worth it as Alex and I discuss issue #25 and Alex does his best to be vague in some areas. Issue #25 was a jump a year into the future to see just what happened to the lodge and some of our characters. So let's hop right in!

Eric: So Alex, to start of this edition I just wanted to say congratulations on issue #25, it's a big thing for any comic to be lasting this long in the current market. I know you guys must be pretty happy about it.

Alex: Thanks. Yes, we're extremely happy and grateful that we've connected with enough readers to keep Proof going this long. As you say, it's rare to make it this far in the current market (with virtually no support for indy books) and we owe a lot of it to the folks who continue to talk our book up all over the Internet.

Eric: With the snag in production does this mean that 26 through 28 are completed and will come out on time with no major delays?

Alex: Um... We'll see. :) The delay really took its toll on us and slowed us down. When you're not seeing the book come out, it's hard to stay focused on continuing to produce it. I don't think we'll see another delay like this one, though. Twenty-six is done and ready to go and we seem to be back on track.

Part of the reason for our upcoming hiatus is so that we can make sure delays like this don't happen again.

Eric: Speaking of the hiatus, is it still only planned to be a 4 month break?

Alex: I'm actually not sure where that number came from because I've tried to be kind of vague about how long the break will be. We want it to be as short as possible, but we're not going to come back until we're sure that we won't face anymore big delays. I guess you could say we're shooting for four months.

Eric: So getting into the issue a little...was that a Thunderbird the colonel was riding? I thought they were all lost?

Alex: It was. And the flock that Proof encountered in Illinois was indeed wiped out at the end of #15, but we never said there weren't more. You'll see where they came from soon enough. ;)

Eric: I was under the impression that after that arc the Thunderbirds were gone as a species and that's why it hit the team so hard. Obviously that's not the case?

Alex: The Lodge was under that impression. Our team is going to be learning a lot of new things pretty soon. Among them that Mi-Chen-Po has his own Lodge somewhere in Tibet (which he revealed in a backup story a few months ago). What he keeps there is anybody's guess, but I'd say Thunderbirds and Blue Men might be good bets.

Eric: The cover of the issue has the countdown to season 2 - is this to entice new readers or make sure that the long-term readers understand the book isn't going anywhere?

Alex: It's really there because Richard Starkings suggested to me that it might be a good idea to count down to the relaunch. That guy knows his stuff. Yeah, we absolutely wanted to assure our readers that we're not going away, we're counting down to something big.

Eric: If you don't mind me asking - and this is something I've been wanting to get into with Proof Positive for a while - what is the history of the Blue Men as cryptids? I have absolutely no knowledge of them and am definitely curious to the real world mythology of the creatures.

Alex: Yeah, they're pretty obscure. They're a Scottish merbeing, kind of creepy male versions of mermaids that supposedly live in systems of undersea caverns. They would apparently swim alongside ships to lure sailors into the water, but mermaids seem more likely to accomplish that with the average sailor, so nobody really knows where this particular idea came from. They had bluish gray skin and, when I started writing Proof, I just knew that I wanted to see Riley draw these things. For our purposes, they seem likely to be mistaken for zombies when they're out of the water.

Eric: So I got to a certain page last night and smiled when I saw this creature; how long have you been wanting to have a Mothman in Proof? And is it just my imagination or is it possible he could be connected to another cryptid from the series?

Alex: We've planned the Mothman from the beginning, but needed to wait for a specific point to introduce him. I was able to cheat with this jump ahead, so we introduced him BEFORE we're going to introduce him. Tricky, huh?

And I'm not sure which other character you think he might be connected to, so I'll just pretend I don't understand that question. ;)

Eric: You just added like 5,000 layers to the rabbi character. He was working with both the Colonel and Wayne?

Alex: Seems like it. He's pretty mysterious. I wanted a big surprise character, and the rabbi fit the bill perfectly since readers still don't know his motivations. Of course, by showing him there, I hope everyone will now wonder where Joe was and which side of The Cryptid War he was on. The rabbi's involvement illustrates that there are actually three sides to the war: The Lodge, Mi-Chen-Po and, afterward, Dachshund's side. Which side was Dachshund on DURING the war, though? Yeesh! What a complicated issue this was to write.

Eric: So this Mothman can be expected to be a bigger character in season 2? I know I'm one reader who's definitely looking forward to finding out more about him. I think Riley's design for him was really cool as well.

Alex: Yes, the Mothman will definitely be a recurring character in season two. Riley's design is bad-ass. He had a couple of other initial designs that were pretty cool too, but we wanted to go with something that was as close as possible to the actual witness descriptions of this thing, but have it work from a biological standpoint. Moths and butterflies have big fake eye patterns in order to scare off potential predators and that seemed to make a lot of sense if this thing is somehow related to those species. (And, neither here nor there, the Mothman sightings are the only cryptid stories that actually creep me out. So we'll be exploring this character quite a bit in season two.)

Eric: I really think that your writing is incredibly strong here especially with characters like Joy and even Rolf who I assume will also both be getting some big screen time in season 2?

Alex: First of all, thank you. Issue 25 is dicey. It's an experiment and I figure a lot of readers might hate it. I'm hoping those readers revisit it later and find clues in it that they didn't see before and maybe re-evaluate their opinions. But it was a real gamble.

Joy's sticking around for the rest of season one, then he'll be absent for a while. And Rolf's one of my favorite characters, so he'll be around.

Eric: I'm sure someone will yell at me if I don't ask this: Where's the ink money?

Alex: It's been a while since we've seen Qi, hasn't it. He'll pop up again before the end of the season, no worries.

Eric: So the Colonel made me cringe a couple times with a few of his comments towards Wayne. Is he homophobic or just an asshole?

Alex: Let's say Colonel Dachshund isn't the most enlightened guy in the world. But that doesn't mean he's necessarily homophobic. He was trying to get under Wayne's skin. Obviously, it didn't work. Oh, and yeah, he's an asshole.

Eric: Wayne kind of becomes a badass huh? The stuff with the pistol as well as becoming a bit of a strategist with the cryptids he has in his army?

Alex: Wayne's going to go through some big changes, even before the end of season one. You might be surprised. But remember, Wayne Russet was once Proof's partner before he retired. He'd know a thing or two about guns.

Eric: The Colonel had a staff made of a female fairy? Is that what happened with Joy? That scene confused me a little bit.

Alex: That staff has quite a bit of history. Autumn was carrying it in this issue and Dachshund picked it up after she dropped it. Previously, the staff was carried by Mi-Chen-Po in his modern-day appearances and we hinted (in the "Julia" arc) that the staff might be made out of the skull and spinal column of Thomas Lent. For Dachshund's purposes, it was hard enough to crack a fairy-father's skin (like the stick Leander used way back in #2).

As we established in #2, once a female fairy mates with a male, she hollows him out, killing him in the process. Tink, the tame female fairy (Wayne found her while cleaning out Autumn's locker in, I think, #11's backup story), has apparently mated with Joy and is pregnant. But she hasn't finished hollowing Joy out. So when Dachshund hit his leg, it didn't kill Joy, but it did cripple him.

Hope that clears up that complicated bit of continuity. ;)

Eric: I loved the pinups, like flat out loved them. Did you contact guys like Ken Niimura or did they approach you guys? I know Tim Seeley is a friend and I didn't recognize some of the other names on the list. I'm really curious about the process there.

Alex: I sent out a sort of blanket invitation, through Image, to any other Image creators who might like to contribute to the issue. Niimura was one of the first to respond and, if I remember correctly, got his pinup in before anybody else did. Some of the pinups were from friends (like Tim) and from guys who are working with me on other projects (Chris Grine on "RocketBots," Menton Matthews on "Sin Eater," and John Amor on "Silverback"). It was amazing to see all their different takes on our characters and they're all terrific. I was even lucky enough to receive Jimmy Robinson's original from him in San Diego. It's here in my office now.

Eric: So karma finally caught up with Autumn in the future huh?

Alex: It did. And I don't expect anyone to notice this, but the last words she hears (from The Mothman) are from her very first page, back in Proof #5. She said those same things after stepping on a fairy. Karma, indeed.

Eric: Speaking of the Autumn scene, I picked up on things a little differently. I picked up on the Mothman signaling Autumn's end and didn't even realize he was quoting her first appearance. Because in the mythology of the creatures when they appear, something bad happens. (Not sure if you ever saw the Richard Gere Mothman Prophecies movie. I swear I couldn't look out my window for like weeks.)

Alex: I wouldn't say you necessarily picked up on things differently, since that was also intended. And, yeah, I saw the Gere/Mothman flick, but the actual witness sightings and subsequent weird happenings were really a lot creepier than the movie managed to convey. I've had to research the Mothman stuff a couple of times now (once when planning out the series and again before writing #25) and it's the only cryptid that seriously freaks me out.

Eric: This is 100 percent the real future that's in store for the series correct? Other comics seem to go into the future and then nothing ever comes of it.

Alex: Yup. This is what will be happening after a year (comic-book-time). So, not a year real-time. This is AFTER season two.

Eric: Who was the guy in the radioactivity suit?

Alex: That's Perry. He first showed up in #2 and then pops up occasionally to handle fairy-related problems (and he helped explore Autumn's abandoned apartment in the "Thunderbirds" arc). He's worried about catching something from a cryptid, so he always wears a hazmat suit.

Eric: Have you been following the recently reported story about the Ningen in Alaska? They look like a fairly interesting possible cryptid.

Alex: Nope. But now I'll go see what you're talking about. Thanks for the heads-up.

Eric: So what's going on with #26 when we return to the present? And when can readers expect the issue?

Alex: Well, you've got Proof's first date with Isabella, Elvis's first date with Ginger, the discovery of The Dover Demon's body, the US government closing down The Lodge, Joy's return journey to the fairy tree, something bad happens to Wayne, and a character you never thought you'd see come back... comes back. I'm probably forgetting something. A lot happens in our next issue.


As usual I want to thank Alex for taking the time to talk with me, and if you ever have a question that you want to see put here in Proof Positive, email me with the question and you could see it in the next edition. We'll see you back for issue #26 as the countdown continues!

Have a question for Alex? E-mail Eric and let him know.
Learn more about Alex's work at www.alexandergrecian.com.

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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