Eric Chats With Alex Grecian About Proof #26

Welcome to the latest edition of Proof Positive where Alex Grecian and I go over all things Proof. This month we discuss issue #26, production of the Julia trade and I try my best to get Alex to admit that I am not reading into something too much. So without further ado, the interview!

Eric: So what exactly did Leander do and who is this military man paying him a visit?

Alex: Leander's apparently been playing fast and loose with The Lodge's funding. I don't say specifically in the story, but the trip to Africa in the second trade was the inciting incident for the US government to look at the bookkeeping a little more closely than they were. It doesn't really matter for the story to work, so I let readers come to their own conclusions about what's going on, but that's the rationale I had in mind.

The military man is Major Haven. He was Proof's second partner. He was briefly mentioned (though not by name) clear back in the first issue. He's the partner who was promoted before Ginger was brought to The Lodge.

Eric: I'm curious about the bedtime reading scene with Wayne, can you elaborate on that a little. Wayne seems kind of depressed about it, though we as readers know that Joy is alive and well in the future.

Alex: Wayne's a sensitive guy and he's got his issues with his own child. Joy's journey to manhood is a little more dramatic than a human being, so it hits close to home for him. It is somewhat tragic (I hope) that the little boy becomes a virtual statue. Fairies have a pretty harsh biology. It can't be fun.

Eric: Something I thought was done really well was the duel kissing scene as they really were quite polar opposites. Though Elvis is slightly neurotic as Bella manages to be incredibly awkward. I like seeing these quiet moments you add to the characters here.

Alex: Thanks! The Julia arc set both couples up to move to the next steps in their relationships. The trick is in not grossing everybody out with Proof and Bella's kiss. Hopefully it seems natural and okay, instead of coming off as bestiality. Yikes!

Eric: So is Leander's wife really who she claims to be or is there something more going on here?

Alex: Why, oh why, do you ask me these things when you know I'm gonna tell you to read the next issue?!? Okay, whether she's really who she claims to be or not, she's bringing some huge huge revelations with her to The Lodge and upsetting the status quo just by being there.

Most readers probably aren't going to remember the rare references to her in previous issues or the picture of her in Leander's office, so her arrival probably didn't seem to warrant a big splash page, but just in terms of how important she is to Season Two, it was completely justified. Besides, it was a shock to Wayne.

Eric: So how good of a cook is John?

Alex: He's picked up a few recipes in the last couple of centuries. He's a solitary man and we solitary men often like to cook. I imagine it's a little tough to Julienne carrots, though, with those giant hands.

Eric: I got a strong sense of irony from Bella's comment about Proof's age. I know Twilight wasn't that old yet but please tell me that's a tiny little dig at Twilight? I got a kick out of it, even if it wasn't. The poor woman is used to dealing with other people's thoughts and issues. It must have been odd to be working on her own with John?

Alex: Twilight's a romance novel for teenage girls, right? I haven't read it or seen the movie. Doesn't seem like my kinda thing. I know there's a werewolf in the mix somehow, and there's a vampire guy who yearns for a teenage girl, but never touches her. Proof's aimed at adults, so there'll definitely be some touching. I'm all for taking a dig at schlocky pop-culture, but it wasn't intended in this case.

There's a scene at the end of the "Julia" arc (I just sent that trade off to the printer) with Proof and Bella in her apartment and she's careful to make the distinction that they're talking as friends. It's not a professional visit. Once they figured out that they liked each other in more than a friendly way, she's had to distance herself from analyzing him. But she's not used to trying to express her own feelings. Remember, too, that she's a widow and that her husband was killed by cryptids. The fact that she's now dating a cryptid has to be a huge conflict for her. She's going to be stumbling for a while as she feels her way through this new relationship.

Eric: I really have to commend you though as we finally get some spotlight on the bigger supporting cast, even guys like Proof's old partner who hadn't appeared until now. It must be fun to bring out and flesh out the world as much as possible?

Alex: It's been a long time since we've seen most of the main supporting cast and we've missed them. Plus, we've got three issues to wrap up some dangling plot threads from this season and set things up for the next season. We wanted everybody to have a turn in the spotlight. (Well, not everybody. Colonel Dachshund, Autumn and the rabbi won't be showing up in this last arc of the season, but they got their face time in #25.) Major Haven and Gloria have both been mentioned before, but never seen and we wanted to introduce them too before the hiatus.

It's terrific to be able to finally pull some of these threads together and reveal a little more of the master plan to our readers. We're setting up a brand new pair of missions for Proof (one of which is a fool's errand and the other will change his life forever), which begin in season two, a brand new status quo, and we've been laying the clues for it all for a long time, so it's good to be able to turn over some of our cards.

Eric: Also I'd fail at this column if I didn't ask what held up the production of the Julia trade if you don't mind me asking.

Alex: Nothing held up production. It's solicited for June and we're right on time with it, so far (barring an explosion at the printer or something). It took Image a long time to put the fourth trade on the schedule, but that probably has a lot to do with trying to juggle all the books they're putting out right now. But, yeah, once they contacted us about a June release, we've been on track to get it out.

As usual, I've gone in and tinkered quite a bit with the arc to make it flow more smoothly as a single read. There are five additional story pages, which were originally intended for the arc, but were cut at the script stage 'cause there wasn't room to include them in the single issues. We'll be sharing those pages on-line for readers who get the singles and don't want to shell out for the trade too. We don't want anybody to feel unloved. I've also changed dialogue and captions on nearly every page. Riley and I are very proud of this one.

Eric: So is this just the American government coming for Leander? Are they attempting to shut down The Lodge as well?

Alex: Yup, it's the American government. And Haven's working things so that Leander takes the full blame for misappropriation of funds. That way The Lodge can continue, but with much less of a free hand.

Eric: When Elvis and Ginger return to The Lodge and are questioned, why are they barely acknowledging him and basically giving him the cold shoulder but listening to Ginger? I thought he was a full agent now?

Alex: They're soldiers. The Lodge is super secret and the soldiers aren't even really aware of what they're doing there. So Elvis's status as a Lodge agent might not help him much even if he'd shown some ID (which he didn't because Ginger took charge before Elvis had much time to react). Ginger retained her FBI laminate, which we saw in some previous story which I can't bring immediately to mind. The military men are acknowledging that she at least MIGHT have the juice to be there and are passing the buck to their CO, Haven.

For me, that scene was all about the fact that Ginger wears the pants in her new relationship with Elvis. He stood back and let her deal with things because she's more aggressive than he is and he's fine with that.

Eric: I definitely enjoyed seeing that part of the scene as we really haven't seen this really strong version of Ginger yet and it's always great to see one of our leads growing more.

Alex: Really? You don't feel we've established Ginger as take-charge and aggressive? That's always been my goal. Her partner Proof is passive and would rather talk through a problem, while Ginger balances him by jumping in with her gun and badge. Her new dynamic with Elvis is also a contrast, but in a slightly different way.

Eric: So The Lodge is going to continue on... just being monitored more closely?

Alex: Well, that's Haven's plan at least. We'll have to wait to see what happens between now and the end of the arc.

As I've said, the status quo is being shaken up and when Proof comes back from hiatus, the characters will have a much different mandate than they do now. Whether The Lodge will be part of that, I'm not saying.

Eric: So in the next issue can we expect John to enter into all the chaos that is happening or will he and Bella still be happily on their date?

Alex: Y'know, you and Bella are the only two people who call him John. So, yeah, I think he's brought into things on the very first page of #27, if memory serves. At least very early. And, yes, he and Bella are still on their date.

Eric: What's with Dover's ominous words on the chupacabra?

Alex: I don't understand a thing the Dover Demon says. It'd be so much easier if he'd just come right out and say what he means. Of course, that would probably kill the suspense of the series, so I let him hang around.

Eric: You let him hang around, huh? I wonder if you should really be saying that, Alex, with how this issue ends. People might get the idea he's still alive ;)

Alex: "Let" was past-tense. He's gone. He really is. No more Dover Demon again, ever. Of course, that's not to say there aren't other creatures of that species running around out there. We saw another one of 'em in the "Julia" arc.

Eric: And, hey, I was calling him Gulliver through the Julia arc wasn't I? I think calling a character by their name works. I mean when we first started I was calling him Proof but that's because I was a new reader, I like calling him John I guess. lol

Alex: Well, this is a character with so many names, you can probably call him whatever you like and get away with it.

Eric: So is issue #27 shipping this month as well?

Alex: I don't know. I doubt it. I'm gonna guess the first part of next month. This is me shrugging.

Eric: So what can we expect for issue #27? Leander's back up plans for The Lodge go into effect maybe?

Alex: Leander definitely had plans, but he didn't expect to get arrested. He's not going to be able to put his plans into motion (at least not the way he expected to), but Leander's quick on his feet and when an opportunity presents itself he'll seize it.

Meanwhile, if you take a look at the page where Gloria shows up, she's holding a small box. What's inside that box will completely change Proof's world forever. You'll find out what it is next issue.

You'll also see what happens to Wayne and find out why Gloria came back. Nadine's going to visit Proof at home and, oh... the fairies wake up!

Have a question for Alex? E-mail Eric and let him know.
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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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