Eric Chats With Alex Grecian About Proof #27
Hey readers! Welcome to another edition of the Proof Positive column! I
would like to first apologize to longtime readers as thanks to diamond
shorting my shop...I didn't get my issue of the book for almost a
month. I would also like to give a shout out to new Proof reader
Colin Murchison who checked out the column after Mike Smith got him
into the book. I'm just glad I can be part of all this! Anyway let's
jump right in talking about issue #27!
Eric: So Alex to start with... you've already revealed one major game changer for the series. The Leander we've seen through the whole series so far is an imposter?! What?!
Alex: Yup. Leander has always been an imposter, as far as our readers are concerned. The series started after the point where a switch was made. So this is a major revelation for Wayne, but it doesn't mean a lot yet for us because we never knew the original Leander. The big question is what happened to the "real" Leander? You'll get a huge clue to that in #29.
Eric: Hope and Charity have certainly had one hell of a wake up call, huh? Was it Charity that was with Joy a year into the future?
Alex: I had to go back to #25 (which was written a long long time ago) to see for myself but, yeah, it looks like that was Charity. Or will be Charity. Guess that means something bad might have happened to Hope. Doesn't sound good for The Lodge.
Eric: Wait...#29? I was under the impression season 2 was starting with a new #1? Am I mistaken in that?
Alex: Whoops. I mistyped. I meant #28, not 29. The first arc of season two will be called "Endangered" and it will start with a first issue, but we'll be indicating somewhere that it's also Proof #29 for hardcore fans who wanna keep everything in order (like me).
Eric: So will we ever find anything out about the real Leander? I'm curious to who he was as a person since we've been following this other man the whole time.
Alex: If we ever do another flashback arc, it would be fun to delve into the first Leander a bit. There's a backup story sitting around here somewhere. It's one of two Proof backups I wrote but that never got drawn. A young Leander and Gloria were the main characters. As with all the backups, these two stories would have added a little something to the series continuity (and would have satisfied at least some of your curiosity about Leander), but they may never see the light of day at this point, since we've kind of moved beyond that point in the series now.
Eric: I know I'm obsessing over this a bit now but do the fairies know the truth about Leander? The way they refer to him as Leander-Thing could be a hint, could it not?
Alex: It sure could be. On the other hand, it could just be the way fairies talk. All the clues are there in #27 though and it'll all make perfect sense by the time you read the epilogue in #28. I guarantee people will be talking about that ending for the four months or so between that and the new #1.
Eric: You could always do an anthology one shot called "Stories from the Proofverse" somewhere down the line Alex. I'm sure all of us would be up for it. ;)
Alex: Who knows? Maybe if we ever do a hardcover we'll sneak those in.
Eric: What is fake Leander's game here? The backhanded compliment to Wayne and the overall biding for time... He's up to something isn't he?
Alex: Of course he is. Unfortunately, he's already done it. While the rest of us are waiting for #28 to show up on the racks, Leander's been busy.
Eric: Poor Qi seems to be ignored a little here, he almost got hit a few times too. Poor little ink monkey. Was he in the script or was that Riley having a little fun?
Alex: He's in the script. Sometimes I'll just suggest that Qi be in a panel and Riley'll make up the action for him, but in this case Qi's bit was choreographed. Qi will play a more prominent part in "Endangered."
Eric: I honestly think you are one of the only writers in comics who nails the awkward character moments and the scene at Proof's apartment certainly nailed that. I think it also helped ease the tension of everything else that's building in the book right now.
Alex: Thank you!
Eric: I actually believe Nadine as much as Proof does. Is it safe to say we can trust her word on this one?
Alex: Here's the thing about chupacabras. I don't know if we've ever come out and said it, but they only inhabit the skins of like-gendered creatures. I suppose there are transgendered chupacabras out there, but mostly female chupacabras are gonna nest in female skins and males in male skins. So, if The Dover Demon's a boy (and I'm not 100 percent sure about that), then he's perfectly safe from Nadine. She might kill him and eat him, but she's not gonna skin him and wear him.
That's my long-winded way of saying that, yeah, we can trust her on this one.
And, since I love to cryptically hype stuff, Nadine's role is going to be very different in season two. I think it's gonna be a big surprise for everyone.
Eric: I oddly trust Gloria, even if she seems to be there right when everything is falling apart. With 28 can we be expecting to get an answer on if she's really one of the good guys?
Alex: Nope. There's definitely more of Gloria in #28, but the big answers won't be coming until sometime next season. But... if she's lying, then Leander's not an imposter at all. So you'll probably find out by the end of the next issue if she's got something up her sleeve right now.
Eric: I do really enjoy seeing how much Nadine has changed. I mean I don't really think she was ever nefarious to begin with but this chupacabra has really changed into this well-meaning character who seems to be on the right side of the book. Have you always wanted to have her play this odd role in the book or was she just kind of a one-off (similar to your plans with Elvis) at the beginning of the book?
Alex: Nadine's always been a wild card. But nobody's a generic personality type in Proof. Just like anybody else, Nadine has her own goals and interests and, if those goals and interests overlap with the heroes of the book, she'll be a "good guy." If not...
That said, she's somehow become my favorite supporting character. She can be good, bad, or just weird, depending on the circumstances. Kinda like Colonel Dachshund (there's another unpublished story [so far]... There's an entire flashback issue that's written, chronicling a Dachshund hunt that took place. He's good or bad, depending on what's going on around him. Just like Nadine. And just like most people you know.
Eric: Those military red shirts aren't exactly the brightest guys ever. I mean they could see that Leander was just talking with the faeries.
Alex: I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. I don't hate writing action scenes, but I do sort of hate that people expect an action scene in every issue of a comic book. Give me intrigue and suspense over action every day and I'll hang in there. But sometimes I feel like we need to give Proof fans something to keep them interested while Riley and I build our weird little world. So, well... somebody needed to shoot at those giant fairies. Those guys were elected. Of course, they don't represent all of the US military because Haven clearly tells them not to, but the majority of people in any subset are gonna be a little dumb and these guys were definitely in the majority.
Eric: Well I'd say in Proof we get a lot of narrative, world building and character study. I know as I reader of the book I never expect action unless the story calls for it (like Thunderbirds or the Endangered Species arc).
Alex: Well, action's still an essential component of drama, so I don't have any intention of sidestepping it. I'd also rather not shoehorn it in if the plot doesn't call for it. I like for the book to evolve naturally and I try not to force anything.
Eric: Is it safe to say that the fairies like the other extremely intelligent cryptids in The Lodge have a high level of respect for Proof and seemingly trust his word?
Alex: Proof has a naturally high level of charisma and he has that scent trick that he uses without even thinking about it or realizing it much of the time. He's a natural leader and he does command respect.
Eric: He's also the most senior member on staff, next to Wayne, so I can see why they are going to him to find answers.
Alex: Well, sure. Proof and Wayne are co-founders of the Lodge, along with Leander, Gloria and Dachshund. He's Ginger's partner and Elvis's mentor. They'd look to him before they'd go to Leander, for sure. And Wayne was kind of out of the loop there for a bit.
Eric: Why go searching for the Mothman? Most reported sightings never are connected to physical altercations to my knowledge.
Alex: The Mothman sightings are surrounded by general weirdness. Nobody was directly hurt (at least nobody I've ever heard of), but the sightings tie in with some elements that we started planting in the book way back in issue two.
I hate to say this, but one of the backup stories (the second one drawn by our multi-talented colorist, Dave Casey) has a bunch of clues in it. And the unpublished backup that I mentioned earlier has lots more clues. In fact, if that storied been published, everybody would have guessed by now what's going on, so maybe it's a good thing it was never finished.
Eric: So something I wanted to talk to you about a little more was the actual price of the book, but in a positive light. When I hear people complain about comic prices going up I have to commend guys like you, Riley and Dave whose book has no real ads, a letters page most of the time, and even an awesome backup series by Kelly. Even when the book was still $2.99 it was like this. Do you think people are maybe missing this fact and just focusing on the book because honestly I think you guys easily have one of the best comics on the stands for just sheer content.
Alex: Thanks. We work hard to try to give people as much bang for their buck as we can manage. I think it's perfectly fair for readers to be concerned about cover prices and I'm afraid I don't really see a solution. We were really resistant to the idea of raising the cover price in the first place after the first year that the book was out (#13 was the first issue with the $3.50 tag on it), but we really didn't have a lot of choice. It costs money to make a comic and we're not independently wealthy. Fortunately, we didn't lose any readers. To be perfectly honest, we probably should have raised the price to $3.99, which was Image's advice.
Marvel and DC sell ad space in their books. And yet most Marvel books are $3.99 now. DC's experimenting with that price and will probably follow Marvel's lead any day now. Image books offer the same quality, but we don't have that extra revenue from ad sales. Every penny we make comes from actual readers buying our comics. And we truly appreciate that.
All we can do is try to give readers as much material as we can cram between two covers and hope everybody feels like they're getting their money's worth.
Eric: So the issue itself: I remember you saying it printed dark and most readers said that it had an odd chemical smell. Have we found out what happened?
Alex: Well, I haven't. My guess is that it printed on a different paper stock than we're used to. We'll see what happens with #28.
Eric: So, Alex, last issue when they were having dinner it seemed like things were going to move a little slowly between John and Bella. Here both are in a state of undress, obviously the date went smoother after their conversation?
Alex: In my experience, these things are always pretty unpredictable. Things definitely started out kinda awkwardly between them, but by the end of the last issue they were locking lips and breaking dishes. True love never ran a smooth course. Or something like that.
Eric: Is there something going on with Leander's eye towards the end there?
Alex: I think that's just the sparkle we all get when we're surprised by somebody we thought was dead coming into our offices. Happens to me all the time.
Eric: They've possibly found Proof's family?!
Alex: Somebody has most definitely found the finger of a member of Proof's family. That box proves that there are other sasquatches out there. It's what Proof's been looking for for the last 200 years and somebody beat him to it. Any guesses as to who that might be? ;)
Eric: Could it start with a "Mi" and end with a "Po"? ;)
Alex: Absolutely. The mysterious mastermind is Mipo. He's an intelligent starfish from Saturn's inner ring, who really just wants to be friends. But customs are different on Saturn and he gets things all mixed up. Don't worry, though. Everything will work out in the end and everybody'll have a good laugh and be pals.
Eric: So what can readers expect with #28?
Alex: To find out a little more about The Mothman, to see Proof tussle with Nadine, and to see two (not one, but two) huge revelatory cliffhangers that will have everybody guessing for four months until Proof: Endangered #1 comes out. (Not sure when #28 will hit the racks, but it should be pretty soon.)
Well that's it for this edition folks. Join us next time as we talk about the end of Season 1 and these mysterious cliffhangers that Alex has mentioned!
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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