Eric Chats With Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo About Proof #16

Welcome to this week's Proof Positive. Please excuse the delay as I know everyone's been awaiting this since part 1 premiered in issue 16. I want to apoligize for the delay as putting together things became more difficult as New York hit. This week had the return to the lodge as foreshadowing into the future of the series took place and a very popular character made her return to the book. Also in the cards were a few members of the image boards who got walk on roles in the issue. So lets get right into things here with riley and Alex!

Eric: Riley to start off with the book has been on time since day one. How fast do you usually work page wise?

Riley: I can do a page in between 3-5 hrs depending, sometimes I hit snags usually on womens faces, I feel like rugged I can do, weird no problem but cute, feminin, sexy kills me. On those pages I'll do up to 8-9 versions of a panel.

Eric: So following the script a little Alex had you obviously make 2 very famous Marvel references. One featuring our girl Autumn as MJ quoting one of the more well know lines and the other being the homage to a very classic X-Men moment. Was it easy to add your own little spin to these or was it tough?

Riley: The burn was easy to rip off/homage (page one). The Ditko was really hard in the spidey issue as its a tiny panel and I wanted the same proportions/layout but they didn't add up. It all came together weird so it took some finessing which I still think isn't great but deadlines and what not.

Eric: Those tattoos on Autumn are they meant to be just for show?

Riley: Oh Autumn's tattoos are important, They're aquatic in nature in case its not clear and they have a cryptid connection.

Eric: The dover demon being shadowed over all, was this an art decision on your part?

Riley: 16 is a experiment as I've been wanting to switch to all brushes to do the work for a while. I think my drawings tend to work better with less lines and more shapes, I wanted the whole thing somber and I think it got a little out of hand shadow wise. The demons a bit darker than I'd have liked but there's a reason I can't say yet (big spoiler) about the demon's appearance. I'll attach an upcoming page (now pictured to the right ... click the image for a full size look at the artwork) that's more how I want stuff to look stylistically.

Eric: Do you have a favorite character to draw?

Riley: Proofs the easiest to draw all around, then Joe. I think my favorite character is Ginger though but she's hands down the hardest. I've redrawn panels with her so many times the page will have patches and replacement panels all over the back till its just right. Now it's almost all brush with very little technical pens.

Eric: Would you say your style is constantly evolving as Alex challenges you with each new script? Especially with all that extensive research into the actual cryptids?

Riley:Yeh, it's changed but just in the "I can draw better" kinda way allowing the evolution of character. Nothing story wise changed. I can't look at issues 1-7 or so anymore. I only see things I could have drawn better in retrospect, but that fuels character evolution. I only like the thing I'm drawing right now. I think it's some kind of artistic condition.

Eric: On the series, have you had a favorite thing that you've drawn at all yet? Whether it be a scene or just a panel or a creature?

Riley: Dinosaurs getting shot, hands down.

Eric: So Riley, one final question for you. You're doing the back up story next issue. Does that also mean your switching with Kelly even more and doing some inking?

Riley: Nope, just a fill in to give me a week or two off. Kelly did 17, I did archie snow for issue 18 pencils, ink, color as well as the main feature. I have two other jobs. I needed a little break.

Switching to talking with Alex

Eric: Autumn's tattoo's? Are those significant at all? Or did she just get those when she was younger?

Alex: The tattoos don't have anything to do with the larger storyline. She's not fencing in demons or anything. I can't remember whose idea it was to have her be so heavily tattooed in the first place, but the designs are all Riley's work.

Eric: Well Riley did reveal that they were aquatic in nature. But they aren't connected to anything storywise?

Alex: Nope. If I remember correctly, Riley chose aquatic tattoos because we knew Autumn would be traveling the world in service to Mi-Chen-Po and would eventually be involved in the arc "The Squid and the Mountain," right before "The Cryptid War." That arc prominently features a kraken. (We hinted at it in the "Foreshadowing" three-pager.)

Surprised you're so interested in Autumn's tattoos, given how much was revealed this issue. You must like the tattooed ladies, huh? ;)

Eric: The kraken! *clears throat* sorry, I couldn't resist. How long after the Julia arc is that?

Alex: Immediately after "Julia" comes "Who Killed the Dover Demon." Then we've got an arc that shows the founding of The Lodge and the friendship between Proof, Leander and Dachshund. Soon after that will be "The Squid and the Mountain," then "The Cryptid War." We've got a while, but it's coming...

Eric: Other then actual cryptids I'd never call the book cute at all, but this was definitely cute. The ink monkey looked a little lemurish but was this one of Elvis' first days on the job?

Alex: Well, if you put the whole series in perspective so far, Elvis hasn't been at it very long at all. I did write this backup, though, before we started the Thunderbirds arc so Elvis may have seemed a little more green than he is now. Feel free to slot that into continuity wherever it works best for you. In defense of Paul Fricke's version of the ink monkey, he started drawing that story with nothing more to go one than the cover to #12. Riley hadn't drawn Qi inside the book yet when Paul started drawing his story. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. Proof can get a little dark at times and this story's a nice bright colorful idyllic day at The Lodge.

Eric: I wasn't insulting Paul's version of Qi, I liked him. Kind of a monkey lemur and still as cute as he's always been. How exactly did our dinosaur friend get stuck in leander's office?

Alex: Just poked her head through the wardrobe that Leander uses as a backdoor to the habitat. The whole stories based on a Winnie-the-Pooh story in which the bear of very little brain gets himself stuck half in and half out of Rabbit's front door. That's why the panda is named Edward. (Edward Bear was Winnie-the-Pooh's actual name.)

Eric: Speaking of the panda, they were endangered when the lodge first started? Or were cryptids?

Alex: They were, at one time, cryptids. They were mythic creatures that nobody really believed existed because, like Bigfoot, people claimed to have witnessed them, but there were no captured specimins.

Eric: How is marc handling having a hook? Riley's artwork had the hand covered up passed the elbow. Is that more a support thing for it?

Alex: Riley did the visual research on how that hook would have to be attached. I will say, though, that we'll be exploring what Marc does with his prosthesis and how much of himself he wants to replace as the series rolls along. He's not a guy who's real happy being himself right now.

Eric: So Alex, what is the Dover Demon talking about when he says he won't be able to sneak much anymore? Am I going to have to get an angry letter ready?

Alex: He's talking about the events of the upcoming "Who Killed the Dover Demon" arc. That'll directly follow "Julia" and set up "The Cryptid War." No worries, though. There's more to that arc than the title would indicate and we won't be without a Dover Demon, as you'll see in issue 18...

Eric: Has the lodge always owned the Enquirer?

Alex: The Lodge has always owned the paper Leander mentioned. It helps them keep their cover and make a profit at the same time. I wanted to include a Cryptoid about the fact that The Enquirer and other tabloids outsell any other items in grocery stores, except for the staple items like bread and milk. The Cryptoid kinda ruined the flow so I deleted it, but may end up as a Twitter Cryptoid once I start sending those out on a daily basis.

Eric: Yeah speaking of that Alex...when you create a twitter you actually have to use it! ;)

Alex: Yeah, but first I have to figure out HOW to use it. I had someone set all that up for me and she showed me what to do with Facebook, but Twitter? Not so much.

Eric: Elvis and Marc everything as it appears in the demon's words?

Alex: The Dover Demon hasn't been wrong yet. But he does choose his words very carefully.

Eric: So what do we have in store with us for the next issue and then the Julia arc? Tease away Alex!

Alex: The main story for issue 17 is drawn and colored by the multi-talented Kelly Tindall. In it, we finally get to see how Nadine the chupacabra got from Mexico to that cave in Minnesota, way back before issue one began. It's by far the most gruesome issue I've written and Kelly went to town drawing blood and guts. That said, I think it's a sad story and hopefully helps readers understand what Nadine's about and why she was looking for Proof in the first place. Kelly's art is really expressive and somewhat Tim Sales-ish. Some of his best work, I think.

The backup story in that issue, drawn by some guy named Riley Rossmo, checks in with Nadine in current continuity, living with her three fairy children in the habitat. It's a follow-up to the two-page "Butterscotch Pie" story in issue 12. So you'll finally see why "Butterscotch Pie" wasn't a cute little filler story.

Proof's not in #17 at all (kind of like issue five, which some fans count as their favorite issue). In fact, none of our regular characters are in it, except Nadine and Colonel Dachshund. If we'd put it out a month earlier, I guess we could have plastered a "Faces of Evil" logo on it. :) Then we're on to "Julia." Riley's art for it is really the best stuff he's done yet, though it's taking him a bit longer than usual to illustrate Victorian England, which is why we were fortunate to have Kelly step in for issue 17. Right now, we're having a blast with this book again (after getting bogged down a bit by the Thunderbirds) and I think it shows. Riley and I are planning a 2009 con ashcan that features some of the characters from "Julia."

Inspector McKraken of Scotland Yard is one of our favorite characters to date. It's a real shame he's stuck back there in the past.

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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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