One year after the series launched in 2007, the Image comic book series Proof has achieved something that isn't all that common in comic books anymore -- there have been 12 issues of Proof in 12 months.
Now that the ongoing series has established a reliable and steady schedule, the Proof kicks off its second year with a crossover with Savage Dragon last week in issue #13.
We talked with Proof writer Alex Grecian to find out more about the series and how Savage Dragon ties into the story which just started.
Newsarama: Twelve issues in 12 months - that's not bad. Now that you guys have been around for a year, tell us -- what's your secret to coming out on time?
Alex Grecian: [laughs] Panic! That's the big thing. No, we actually have a core readership that talks about the book online a bunch, and we eavesdrop on them and talk to them a little bit. So we know those people are waiting for the book every month, and we love those people, so it gives us some motivation to work hard and get the book out each month.
NRAMA: Although we recently talked to you about the series, let's cover some basics before we start talking about Savage Dragon. What's Proof about?
AG: It's about a really well-dressed, middle-aged guy who goes on adventures around the globe finding monsters, or "cryptids," that may actually exist -- things like the Loch Ness Monster and that kind of thing. But in this case, the well-dressed, middle-aged guy is actually Bigfoot.
NRAMA: [laughs] It sounds like it would be a funny comic, but it's not really. Proof takes this seriously, doesn't it?
AG: Yeah, it's not a funny book, I don't think. It's played seriously, with everyone working for this government organization called The Lodge, where the cryptids are taken. It's a serious agency. And in tone, I'd say it's more like The X-Files than the funny book people probably think it is with Bigfoot in a suit. We put it in a real world context, and as goofy as that sounds, our Bigfoot is kind of a tragic character because he wants to be a person, but he can't.
NRAMA: He's been searching for hundreds of years for his family, right?
AG: Yeah, I think we figured out that he was about 215 years old, so he's an old guy. The first thing he remembers is Lewis and Clark finding him. They took him back to Thomas Jefferson and presented him to the president as a gift. And Jefferson kind of took him under his wing and taught him how to speak properly and dress properly. So he's been a proper gentleman ever since, but a sad one.
He's had a lot of years to get really good at what he does, as opposed to our other main character, Ginger, who's new at it and a little hot-headed. The comic started with her joining the Lodge.
NRAMA: Now that we've covered the basics, can you tell us about the tie-in to Savage Dragon in issue #13 for those who may have missed it?
AG: Erik Larsen wrote some really nice things about Proof, and we were surprised because we didn't even know he was reading the book. I sent him an email and thanked him for that. So he sent an email back and said he loves Proof, and if we ever want to use the Savage Dragon, we were free to. And of course, the Savage Dragon is a superhero and doesn't really fit into the world of Proof, which is supposed to be sort of set in our world. So we thought really hard about how we could do that. We thought it would be really cool, but we couldn't figure out how it would work. We didn't want it to be a gimmick if we did use Savage Dragon. We wanted it to change the status quo of the book and lead to character development for our characters and be an important thing. And I think we've acheived it.
NRAMA: Would this issue be something that people could pick up and understand without having read any Proof issues before?
AG: We have a "what's gone before" thing in the front cover of every issue, so every issue is a good issue to jump on. And then if this issue is something you enjoy, the first trade is out already, so you can go back to the beginning to get the first story, which is about Ginger joining the Lodge and helping Proof find a Chupacabra who eats people's innards and lives in their skin. And the second trade will be out in December collecting issues #6-#9, which is about a big game hunter who wants to taste Bigfoot. And I believe the third trade is coming out in March or April.
NRAMA: You mention a lot of "cryptids" that have been in the news lately, with all the Bigfoot and Chupacabra sightings that were hitting the internet this summer.
AG: Yeah, I dropped the ball with the Bigfoot in the freezer hoax. I was really looking for a way to tie into that and attach ourselves to it, but it didn't work out. They came out and said it was a hoax way too early. I wish they'd have milked that a little bit more.
NRAMA: We've seen fairies and a Chupacabra and dinosaurs. What other cryptids have we seen in the series?
AG: Well, right now we're exploring the origin of a gollum, and he's not what you think he is. A gollum is supposedly a magical creature, and in the Proof series, we're postulating that there are no magical creatures. Our fairies are actually like flying piranhas. They're scary things that will eat you. So a gollum can't really be a magical creature made out of clay and brought to life with a tattoo on his head. We're exploring what he really is.
NRAMA: Is there anything else you want to tell people about the first year anniversary of Proof or the visit by Savage Dragon?
AG: I just want to thank our fans and invite everyone else to check it out now. It's not the kind of crossover with Savage Dragon that you'd expect. I think we've got the strangest Image character crossover in their entire history.