Proof, everyone's favorite dapper sasquatch, is coming back in December with a brand new series.
Launching with a new #1 issue, December's Proof: Endangered continues the beloved Image series , while giving new readers a jumping-on point.
Created by writer Alex Grecian and artist Riley Rossmo, the comic is based on the idea that new, unusual species like chupacabras and fairies — or "cryptids" — really do exist. They've just been hidden away by the government.
And at the center of the government organization covering up cryptid discoveries is an amazingly intelligent and well-dressed "bigfoot" named John Prufrock. Know as "Proof," he's a gentle, hairy giant who has lived hundreds of years after being discovered in his youth during the Lewis and Clark expedition and raised by Thomas Jefferson.
The series, which lasted 28 issues, finished up in September with an issue that set up a new premise for its star character. Newsarama talked with Grecian to find out more about this new, retooled series and how Proof: Endangered is different from its predecessor.
Newsarama: Why relaunch Proof, and why the delay in its return?
Alex Grecian: Riley and I got busy with a lot of different projects, and our schedule was just starting to slip. We were getting further and further behind. So Image came to us and said, "Why don't you guys take a little break, then bring the book back when you have time to do it on a monthly basis?"
Then it got circulated that we were canceled, which was horrible. We were never canceled. But it gave us a chance to kind of take a step back and re-jigger things a little bit and get back on schedule.
Nrama: This is a new #1 issue. Does that mean it's new reader friendly?
Grecian: Yeah. We wanted to get things in shape so new readers could jump on board. I think our continuity was getting bogged down a little. We weren't quite , but it was getting a little out of town.
It's not a relaunch. We're not starting over.
Nrama: How does this new series set up things for new readers?
Grecian: Proof, the bigfoot, doesn't work for the government anymore. And we pick up his story in a way that introduces him and his situation to new readers.
Nrama: How is Proof: Endangered different from the previous series? And to what does the addition of the word "endangered" refer?
Grecian: It's a little more linear and focused. Proof's goal throughout the first series was to try to find other Sasquatches in the world, but he never really did that. He never really pursued that as hard as he could have, because he kept getting sidetracked by other adventures.
In this, he's much more focused on finding his family. And that's really what this is about. And he's got some humans along with him for the ride who are much more vulnerable than he is, so really, the title refers to them more than him.
Nrama: For new readers, who is Proof?
Grecian: Proof is a sasquatch. He's the only sasquatch that's ever been caught or, as far as we know, spent time with humans. Apparently, sasquatches are fairly long-lived, because Proof spent a couple hundred years around humans.
He can speak. He's smart. And he likes to wear clothes. Really, he's a person in every sense of the word. He's just a really big, hairy person. And he seems to be attracted to danger.
Nrama: He was found when he was young, right?
Grecian: Yes, he was found by the Lewis and Clark expedition, and he was raised by Thomas Jefferson. Secretly of course.
But as far as he can recall, he's the only one of his kind. He must have seen sasquatches when he was very young, but he can't remember them. So he's always been on a quest to find more of his own kind. He's not really a human, even though he was raised by humans. He doesn't quite fit in.
At this point, though, if he find other sasquatches, he's not really one of them either.
Nrama: For people who read the first series and already know about the government's secret "Lodge" where cryptids are kept, will those characters and species be seen again? With Proof going off on his own adventure, will that part of his work with the government be revisited at all?
Grecian: In Issue #28, Proof quit the Lodge, so he's no longer there. But we see what's happening there, because there are some pretty big developments coming.
But I don't think you need to know the entire history of the book to understand what's happening.
Nrama: Will we see some of the characters we know from the first series besides Proof?
Grecian: Yes, you'll see all of the same characters. They'll just be introduced in a way that helps people understand who the heck they are.
We're also introducing a new scary villain character who's kind of a ninja chupacabra.
And one of the main characters from the original series will be dying in Proof: Endangered.
Nrama: That's got to be tough for you as a writer.
Grecian: Yeah, but it was planned all along. We're still moving toward the last scene of Proof, which I wrote a couple years ago and have in my back pocket for when we eventually get there. This person kind of has to die to make things happen.
Nrama: And Riley's returning with you, right?
Grecian: Yes, Riley Rossmo is back on board. We have a new colorist who just turned in his first batch of pages yesterday, and he's doing great stuff. So we're really happy with him.
Riley's taking a slightly different approach to his art. It's maybe a little cleaner. It's more easy to follow.
Nrama: Alex, it seems like the first volume... or what are we calling it? Volume?
Grecian: We could call it the first volume. Image is calling it the first "season." But I don't know what works in comics.
Nrama: Well, I'll use Image's terminology. In the first season of Proof, the plot seemed to be driven by the ongoing introductions to all these different species. It was kind of like a cop show, or even , meets cryptids. But it sounds like Proof: Endangered is more driven by the dramatic action of what's happening with Proof and the Lodge. Is that accurate?
Grecian: Yeah, that's accurate. If the first season was a cop show, where each arc was a self-contained adventure where they found a lot of monsters, then at this point, there have to be some consequences to that. You've got all these things running around. How do they relate to one another? What do they mean?
Endangered is where we start to explore the fact that not only are there all these creatures out there, but who's controlling them and what's going on? There are still some creatures that we'll be introducing. But mostly now, we want to focus on moving around in this world among these things.
It's probably much more horror than it was before.
Nrama: I know you said you intend to get to the ending that you originally had in mind for the series, but did you always mean to take the series more toward horror?
Grecian: It actually evolved away from horror at the beginning. When we pitched it to Image, we pitched it as horror. And then it quickly became not so much horror, and I ended up drifting back to writing crime fiction, because that's my first love.
But now, since we're kind of retooling things and jumping back in, we're jumping back in as horror, and it may become something else along the way. But at least we're trying to fasten it there to start with. It'll be a little different feel than the last season, but it'll be close enough that our fans will recognize things. And fresh enough that we're hoping that retooling the series will give the book a new life and reach some people who haven't had a chance to check it out before.What do you think of the plans for Proof?