Life Imitating Comics - Talking to the Proof Team

Talking to the Proof Team

While the internet is abuzz with news of a Sasquatch carcass found in Georgia and sitting in a freezer, comic book readers already have "Proof" that Bigfoot exists.

"Our Bigfoot is more like George Clooney with fur," said Alex Grecian, the author of Proof, a comic book series about a Bigfoot named John "Proof" Prufrock who works secretly for the government. "He's very sophisticated. Very dapper. And very clean as well. He's a hygienic Bigfoot."

"He would be embarrassed for the Bigfoot in the freezer, because it's so poorly dressed," laughed the series artist, Riley Rossmo.

The ongoing Proof comic series, which had its first five issues recently collected in paperback from Image Comics, tells the story of a secret government organization called the Lodge, which has confiscated strange "cryptids" and kept them secret. That includes a Bigfoot named Proof who was found during the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.

"The whole concept started as a joke, when we first came up with the idea that the government is keeping Bigfoot a secret because he's working for them," Grecian said. "But we treat it seriously in the comic. We don't treat it as a joke."

The comic series is filled with little facts that the creators call "Cryptoids" as the series explores a variety of modern mythical creatures like the Cottingly Fairies and the Chupacabra.

"Our first story is about a Chupacabra. The story starts out with an ex-FBI agent named Ginger Brown who gets recruited to the Lodge, which is a mysterious government agency in the Pacific Northwest," Grecian explained. "On her first day on the job, she's introduced to her new partner, who is a Bigfoot named 'Proof.' And she discovers that, immediately, she has to track down the Chupacabra, who is eating people in Minnesota.

"I think what surprised people is that, when we hit the fourth issue, Proof doesn't fight the Chupacabra. He sits down and talks with her over tea. And hot dogs," he said.

Grecian and Rossmo said they love how real life is mimicking their art as various cryptids show up in the news. Along with the Bigfoot in Georgia, the Chupacabra has also been creating buzz recently, as a strange-looking head found by a woman in South Texas was labeled as the mythical creature, and police later videotaped a similar Chupacabra-type animal running on a road in a nearby town.

"You mean the mangy coyote?" Grecian said, explaining that tests had been done on the head found in South Texas and DNA showed that it was some type of coyote. Grecian explained that he's become somewhat of an expert as he's done so much research for the series, so he's been following which ones are debunked and which are still mysteries.

When asked about the recent Montauk Monster that washed up on a shore in Montauk, N.Y., Grecian laughed, saying it looked like a turtle without its shell to him. But then added that if the legend of the Montauk Monster grows, it might show up in the Proof comic series one day as one of the creatures housed at the Lodge.

"The Lodge is like a reserve. It's a nature reserve," Rossmo said. "They have all kinds of cryptids. They even have Leprechauns. I like the Leprechauns a lot."

"I think the fairies are the most popular. And the Dover Demon," said Grecian. "It's a legend from Dover, Mass., from the early '70s when some teenagers, on three separate occasions, saw a critter in the woods out there. Lots of witnesses and lots of scared people described it to sheriff's deputies, but nobody's ever seen it again. What we've said is that the Lodge scooped up the Dover Demon right after those three sightings, and that's why nobody's seen it again."

Rossmo added that in the comic, whatever the Dover Demon says ends up coming true. "He predicts the future in ways that you can't quite understand until they happen," Grecian said.

The creators said they would love for more of the cryptids that they've researched to show up in the news. "I would love a Loch Ness Monster to finally be caught, or captured on video," Grecian said, adding that the Loch Ness Monster will be showing up in the Proof series soon.

"And it would be cool if the Mothman showed up again," Rossmo added. "But that would freak me out. I'm scared of the Mothman. He makes my skin crawl."

"There was a Richard Gere movie a couple years ago about that," Grecian said of the Mothman legend, which originated in West Virginia. "A bunch of people in this one area saw a six-foot-tall critter with black wings and glowing red eyes that flew at their cars and, at the same time, a bunch of people got cryptic warnings not to drive on a bridge. And the bridge actually collapsed, and a whole bunch of people died on Christmas Eve, and nobody's seen the Mothman again.

"I did a whole ton of research on that recently, and my whole family was away, and my wife and son were out of town, and I read tons of stuff about the Mothman and couldn't sleep," Grecian said. "The Mothman is scary. And yes, I was doing research because he's going to be showing up in Proof."

The Proof creators said they'll also be introducing a main villain to the comic soon, but they couldn't reveal who that will be. "Proof's main nemesis shows up in Issue #13, which ships in October," Grecian said. "We're building toward something called the Cryptid War. And that's going to be devastating for the whole series."

The two creators said they're looking forward to seeing what happens with the frozen Sasquatch found in Georgia, with the discoverers claiming the body is real. "That someone has a Bigfoot cut up in their freezer is pretty weird," Rossmo said with a laugh, adding that they're both under the impression this one is a hoax. "But the interesting thing about the Bigfoot legend is that it's universal. It's just weird that culturally, it's recurring. Historically, these furry men have been a recurring thing in different places. It's weird that it keeps coming up, even after satellite imaging and everything -- that people are still talking about it."

Grecian said that if Proof himself were real, he'd have to go investigate the body in the freezer. "Proof doesn't remember what happened to him or where he came from. He only remembers being discovered by humans when he was a kid, and he has no memory of other... uh... 'Bigfeet,'" Grecian said with a laugh. "The throughline of our whole series is that he's looking for more Sasquatches. He needs to find his family. And he'd have to go see if maybe that's his family in that freezer."

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