So, for part five on my ongoing series about the changing face of Image I’m going to discuss a series that, combined with the discovery of Chew, made me give Image a second chance. To make a horrible pun, it’s Proof that Image has more to offer than beefed-up superheroes.
Proof, written by Alex Grecian and illustrated by Riley Rossmo, is a series that was first described to me as a combination of Men in Black and X-Files, with the part of Mulder being played by a sasquatch named John “Proof” Prufrock. An odd fusion of ideas, true, but nonetheless an apt description. The longer version is a story of a giant nature preserve, called the Lodge, reserved exclusively for creatures that for one reason or another need to be sealed off from humanity. Some of these creatures, like the jackalope, are put in the preserve for their protection. Other creatures, such a particularly vicious breed of carnivorous fairy, are placed there so that they would cease to be a danger to others. These creatures, collectively called cryptids, are the world’s best kept secret.
Now, unlike most of the comic series I’ve described, which have been a mix of genres, Proof keeps to one category. It’s solid science fiction, and, like all good science fiction, it takes things that are seen as impossible and makes them probable. This is accomplished in part by compelling storytelling. The way Grecian develops his characters and the events of the book helps broaden the already far-reaching powers of suspension of disbelief. Another part of it is something that Grecian calls “cryptoids,” or little bits of information that are littered throughout the issues. It’s kind of like Pop-Up Video except for in a comic series. Some are funny, some are informative, some are just random, but all of them are interesting and add a new dimension to the events unfolding in the story.
Another big selling point is the title character himself. While the bulk of the story is centered on the happenings of the Lodge, most of the real conflict comes from Proof and his search for identity. With the appearance of a missing link and a level of sophistication that hasn’t been seen since the time of Thomas Jefferson, Proof is a war of opposites. He continually straddles the line between man and monster and feels at home with neither. Adding to the effect is Rossmo’s art work and colors which seems to perfectly suit the story, a rare quality in comics these days.
The first Proof series “concluded” a little over a year ago, ending with a tantalizing cliff hanger and the promise of a continuation in another arc of the series colorfully titled Proof: the Squid and the Mountain. More info about that here. Sadly, it might be a while before Proof graces the shelves once more, but in my humble opinion it’s a series worth waiting for.
In conclusion, Proof is an awesome read. It takes the essence of every urban legend and makes it a little less legendary and a little more real. How many stories can you say that about?