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Comic Book / Proof (2007)
aka: Proof

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Proof is an American comic book series, published by Image Comics and created by writer Alex Grecian and artist Riley Rossmo. The story concerns John "Proof" Prufrock, a sasquatch whose past is a mystery to him, who works for a secret government organization dedicated to hunting down cryptids to conceal them from mainstream human society on a secret reservation known as "The Lodge".

The series ran for 33 issues, with the final five issues being printed as a separate 5-issue mini-series called Proof: Endangered.

Not related to the TV series of the same name, or the play of the same name.

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Tropes include:

  • Belief Makes You Stupid: One of the three plotlines running from issues #10 to #16 involves a crazed cult in Illinois who sacrifice their own children to the local thunderbirds and led by a fanatic preacher who gouged out his own eyes as a show of his faith. Subverted in issue #12 when the preacher takes Proof aside in private and reveals he was mostly playing things up for the sake of his followers, and the woman who tried to sacrifice her son to a thunderbird was a particularly zealous member of the cult.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Bigfoot and Sasquatch are nicknames for our protagonist, John "Proof" Prufrock, who has no idea what his actual species is. The Yeti is his estranged brother, Gilgamesh (or, as he later renamed himself, Mi-Chen-Po), who is pale-skinned and white-furred.
  • Big-Hearted Bigfoot: Proof himself, the main protagonist.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The future-telling Dover Demon turns out to be the larval form of the Mothman.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: The Dover Demon is apparently able to tell the future because it experiences memories in a non-linear manner, so it can "remember" what its future self knows.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: European Fairies, as introduced in issue #2 and expanded upon in issue #5. Females are voraciously predatory omnivores who need to eat 50 times their own weight in food on a daily basis — fortunately, they are inches-tall, and resemble green-skinned, pointy-eared humanoid women with wings. Males, on the other hand, are wingless, blue-skinned Horned Humanoids several times the size of humans; they are extremely passive, and wind up virtually sessile due to their racial affliction with hemochromatosis. We're not told the precise mechanics of how they mate, but it's noted that the vastly more common and aggressive female initiates the act — and then gnaws her way into the male's body and consume him from the inside out, leaving behind a hollow skin that hardens into a fragile, porcelain-like substance and crumbles into "pixie dust". The female is left enormously pregnant with a clutch of eggs; when she reaches her term, signified by a massive rumbling from her stomach, her fellows will brutally murder her, disemboweling her so that her eggs can be scattered upon the wind, hatching as they do so into winged larvae. Those that survive bird-based predation will ultimately mature and start the cycle over again.
  • Cain and Abel: Proof's brother Gilgamesh ultimately decides that, since his brother refuses to stop helping humanity, he needs to die.
  • Chupacabra: In the Proof universe, they are blood and flesh-eating cryptids native to the Mexico region who have gone undiscovered because they can disguise themselves as humans by wearing human skins, secreting an oil from their skin that is a natural tanning agent so such disguises last. A chupacabra who has migrated from Mexico into Minnesota is the antagonist of the first five issues, before being captured and brought to live on the Lodge, where she becomes a quasi-protagonist in her own right. We don't get to see a chupacabra outside of its human disguises until issue #32, where they are portrayed as a slimy, goblin-like humanoid with pointed ears and a flattened, up-turned nose.
  • Crossover: The Savage Dragon shows up in issues #11 to #16. He spends most of that time as just a severed upper torso after being ripped in half by the mother thunderbird. Proof also makes a cameo with a number of other Image Comics characters in the opening spread of Hack/Slash: Entry Wound, fighting the interdimensional villain Mary Shelley Lovecraft.
  • Death by Irony: Two-fold: one of the cryptid-eating poachers, Lawrence, is Eaten Alive by the female fairies at The Lodge. His boss, Colonel Dachshund, succeeds in a escape plan by carefully using himself as bait to lure in fairies individually, capture them, and eat them first.
  • Desecrating the Dead: The Yeti Mi-Chen-Po carries a walking stick capped with a human skull — taken from his first kill, Thomas Lent, as a way to further mock and humiliate the man who taught him to hate all humanity.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Cryptids are real, but magic isn't; they are simply animals with strange but perfectly natural physiological oddities. For example:
    • The fairies aversion to iron stems from their suffering hemochromatosis, an over-production of iron in the blood which also causes their distinctive coloration.
    • Chupacabras are able to steal human skins and wear them as disguises in part because they secrete preservative agents from their skin.
    • Spring-Heeled Jack was a circus orangutan wearing an advanced clockwork exoskeleton.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Thrice over with the chupacabra captured during the first five issues:
    • Her backstory in issue #17 reveals that she first crossed into America and became a resident at a slaughterhouse that was mostly manned by illegal Mexican migrants. There, she met a friendly and good-natured American man named Jeff who, having no idea of the chupacabra's true nature when she made her way there in a human disguise, took it upon himself to befriend her, teaching her the beginnings of how to speak English. When he was killed in a brawl between two of the workers, she flew into a rage and massacred everyone present at the slaughterhouse.
    • Having taken the skin of Elvis Chestnut's mother after the latter died of a heart attack, she similarly adopts a motherly attitude towards him, calling him "my skinboy" When he is fatally shot by a hypnotised Ginger in issue #32, she again flies into a grief-stricken — though this time less murderous — rage, and turns on Gilgamesh, whom she was originally willing to work with.
    • She also adopts three of the baby fairies born in issue #5 and takes very well to raising them, entering a symbiotic relationship with them because her bloodletting of her adopted son Joy feeds her hunger but also alleviates the problems he suffers from his hemochromatis.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When we first encounter the chupacabra, she mentions she is looking for somebody called "Gulliver". We later learn that Gulliver was Proof's first "human name", when he and his brother Gilgamesh were taken into human society during the Victorian era... and that the chupacabra has been recruited by Gilgamesh to kill Proof.
    • The Dover Demon is constantly spouting this, as it has the ability to see into the future.
  • Golem: One of these turns up during the first issue, and then is brought back as one of the three sublines taking place concurrently in issues #11 through to #16. It turns out he actually isn't a golem, but instead a member of a cryptid race that were once called giants; the golem "Joe" has been taken in and cared for various Jewish families for generations, but his true history has been lost.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: "Thomas Lent", in Proof's stories of his experiences in the Victorian era, replaces the historical figure of Theodore Lent, the manager and "husband" of Julia Pastrana. Theodore was already an exploitative man who shamelessly profited from his wife's misery, but Thomas is even worse, as evidenced by his murdering of his son for being born with his wife's deformity.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
  • Interspecies Romance: At the end of issue #16, Proof starts dating Isabella Bay, a human member of the Lodge, after receiving a pep talk on the subject from the Savage Dragon.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: One of the last things Gilgamesh does before quitting human society is brutally torture Thomas to death, slowly eviscerating him with an intestinal crank and gouging out his eyes as part of taxidermying him alive. Thomas is such a despicable man that it's really hard for audiences to care.
  • Pheromones: One of Proof's special abilities is that he can produce these to either lull people into a tranquil state or cause them to instinctively avert their attention from where he is. This is how he's able to go out in public without being recognized for what he is.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Partially, at least; in issue #22, Lawrence, one of the cryptid poachers imprisoned at the Lodge tries to use an iron nail to get past the fairies, but gets cocky — when he drops the nail, they descend on him and rapidly scour portions of him clean of flesh. Exactly as the Dover Demon had foretold.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The chupacabra's massacre at the Minnesota slaughterhouse after her human friend Jeff is killed in issue #17.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two of the cryptid poachers in issue #7 are named "Dupont and Dupond", after the Belgian bumbling investigators better known to the English-speaking world as Thomson and Thompson of Tintin.
    • At the end of issue #16, traitorous Lodge agent Autumn Song shows up at the apartment of Ginger's bitter (and newly deprived of his right hand by an alligator bite) ex-boyfriend Marc Ravello and poses with her arms open whilst stating, "face it, tiger... you just hit the jackpot!" This is an homage to the famous ending panel from Spider-Man where Mary Jane Watson was first introduced as Peter Parker's new official girlfriend.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Agent Autumn Song, Proof's original partner, turns out to be in league with Colonel Dachshund; a cryptid hating (and hunting, and eating) killer who wants to wipe out all cryptids, and eagerly betrays her former comrades in issue #7.
  • Tranquil Fury: At the end of issue #15, Proof gives the boy he rescued from being sacrificed to a thunderbird over to social services, and coldly chews out the boy's mother for the fact she was initially willing to murder her own child as a religious sacrifice before finally snapping to her senses, declaring he will use all his influence to see that she is never allowed to be in contact with the boy again.

Alternative Title(s): Proof