Proof volume 1: Goatsucker


This book was so bad that I’m not sure where to begin.  So many things wrong with this book, so little space in which to complain.  Well, I guess I could complain a lot since this is my blog, but believe it or not I do try to keep these entries around 500 words. 

Nothing says "family fun" like a variation of "suck" on the cover

Nothing says "family fun" like a variation of "suck" on the cover

Perfunctory plot summary: Proof is about a government agency that investigates urban legends IN THE REAL WORLD!  Bigfoot works for this agency, and is kinda the main character but not really since the author isn’t sure who to focus on.  Anyway, Bigfoot (who goes by Proof, which is short for Prufrock) searches out cryptids (creatures (like yetis and such) who have been seen by for whom no hard evidence exists) and tries to figure out his past.

Things start to go wrong for this book in the author’s introduction, where Alexander Grecian sets such a somber tone that at first I thought there was no way he could be serious.  Right away we’re told that this isn’t really a comic book because there weren’t going to be any fanciful explanations for things.  Fairies exist, but they’re not magical so let’s all get over that rubbish.  But then Grecian tells us that there is magic in the world and oh look my brain just fell out.

From there the book continues to take itself entirely too seriously.  Page after page is cluttered with “Cryptoids,” little factoids about sasquatch or paintball guns or whatever the hell else Grecian decided we need to know about.  Naturally, this helps drain the book of any kind of fun and narrative flow because nothing drags you out of a story like reading useless trivia.

I’d like to say that there are some fun ideas in here, but I’m not sure I can do that with any confidence.  The government keeping fairy tale creatures locked up was done better in Shrek, but Grecian adds extinct animals (like the dodo bird) to the mix for a little spice.  He tells us that fairies aren’t nice and that they’ll try to eat people on sight, but then we see normal folks traipsing through their habitat without a care in the world.

This volume focuses on the chupacabra, but it isn’t any version of that beastie that I was familiar with.  This one is more like the Bug in the first Men in Black; it kills people and wears their skin for a while.  Sadly, the chupacabra is the most interesting character in the book and that’s mostly because of its “clothing” choices.  Interestingly, I don’t remember seeing any goats.  Not one.

But even here I think the creators dropped the ball.  Our villain starts off ambiguous and creepy and violent.  It stays that way for a good part of the book, even if the violence is off panel.  But then Proof basically talks it into giving itself up and our story is over.  Sure, the thing has a mysterious past and seems to know all about Bigfoot.  And sure it decides to wear the skin of a new recruit’s mother (At least I think the dude was recruited by the end of the story.  It’s a little vague.  You know, just what you want from a first volume.).  But by the end of the book I didn’t care, and that’s partly because I really wanted to stop looking at the pages.

The art just plain sucks.  It’s so muddy and ill defined that I almost think the book would’ve been better off without an artist.  Really.  Word balloons arranged on blank pages might’ve been better.  Everything is so sketchy and muddy that it’s often impossible to tell what’s happening and the characters are so ugly that you have to wonder if Riley Rossmo has an undiagnosed eye condition.  For example, something happens to one of the male fairies, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell what that something was.  The other characters certainly reacted to it and made a big fuss over whatever it was, but I’ll be damned if I knew what they were reacting to.

I wanted this book to be good, since there’s a lot of potential here, so maybe it’s a victim of my heightened expectations.  For what it’s worth, other reviewers seem to like it quite a bit.  Personally, I don’t see volume 2 finding its way to my bookshelf.


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