Dan Goldman, who hit the comics scene running with a debut graphic novel hit Shooting Wars, has blossomed into one of the industry's most innovative artists and self-publishers. Somehow, he got Tor Books to pay him for the work, and then release the entirety of his new graphic novel, Red Light Properties, on their website for free to all. If this is where publishing is going, count me in.
It's a fine and fun connected series of horror stories that utilize both traditional panels and 3D architectural rendering. While the interface might still benefit from some additional iterations, it does put control over the timing of the reading experience in the user's hands – something print comics do naturally, but digital ones have been slow to recreate or improve upon.
Relocated from New York to Brazil where he wrote and drew this series, Goldman has also had the time and headspace to work out a narrative that functions on more than a few levels at once. This book represents an emerging comics talent coming into full possession of his storytelling powers.
I'm using the framework of ghost stories set in a sunny climate and a depressed economy to speak about the membrane between the world of the living and the dead, the memories of places after we've gone, and the roots of family during difficult times. The firm's owners, Jude Tobin and his soon-to-be-ex-wife Cecilia, struggle to keep their own mortgage paid, their electricity on and their young son provided for while the remains of the real estate market smolders around them. And while the company's exorcisms rely on Jude's frequent intake of 'entheogenic substances' to enter the spirit realm to deal with the dead, it's that same hallucinogen intake that's pushing him further away from his marriage, his kid, society at large… and the world of the living.