This week sees the debut of Dan Goldman’s Red Light Properties published via MonkeyBrain comics. This tripped out psychedelic supernatural sleuthing book, is a perfect fit for the MonkeyBrain imprint and sees the first four titles available to download in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
With its story of psychic estate agents who clean up previously haunted properties in order make them saleable (or green lighted) Red Light Properties is a haunting mix of supernatural whodunnit with a surreal drugged out quality – in a large part thanks to lead character Jude’s reliance on psychedelics in order to waken the spirits. It’s eclectic mix of styles makes it feel like a strange mix of classic UK TV show Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, mixed with Stephen Kings the Shining and given a Grant Morrison style psychedelic makeover under the hot Miami sun. Goldman’s mixed media art style combines stylised line work with photographic backgrounds and digital rendering helps further the other worldly feel to the book, as does the use of landscape pages which allows Goldman’s layouts to have a real confidence to them and work brilliantly as a digital product.But this is much more than just an acid fuelled ghost story whodunit, thanks to Goldman’s thoughtful and considered writing. There’s a very episodic feel going from case to case, which makes it feels like a tv series and the world and characters are so well realised that even with the early issues you feel as if you picking the book up a dozen issues in. With sub-plots that explore the relationship between Jude and his dead father (who he keeps in limbo in order to channel his spiritual advice) and also his own son,who is developing psychic powers himself, it gives the book a real depth that prevents it from becoming too cliche.
Because the relationships and personalities already feel fully formed the dynamic between characters (especially between Jude and ex-wife/business partner Ceceilia) are brilliantly fleshed out which means Red Light Properties feels like a book with plenty of stories to tell that wont run out of steam soon, which hopefully means they will be around for plenty of time to come.
Of the four books released so far, the stand outs are Goodbye Donnie Cheng which sees Jude and Ceci’s investigate the murder of a young boy and sees them discover their son’s nascent psychic power in a brilliantly haunting sequence that sees him draw out the last hours of Donnie’s life in eery childlike drawing. And also Underwater which sees them perform an underwater exorcism of a pool party that ended in shocking circumstances.
Red Light Properties are available from MonkeyBrain comics via ComiXology for 69p per issue.