Red Light Properties: Under the Miami Moon

Red Light Properties: Under the Miami Moon  (w/a) Dan Goldman MonkeyBrain Comics  $.99 – Ages 15+
Red Light Properties: Under the Miami Moon
(w/a) Dan Goldman
MonkeyBrain Comics
$.99 – Ages 15+
Closing down their exorcist/realty office at the end of a particularly rough day, the Red Light Properties team go home to their separate lives and their separate demons. Much drinking ensues. Also, ghosts.
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While it took me two reads to settle into being dropped in medias res on the slice of life approach to this story of a couple struggling to stay married, I instantly gravitated toward the backgrounds and structures that Goldman creates to make the world of Red Light Properties substantial. Goldman mixes ( I believe) photorealism, computer animation, and traditional comic composition to create a place that is familiar yet slightly off balance.
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Many times I felt myself staring into the panels/layouts that presented the idea of real grass, or a real piece of furniture, or the real backdrop of a Miami skyline (see example below), my mind racing with thoughts of  how effectively semiotics and simulacra in the hands of some people works—in other words that reality is copied into fantasy which activates a sense in my mind as I read that what I am seeing and experiencing on the page (or screen) is somehow tangible, or at least that it communicates something that doesn’t trigger sensors in my head that scream FAKE!  I have been swayed positively in this way before, and not with the help of illegal substances. Any fan like myself of the Adult Swim programming block on Cartoon Network has seen this artistic blend in animated shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force or Frisky Dingo. I am not 100% sure why such choices are made (I do not have a strong enough background in art/design theory), but I like that it is attempted, as it challenged my traditional reading approach in the right way. Even if some of it still doesn’t settle right for me, it is the fact that it makes me wonder “why” that makes it successful.
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Pay attention to the backgrounds!
Pay attention to the backgrounds!
According to his bio at the end of the story, Goldman has built a career in pushing the envelope into comic composition for digital platforms, and I am intrigued to at least look at his other work to see if there has been an arc of development. I will say that if Red Light was a straight print comic I would have had some problems with the way it was presented, but using comiXology to walk me through the story panel by panel and scene by scene made sense and felt…well it felt right. I tried one more reading of Red Light in a traditional full page spread on my device, and it still wasn’t the same and felt a bit laborious. What does that mean? I am not sure, as I am still slowly adopting to reading more digital stories, and with DC Comics announcing an at least intriguing idea of its next Batman homage to be a choose-your-own-adventure type of story with music and all the bells and whistles, I am beginning to think that all the noise about the possibilities of digital storytelling is starting to show some promise and will require more of my attention sooner rather than later.
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Red Light Properties: Under the Miami Moon is a quick first read, but I would ask you to go back after a day or so and re-read it. Make sure with each read to use guided view technology—relax and let the application do the job. If you do this your secondary and maybe tertiary re-vistings of the story will begin to shine light on nice things that are wonderful about good comics like nuances of character emotion, narrative pace, and of course overall design aesthetic.
Direct link to purchase on ComiXology:
http://cmxl.gy/YIzuxz
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Jeffrey Hayes is a contributor to the Capeless Crusader website. He spends his time reading and writing on a variety of things for his own entertainment and every now and again pokes his head out to confirm that the world is indeed going on about daily business just fine without him. He still wants to see movies of his dreams. contact: jldprod2002@gmail.com
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