The internet was abuzz last week when it was announced that Dan Goldman’s Eisner-nominated Red Light Properties was coming to Chris Roberson’s digital comics line Monkeybrain comics.
If you’re not familiar with the comics and creator, we actually interviewed Dan back in 2010 when Red Light Properties had just debuted on the Tor.com website as a webcomic. We’ve re-posted some of that interview below, with a new link to where you can find Red Light Properties.
Secret Identity: Let' start with the basics, Dan. For those who haven’t checked out the comic yet, what’s the premise of Red Light Properties?
Dan Goldman: Red Light Properties is the first book in a series that tells the story of a small real estate firm on Miami Beach that exorcises haunted houses that sit stagnant on the market, and then connects them with victims of foreclosure who need a place to live.
The firm is run by the Tobins, a married couple in the process of splitting up on page one. Cecilia is the broker who runs the real estate part of the business, and Jude handles “the ghost stuff”. His psychic abilities are “enhanced” by various plant substances used by tribal shamans that psychotropically boost his sensitivities and allow him to enter the spirit world to exorcise the dead from the real estate they are trying to sell.
And since the Tobins’ personal and professional lives are all tangled together, the horror elements balance nicely with the character drama.
What inspired you to create Red Light Properties?
The nugget of the story, the agency and the main characters, came to me while drinking a glass of water in 2001 while living in a crappy old house in Brooklyn; I wrote about the genesis here.
All that said, RLP is really a smoothie of much of my experiences, relationships and flavors; that makes it very personal while being entirely fiction. Everything I’d done and every project I’ve ever worked on has contributed to this series.
This is a story you’ve been working on for a number of years. How much has it changed since the original idea?
A lot actually; since I’ve been tooling with this for a long time over the years, it’s gone through many rewrites. The first draft actually took place in Brooklyn, NY; some of those stories have evolved nicely into a backstory I’ll slowly reveal over the course of the series.
Some of the supporting cast has changed a bit, particulary Kako, who readers haven’t met yet; his role was filled by another cat who’s been moved to enter the tale around Vol. 5 now. I’ve been working on these characters and the larger story for nine years and the elements that were always truest have stayed firmly in place.
You’ve set the story in Miami and you’ve really incorporated a lot of the cultural elements from the area. What was it about Miami that made it the right setting for Red Light Properties?
I grew up there, and the Miami portrayed on TV and in magazines is really only a few blocks of a much stranger place. When I first saw the pilot for “Dexter” on Showtime, I could see that story and my characters walking similar streets... Behind the postcard pastel-and-neon image, there are layers and layers of darkness to the city, and it’s fertile enough to tell a wide range of stories.
Being one of the pioneers of webcomics, how do you feel the medium has changed over the past few years?
As uncomfortable as I am calling myself a pioneer, I do think web/digital comics are clearly coming into their own. Devices are catching up with the ideas, and the digital marketplace everyone was waiting for will keep arriving in different shapes/platforms for a while. Not only that, but the population of potential readers carrying all manner of web-enables screens in their purses and pockets show how large the digital comics audience really can be.
Can you give us a few hints about what we can expect as the story unfolds over the next few months?
You’ll get to see the RLP crew doing what they have to do to save their own building from foreclosure and pushing themselves and each other to their limits in the process. I promise you’ll laugh, cry and be very very afraid by the end.
You can buy the first volume of Red Light Properties for $.99 on ComiXology right now.