Regular readers will know I’ve been seriously enjoying the short, usually semi autobiographical comics in Smithmag’s Next Door Neighbor series (edited by the fine chap who is Dean Haspiel). The latest tale, Red Plastic, is something of a homecoming as it was created by Dan Goldman, whose praises I’ve sung on here a number of times for his Kelly series on Act-I-Vate and, of course, for Shooting War, which first started out as a webcomic on Smithmag before the expanded print version (I was impressed and addicted to episodes of the former and the latter became my favourite graphic work of 2007), not to mention his brand new print work 08: a Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail .
(a page from Red Plastic by Dan Goldman, borrowed from Smithmag)
So it seems rather fitting that Dan returns to Smithmag to join this excellent series, with a mixed media of drawn comics art and photography, something he does very well in my book, but here being fairly restrained compared to some of the wonderfully wild colours and effects he can use in series like Kelly. The restrained, almost monochromatic style (apart from the bright reds his odd but rather sweet elderly lady/little girl neighbour is so attracted to) suits the tale perfectly, the faded photographic backgrounds conveying a real sense of long-ago, partly remembered youth and the tale, mostly gentle, reminding me of that way some people come into our lives for a little while and out again and we don’t really think about it until we stop and look back.