Sina Grace writer & artist
Siobhan Keenan artist
Cathy Le colorist
DC Hopkins letterer
Boom Box / Boom Studios
To write this review, I had to go back and read the first 4 issues of the series with the intention of forgetting what I know is in store for characters and the plot. Each issue still brought me joy which is good news for anyone looking for a series that can be enjoyed in multiple reads.
Written by Sina Grace and with fantastic art by Siobhan Keenan, the story revolves around Daphne who has just moved to L. A. for school with her boyfriend Ronnie. She’s on the outs with her best friend who told her not to pick a college because of boys and her assigned roommate has no intention of becoming friends when Ronnie dumps her. Feeling sorry for herself, she does what any of us would and goes swimming in a pool of a random abandoned manor where she meets a diverse group of ghosts who are tethered to the house in their afterlife.
This series is a lot of fun and most, if not all the characters are sympathetic. While I really like Daphne as a character, I personally struggle relating to someone who is so much of extrovert. She is a little bit selfish in ways that feel true to experience of a teenager moving across the country after high school to step into the world for the first time. She ends issue 1 by begging the ghosts to let her stay at Rycroft manor with them, then immediately opens issue 2 by accusing them of making her feel like a visitor instead of a fellow resident. Sina Grace doesn’t seem to endorse his protagonist’s selfishness because he has other characters call her on her privilege several times. I love the way Sina handles these instances because each time the goal doesn’t be to shame Daphne, but rather to showcase the other character’s patience.
While the majority of the story is from Daphne’s POV, other characters are given space in flashbacks at the beginning of each issue drawn by Sina Grace rather than Siobhan Keenan. Agi, the ghost owner of the manor, bought the house when she was alive with money from her divorce settlement to shelter struggling actresses as they attempt to follow their dreams. She continues to shelter lost souls after death by acting as a matron figure to the ghosts now tied to her property and Daphne. Bernard struggled with relationships in his lifetime because he was ashamed to come out of the closet to be seen in public with his partner. In his afterlife, he uses his own shortcomings to recognize Ronnie’s struggle to come out to Daphne and pushes her to be a friend to him when he needs one. Maurice’s story is possibly the biggest spoiler of the first trade so skip to the next paragraph if you want to avoid it. In life, Maurice pushed away any and all personal connections and wanted to be left alone by his family who cared about him. In afterlife, he became a ghoul at Rycroft and gives into his ghoulish impulses to attempt eat Daphne and Ronnie because they are a risk of leaking the truth of Rycroft and disturbing his peace.
The series has plenty of mysteries and fun and no small amount of interpersonal teen drama, but what it really has going for it is a beautiful sense of letting characters grow and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. College for a privileged Jewish girl is a time to figure out who you are and how you fit in the world and Daphne gets to do that with a friendly set of ghosts willing to support her along the way.
At the time of writing this review, 6 issues past what is included in the first volume of Ghosted in L. A. have come out. So the good news is, I can say with certainty that many of the loose threads or unanswered questions in this volume you may think will be forgotten will in fact be answered or addressed further in the series.
Conni Johnson (they/she) works at Rick’s Comic City in Nashville, TN where you can see their chalk art on a semi-weekly basis. They also write and draw under the name NE1 Comics. You can keep up with their art on Instagram @ne1comics if they ever remember to update it.
Look for Ghosted In LA volume one at your local comic shop or bookstore! Or ask to order it with this ISBN 9781684155057. If you can’t find it at either location you can find it on Amazon.