A Relatable Story with Ghosts
With just nine issues, Ghosted in L.A. has proven itself to be one of the most thought provoking, engaging, and fun comic book stories in recent times. Creator Sina Grace is an amazing writer who has been able to perfectly mix the supernatural ghost stories and the slice of life coming-of-age college life.
Ghosted is one of those stories you can’t put down once you start, not just because of Grace’s writing but also Siobhan Keenan’s amazing and detailed artwork complimented by Cathy Le’s brisk coloring. Even when the writing, artwork, or even coloring isn’t always that great, it is so rare and doesn’t change just how powerful this series is.
How Ghosted Began
The series started out with Daphne going to the same college that her boyfriend is attending in California. Kristi, Daphne’s best friend, warns her that traveling that far for her boyfriend isn’t a good idea, causing their friendship to sour.
Once in college, though, she and Ronnie break up and her roommate, Michelle, is very cold to her. Soon after, Daphne walks around campus and finds an abandoned building, known as Rycroft Manor, with a pool. Finding no one inside and needing to let off some steam, Daphne goes for a swim.
As she tries to clear her mind, Daphne is surprised by the appearances of ghosts. At first terrified, she sees that the ghosts aren’t dangerous and don’t want to harm her as all they want is to be left alone and for no one else to know about them. Daphne, initially, accepts until realizing that they all share a sense of loneliness.
They agree to a deal of her staying in the Manor and hanging out with the ghosts, so long as she tells no one and does favors for them that the ghosts are unable to do. The first issue ends with Daphne feeling more exited and confident than how she felt before. She decides to go back to her dorm and texts Kristi, hoping to patch things up.
After Meeting the Ghosts
From there the next issues of Ghosted in L.A. go back and forth between stories set in the ghosts’ past and the present.
Flashbacks reveal the creation of Rycroft Manor by Agi, the head of the ghosts, who was a retired actress in the early 1930s, Bernard’s budding career as a lawyer in the ’80s as he’s too afraid of coming out, and recent newcomer Zola’s life as a singer and barely ever finding time to rest.
In the present Daphne learns that Ronnie is actually gay and he finds out about the ghosts, one of them not trusting Daphne and wanting to eat her. Zola and Daphne forming a bond as they find a door in the basement that no ghost can pass through, Agi possessing Daphne so as to perform a ritual to help Shirley pass on. This leads to Daphne feeling empty and needing to find herself, Michelle learning about the ghosts and planning to get rid of them, and the basement door opening and Agi entering the darkness.
All this in nine issues and yet it doesn’t feel like it’s too much while making you wonder what happens next.
While not everyone has made relationships with ghosts like Daphne has, possibly, it doesn’t take away from how relatable many of the characters are and their stories. We’ve all had falling outs with friends and end up not talking with them for long periods of time.
Anyone could look at Daphne and the choices she makes, like going to college just for her boyfriend and not know what she actually wants to study or never admitting she was wrong once reuniting with Kristi, and feel like she’s too much of a mess to relate to. Those are all things so many people have gone through, maybe, and just as many can learn from, much like Daphne does. Sure, it’s a lot to happen for one character but that’s part of her journey.
The same can be said for the other characters, whether alive or dead. Ronnie realized he was gay once he got to college but had a difficult time accepting or even telling others about it. Over time he joined a queer group that helped him out and even, briefly, had a relationship with Bernard.
While her backstory and motivation was only revealed in the latest issue, it was enough to understand who Michelle is. Sure, she first felt like your typical goth girl who judges Daphne due to her religious background. But all that changed once we learned of her past before college.
While at times cold and very strict, Michelle is hurting in the inside. She’s so serious with her beliefs, that a small act of shoplifting from when she was younger has her go to the same minister constantly to confess over it. Even when the minister tells Michelle it isn’t necessary, she is too scared of how God sees her.
As her parents aren’t religious and she immediately accuses the minister, and many others, of seeing her as a burden, you have to wonder what happened to her. The burden Michelle feels, the guilt that eats hers up, and her willingness to get rid of the ghosts because they are not considered natural by what she believes is all laid out in one issue but without making it feel stuffed. Surely, there are people out there that can relate to Michelle, either through all or one of her issues.
Ghosts’ Struggles Continue
With the ghosts, you get a variety of ways readers can see themselves in. Bernard, unlike Ronnie, probably never had a chance to come out as he was afraid it could affect his job. With Shirley you see how being a ghost for so long and the guilt of causing her own son’s death made her want to pass on, even if she didn’t know what could happen.
Zola, being the newest ghost at Rycroft, captures the many psychological and mental traumas after dying. She’s initially confused, barely talks to anyone at first, but slowly starts to accept what happened over time.
Even if he was a jerk, one can still learn from Maurice’s behavior. He was impatient and treated others horribly, thus leading to him not only dying alone and not being discovered for a while but also wasting his afterlife by treating others like they were nothing.
Ghosted’s Best Aspect
While Ghosted has great use of mystery and gives us great questions, it’s more important aspect is its characters. As a side note, despite not being planned that way, the release of the tenth issue being delayed due to the coronavirus and the way the ninth ends is a perfect cliffhanger that if it were done as a television show it would be the end of a season finale.
This series has been surprising, emotional, and hard to put down. Everyone involved in the making of it should be proud of themselves.
On a scale, from best to least consistent, I would say it would be: Eighth>Ninth>Seventh>Fifth>Second>Fourth>Sixth>First>Third.