Los Angeles is a city of ghosts. They linger on the sidewalk, forever haunt the crumbling old mansions that once belonged to movie stars, and reside in the rooms of historic hotels. Spirits are on every path, behind every corner. But Los Angeles is also a city of hope, where people venture to find themselves. Sina Grace’s Ghosted in L.A., picks up on all of the above to create a sharp and witty series about love and life in a city where the dead never really rest in peace.
Ghosted in L.A.
Sina Grace (writer), Siobhan Keenan, Cathy Le (Illustrators)
August 5, 2020
When Daphne Walters decided to follow her boyfriend, Ronnie, to a Los Angeles college, she didn’t expect to get dumped before the semester began, and fallen out with her best friend, Kristi. Paired with a reserved roommate determined to keep the room to herself, Daphne starts to regret her impetus decision to uproot her life far away from home. Walking around, she stumbles across Rycroft Manor, a run-down — yet fully working — old mansion like something straight out of the silent movie era. But the residency is not abandoned: the inhabitants are all ghosts from different periods in time, shepherded by landlady Agi Monroe, who swans around her mansion with the authority of Gloria Swanson portraying Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Through the tenants, Daphne learns some hard truths about life, love, and being selfless in a place where more people are suffering than she first realised, whether they are alive or dead.
Siobhan Keenan (Jen and the Holograms) and Cathy Le’s illustrations pop with colour and the signposts between Rycroft’s silently palatial demeanour and the college campus are vividly signposted and clear. Every character has their unique style, pointing to the individualism of this world both she and GLAAD Award-nominee Grace articulate through the pages. There is a strong sense of individualised sexuality in the book, with characters open and expressive of their sexuality — for example, Daphne and Ronnie have a lovely open conversation about their sexual fluidity. Characters are so relatably petty at times (ghosting, pining, impetuous behaviour) that their flaws make them identifiable. Daphne is incredibly self-indulgent and so wrapped up in her relationship with Ronnie, chasing him one minute and annoyed that he is ghosting her the next, that’s she remains oblivious to her behaviour, oblivious to the fact that she is hurting Kristi. The ‘ghosting’ in the title has a three-way meaning: Daphne ghosting Kristi (with repercussions to come), Ronnie ghosting Daphne, and the ghosts of Rycroft Manor.
The glimpses from the past are presented gorgeously, in sepia tones signalling moments in the distant and not-so-distant history, as we learn about the ghosts’ past lives and tragic deaths. In the present day, there is a touching moment involving the youngest member of the undead crushing on Daphne (she is oblivious), which results in them, quite sweetly, attending a concert together. I also really loved the tribute to iconic L.A. record store Amoeba Music or ‘Boema’ in this case, and the appearance of iconic Forest Lawn cemetery.
All in all, Ghosted in L.A. is a fun, often touching, tale of life, love, and ghosts in the city of angels, and one young woman learning that sometimes you have to look to the past, to make sense of the present.