Ghosted in L.A. Vol 1 by Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan follows Daphne Walters as she moves to Los Angeles from Montana to stay with her boyfriend, Ronnie. Unfortunately, life doesn’t go as planned, and she finds herself stumbling upon Rycroft Manor, which is haunted by ghosts. It’s a ghoulish romp that takes a good look at that point in life when teenagers finally get to venture out on their own, and meet new kinds of people.
Sina Grace’s dialogue is one of the strong suits here. While the plot takes an expected turn into the supernatural, much of the drama revolves around Daphne adjusting to her new life in Los Angeles. If the dialogue felt unnatural, that sense of realism and angst would be lost. This intertwines with Siobhan Keenan’s artwork and DC Hopkins’ lettering. The pacing in the storytelling is top notch, as conversations have room to breathe and word balloons never feel like they’re crowding the artwork. Keenan’s layouts tend to only be five panels per page, giving room for various detail and drama. It helps because the reader never feels visually overwhelmed, and it gives more room for Keenan to maximize the drama in the character poses.
Keenan’s characters are dynamic and well designed. Daphne, as well as fellow living characters Ronnie and Kristi, feel well fleshed out with careful thought put into their designs. For example, while Daphne’s religious background is never really brought up, you can see her wearing a Star of David necklace at various points in the series. It’s a nice way to show a character’s background without bringing unnatural attention to it.
This attention is also applied to the ghosts, who each died at a different point in Rycroft Manor’s history. The clothing choices not only convey the era each ghost is from, but also a bit of the ghosts’ personalities. Cathy Le’s coloring stands out here, as the ghosts are rendered in various shades of blue, gray, and green to suggest the in-life color of the ghosts. Le’s coloring throughout the volume is superb. Naturalistic colors in the characters and backgrounds add to the realism of the book’s look, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story. And when the drama heats up, Keenan drops away the background and gives room for Le to deliver bursts of red and orange, and even some blues. When Daphne meets her roommate, she is dismissed in an icy way, and the gray of the wall is replaced with a cool blue that helps get the tone across to the reader.
The ghosts themselves are an interesting batch. Sina Grace takes advantage of the vastness of L.A., as each of the ghosts has a radically different personality. But Grace is also careful with making sure that Daphne never comes off as completely aloof. As she meets the ghosts, she has to navigate their rules and personalities, but she isn’t Thor smashing coffee cups for no reason.
If there is a shortcoming in Ghosted in L.A. Vol. 1, it’s in the abilities of the ghosts. Each ghost has their own special ability, and while Daphne learns about them in an organic way, the powers themselves often feel too convenient to the plot, especially as the volume moves towards its climax. Since it’s an ongoing series, perhaps this was the best way to introduce the rules so that more tension could be built in later chapters, but it’s frustrating that this part of the narrative doesn’t stand as strong as the rest of the work.
Ghosted in L.A. Vol. 1 is an entertaining coming-of-age story with well developed characters, dialogue that feels true to life, and artwork that allows the drama to breathe without going over the top. The ghosts are a unique way to tackle the various types of people one meets in a new city, and while the parts around their abilities feels a little too convenient, the rest of the narrative crafted by Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan ensures a satisfying read.