Kate or Die “Little Ghost” (2014-present; updates whenever)
Written and drawn by Kate Leth
In November 2014, Kate Leth decided to switch over the format of her Kate or Die! from autobiographical to a young adult story starring various ghosts, monsters, and beasties. The story was later titled “Little Ghost” and currently has eleven chapters. The last update ends on a cliffhanger, and Leth posted on her website that it will be continued in 2015 with updates coming between her various projects, like Bravest Warriors and Edward Scissorhands. For now, “Little Ghost” is an adorable teen monster mystery with a diverse cast of characters and lush coloring that you’ll wish had more installments.
The basic premise of “Little Ghost” is that a bunch of Universal horror-type monsters (who happen to be cute teenagers) are going to a big house party thrown by Lucy, a happy girl with a veiny, heart shaped head. (Her condition hasn’t been explained yet.) The protagonist is Lara, a shy, but fun loving ghost, and Leth introduces the readers to the rest of the cast over the course of the eleven chapters. Each character has a distinct look or outfit from Lara’s “fancy hat” to Andy the vampire’s grey rimmed glasses. Leth plays with horror tropes to create comedic moments like the introduction of the Cthulhu type creature Luke, who has more in common with Catbug than any of the Elder Gods.
Above all, “Little Ghost” is a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously and builds up its cast of characters before throwing in any mystery elements or big plot twists. The characters talk and act like actual teenagers with the right mix of awkwardness and fun. Lucy is exasperated when some party goers decide to put nacho cheese in her parents’ hot tub, but ends up taking charge once the power goes out and things start going bump in the night. Leth’s simple, but iconic drawing style allows readers to see themselves in the various cast members. Her dark, rich colors juxtaposed with the cute characters create an eerie, yet welcoming atmosphere. As the plot start to picks up, she starts switching up panel shapes using right triangle panels to show the characters scrambling to fix their power outage problem.
In “Little Ghost”, Kate Leth applies her distinct cartoonish art style to horror monsters. She also uses a unique lettering style for each character. For example, Lara’s speech bubbles have spectral, cursive words. In eleven, far too brief chapters, Leth has utilized the party setting to flesh out a unique cast of characters and lay the groundwork for an ongoing supernatural mystery storyline. “Little Ghost” is like her Adventure Time: Seeing Red graphic novel, but spookier and cuter. It is a quick, fun read with characters that will provoke a “Dawww!” in all but the most cold-hearted readers.