COMIC BOOK: "Ghosted in LA" chronicles the life of an LA transplant.

Sina Grace is lively. The GLAAD Media Award-nominated comic book writer a Samohi grad and former Hi De Ho comics employee is a jovial person, talking as if he’s known you his entire life even though you’ve just met, shooting quips out of his holster at the rate of a mile-a-minute.

He’s in high spirits talking about bringing his dream project to life, a book about, er, well, spirits (the undead kind).

Grace’s newest project, ‘Ghosted in LA,’ is slated to hit comic shelves next month, July 10. The initial 12-issue run (with art by Siobhan Keenan) will chronicle the life of  Daphne Walters, an LA transplant that moved to the city for love before getting ghosted.

After being left at the LAlter, the suddenly single Walters badly needs a place to stay and finds Rycroft Manor, a seemingly empty apartment complex that she soon discovers is occupied by lovelorn ghosts.

The creator-owned series will mark Grace’s first time developing a property from the ground up with final approval of all aspects of the comic being run by Grace.

“It’s personal, but not memoir,” Grace said. “I have an individual sort of perspective on things, ala Bryan Fuller or Joss Whedon. But I never actually got to exercise that muscle and show people. Boom Comics is really giving me the opportunity to flex and add to the pop culture pie.

Grace, writer of Marvel’s Iceman, IDW’s Jem and the Holograms and his autobio comics ‘Not My Bag’ and ‘Self-Obsessed’, recently took a few moments to talk with the Daily Press about how his new comic came to be and growing up in Santa Monica.

How did this comic come about?

I had wanted to work with (BOOM! Comics editor) Shannon Watters for a really long time. We had been batting some ideas around and we both had a pop-culture Spidey Sense tingle when the phrase ‘Melrose Place with ghosts!’ came on the table.

What’s crazy about this series is it developed really fast. There have been projects I’ve had that took months of gestation and more months of trying to develop and pitch, whereas ‘Ghosted in LA,’ I wrote the pitch in 30 minutes after my meeting with [Watters]. It came really fast. It took only a month to figure out the whole series.

But the story in this is these ghosts are a metaphor for single people. I wanted to meditate on the pros and cons of being single in 2019 without a Carrie Bradshaw type of bent.

How much did your upbringing in Santa Monica influence this comic?

Well, the series takes place in West Los Angeles, but Santa Monica is a huge influence, just as a city in and of itself.

It’s similar to Santa Cruz because it’s like a half beach city, half overdeveloped kind of neighborhood with money injected in because of tech. Try to revive some of Santa Monica’s weirdness, please! (laughs)

I feel like there’s a tension within the cultures that I always try to be mindful of —there are people that don’t want change and there are people that overindulge in change and Santa Monica really reflects that.

I went to Samohi and we were teetering near four thousand students of all backgrounds and that reflects what LA is. Even though its all spread out, you can’t hide that it’s this giant melting pot. I was raised here and have lived my entire life in LA, aside from college, so I wanted to reflect a version of the city that doesn’t have the ‘La La Land’ and ‘Under the Silver Lake’ sheen.  

 

Can you expand upon your upbringing in Santa Monica, specifically your times at Hi De Ho and Samohi?

Well, the owners of Hi De Ho the original owners, Bob and Mark Hennessey were my moral compass and Santa Monica compass. They were fair and were the dudes that taught me the difference between right and wrong, but with the laid back Santa Monica approach. They were like, ‘Hey man, if life is stressing you out, walk to the beach and walk out into the world. We’re just grains of sand, tackle it later.’ They taught me a lot as well as my teachers and the environment at Samohi. Everyone felt invested.

And Samohi was interesting. I was there the years Stephen Miller (senior advisor for policy for Donald Trump) was there. As much as he was a weenie, we were all very fair in giving him his platform to be a weenie. (laughs) I think that was the remarkable thing about Samohi there was room and understanding that there were different perspectives.

What’ll the tone of this comic be? Your work is typically humorous, though as evident in Iceman and your autobio work, you have dramatic chops as well.

It’s quirky and the characters banter, but they go to serious places. For example in Iceman, there’s optimism and hopefulness but there are allusions to Stonewall and conversion therapy.

‘Ghosted’ is less-scandalous Melrose Place, a little more Crazy-Ex Girlfriend. I can’t not have levity in the book, it’s just who I am. I think that’s why I never vibed with Game of Thrones. It’s just everyone killing each other and so bleak. It’s like, come on! Lighten up!

What do you want audiences to take from ‘Ghosted in LA’?

I want you to look at your neighbor differently, and realize they’re human beings with own perspective. Remember that whenever you’re interacting with someone. I grew up in apartment buildings my whole life and you have these long-term relationships with absolute strangers. My neighbors say I’m loud because I walk around in high heels I have to be mindful instead of combative. We’re all living together and on top of each other. Based on my upbringing here, I believe strongly in practical activism. I believe the individual can inspire change, even if it’s just a bit of kindness.

Ghosted in LA #1 arrives July 10, 2019, via BOOM! Studios’ BOOM! Box imprint. For more on Sina Grace and his work, visit http://sinagrace.com

angel@smdp.com

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