EXCLUSIVE: Kate Leth heads to Nightosphere with new ADVENTURE TIME Graphic Novel
We’ve got a treat, Adventure Time fans! Hot on the heels of the two original graphic novels by Danielle Corsetto and Zack Sterling, KaBOOM! has revealed exclusively to Newsarma that they’re doing a third original graphic novel this March, Adventure Time: Seeing Red written by Kate Leth, the acclaimed creator of the webcomic Kate or Die (www.kateordiecomics.com) and many recent Adventure Time comics and covers. We did a quick chat with Leth about her upcoming GN and her other projects.
Newsarama: Kate, what's this new graphic novel about?
Kate Leth: Seeing Red is as Goth an Adventure Time story as they would let me write. (laughs)
It's a story about Marceline going home for a family reunion in the Nightosphere in order to retrieve her bass guitar - only to find it's gone missing! I don't want to tell you too much more, but it's definitely got a lot to do with parent-child relationships. She also travels along with Jake, so it's a partnership we haven't seen much of.
There are songs, too! I wrote some songs.
Nrama: You've done a few AT covers/stories, such as the gender-flipped Lemongrabs in Fionna and Cake. How did this story come about?
Leth: Shannon (Watters), an editor at BOOM! Studios, kind of decided to give me a shot writing a larger story! I'd expressed interest after doing some short backups, but I was blown away by the opportunity.
When I pitched the idea of a Marceline and Jake team-up, I think we all saw a lot of potential and I got the go-ahead. The script's had some very positive feedback, and it's all exciting to me. I honestly didn't know if I could do it, but I did!
Nrama: What's it like doing a longer-form work than your usual tales?
Leth: It's... harder! This story took quite awhile from concept to completion. I've always been a short story kind of girl, and it really challenged me. Plotting things out, going back and working in foreshadowing and payoffs; it's all a bit new to me. I found it incredibly satisfying, though. I plan to do more writing for comics in the future.
Nrama: And what's it like working with Zack Sterling? What does he bring to the work?
Leth: Zack is incredible. He's shown me a couple little pieces of art from the book, and I get giddy every time. I'm new to writing for someone else to illustrate, and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it - I can be a bit of a control freak!
Luckily, Zack is the very best, and it's been a total joy. His cover is so metal. I love it.
Nrama: Adventure Time has attracted such a large and diverse number of creators to both the cartoon and comic series -- what do you think is the fundamental appeal of this world and these characters?
Leth: I think... Adventure Time can be so many things. Some episodes are these crazy battles, some are small scenes about characters you've never heard of.
The comics are, in large part due to Ryan North's limitless genius, incredibly clever. It's smart, weird, bizarre, funny and so full of heart. I was a fan before I got to work on the comics myself, and I hope that shows.
I have a lot of love for the world of Ooo. I like that it isn't afraid to be scary, and how it appeals to so many people. I like that it's based around love and adventure, rather than just making fun of things. The creators attracted to working on it all seem to be people with an appreciation for magic.
Nrama: For our readers who haven't checked out Kate or Die, tell us a bit about your webcomic work -- it's a real combination of humor and startling honesty.
Leth: It's kind of all over the place! I've been drawing it for a few years now, sporadically. It isn't a continuous arc or even a regular diary comic; it just happens to be about whatever I'm feeling at the time.
Sometimes it's autobiographical, sometimes a bit political, often dealing with geek culture in general. I talk a lot about sex and my feelings! I think it's just how I process the world around me, but publicly, and kind of cute. I'm terrible at describing what it is.
Nrama: Also, tell us a bit about your work with the Valkyries and why you formed this group.
Leth: The Valkyries are a group of women who work in comic shops all over the world - about 130 of us at the moment. I started it because I work in a shop called Strange Adventures, and I'm often the only girl working there. There are groups online for shop owners and comics bloggers, so I figured there might be a niche for girls like me. Turns out, there is!
The Valkyries have a space to talk about things in the world of comics with like-minded people who have varied backgrounds but the same retail environment. The public face of the group exists with the hope of changing the general public's idea about who we are and what we do. It's about girl power, I guess! We're pretty rad!
Nrama: Who is probably your favorite Adventure Time character and why?
Leth: Definitely Marceline, but B-Mo is a close second. I love how mysterious Marcy is, and all the things we don't know about her past. I love her interactions with Princess Bubblegum. It's so angsty. I adore it. BMO is just so fun.
Nrama: What's next for you?
Leth: Well, there's more Adventure Time work in the future! I also have a story in the Bravest Warriors Catbug Annual, out in January.
Aside from that, 2014 will hopefully see me working on some creator-owned collaborative projects as well as new and different licensed titles. More work with Welcome to Night Vale. More comics and articles for ComicsAlliance. Somehow, working my day job. It's going to be crazy! I'm so excited.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
Leth: Every day in December until Christmas Day I'm posting a new holiday elf on my tumblr, kateordie, that you can cut out and put up around your home! That tumblr is much less safe for work than this book, so don't say I didn't warn you. Aside from that, every two weeks, I post a new comic at ComicsAlliance. I also have a variant cover for The Midas Flesh coming out in February... Whew!
Adventure Time: Seeing Red comes out in March 2014.