I spend a lot of time on the internet. I’m not super sure why, except it’s another place where there seems to be no limit to the amount of geekery I can get up to. And, as you may have gathered, one of my favorite forms of geekery is the comic. The internet houses so many wonderful webcomics that it’s damn near impossible not to find something fun and good to read.
One of my favorite internet discoveries has been Kate Leth’s Kate or Die. I first found her on Tumblr, which I’m only just now starting to understand, and became enamored with her art style, the frankness of her stories, and the unique way she handles some complicated life issues, particularly sexuality issues. This may come as quite a shock to you, readers, but this geek girl was once a young, confused gay girl and I only wish that Kate Leth had been around while I was trying to figure things out.
Kate or Die serves as part soap box and part autobiography, from what I’ve come to understand, with intermissions of quirky little dork scenes sprinkled in to keep it from getting too serious. She makes comics and works in a comic shop, two things that I’m trying very hard to do, so I admire her quite a bit. On top of that, at 23 years old, she’s got a much broader worldview than I could ever imagine having had at that age, and is able to speak about it intelligently and humorously. Her Tumblr is full of fantastic snippets of comics news, LGBT issues, and often shares other artists, many of whom I’ve also grown to love.
Besides having a completely normal and totally professional crush on Ms. Leth, I can’t talk enough about her bravery. She talks about topics that most web artists would shy away from. From bisexuality to self-harm, the serious subject matter coupled with the cutesy art takes a lot of the sting out of the subject to allow the reader to simply absorb the information. As such, she makes it easy to learn. I vote that we all start a petition to have her update all those garbage pamphlets that you find in doctors’ offices and guidance counselors’ desks everywhere.
She also loves her cat, who seems to be in constant need of care, poor thing. Occasionally she goes into a mad dash to sell her art in order to care for the critter. In one of those instances, I was lucky enough to purchase an original piece (not my first or even second choice, sadly) and happily added to the cause. Kitty seems fine for the moment but the next time Kate has an emergency fundraiser, I’ll be sure to let the masses know!
She’s an advocate for women and comics, both as readers and as creators. She writes over at Comics Bulletin, talking about all sorts of comic-y things but having a female perspective is just wonderful. She’s smart, articulate, and I think that, given enough time, she’s going to be a very powerful voice in the comic market. Just you wait.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Kate seems to appreciate her fans. She’s always active on Tumblr and Twitter, interacting with us “little people”, much to our delight. Or maybe just to my delight. For my birthday, Sarah managed to get a print of one of my favorite comics of hers, signed with a mini picture of Batwoman (y’know, my favorite hero), as well as a postcard of Kate Kane (Batwoman’s alter-ego, fans!). And all rushed for my birthday. What a champ!
I just want to be her friend so bad! (In a completely non-threatening away, if you someday read this, Kate!) But I also want to help put her name where it belongs: in the forefront of the comic community. As an artist, a writer, and an advocate for equality of all sorts. Read her comic, follow her on Tumblr, Twitter, and read her stuff at Comics Bulletin. She’s quite brilliant and I know you’ll love her.