Interview: Kate Leth

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For Pop-Break’s inaugural edition of “We’ve Got Issues,” I reviewed the first issue of the Kickstarter-funded, digital, anthology series Fresh Romance. At this year’s Special Edition NYC, I got a chance to speak with creator Kate Leth, the writer behind cover story School Spirit” about her work on the project and what to expect.

So how many issues of Fresh Romance will “School Spirit” be in?

It’s going to be six issues for now. We might change that, but that was the initial plan.

There’s a hint of something magic right at the end of the first part of the story. Is that going to be a huge arc?

It’s part of it. The story centers around two relationships and the four characters and how they all interact. So, neither is the predominant story. They both take equal parts, but it is definitely an element that’s involved.

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There’s a lot of subterfuge in that first issue–even for the reader–and the characters are sort of play-acting in the world. Is the other part of it about hiding their relationships and navigating that?

Yeah, it’s a fun and upbeat comic, but there the note that I want to hit–outside of it being kind of joke-y and fun and silly and sexy–is the reasons that people do hide their relationships. So, there’s a little bit of serious stuff behind that. But yeah, that’s definitely part of it.

Are there parents involved in that?

Yes. Definitely.

Should we assume the other characters are magical or witches too?

I wouldn’t assume anything. [laughs]

How important was it to you to have a diverse cast?

Oh, super important. Right from the start, when [artist] Arielle [Jovellanos] and I talked about the series, that was one of the first things we talked about. I wanted to have a queer romance in the story–and Arielle is an artist of color–so we really wanted it to have a diverse cast of characters.

When the story finishes up, are you planning to do anything else with Fresh Romance?

I’m not sure at this point. We planned out “School Spirit” and then after that, we haven’t talked about anything yet, but I’m open to it.

You have a Tumblr thing with Kieron Gillen where you sort of razz each other. Are you going to do any guest covers or anything like that for his stuff?

I don’t know if I’m their calibre of artist [laughs]. I’ve offered, but I think, for now, I’m relegated to being insulted in the back pages of The Wicked and the Divine.
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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.
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