Kate Leth And Comics Alliance Give Us A Peek Inside The World Of Comics

by rory midhani

by rory midhani

Kate Leth is well known for her comics on Tumblr as well as her work with Adventure TimeLocke and Key and plenty more. She combines a sharp, but often approachable wit with a vast knowledge and love of the comic industry and all things nerdy. Her comics can be seen at her website Kate or Die!. A few months ago, comic website Comics Alliance brought her on to make exclusive Kate or Die comics for them that are on the topic of comics and comic fandom. If you’re a part of comic circles, a lot of these scenarios will seem awfully familiar to you.

Early on, Leth takes on the harassment that many female cosplayers face when they go to comic conventions in costume. She shows that no matter what women are dressed as, whether it’s a school girl superhero or the protagonist of a video game, they face harassment and exclusion. The comic starts with her giving tips on how to deal with creepers who mess with you. However, the best part comes at the end when she flips the script and reveals that it shouldn’t be up to the cosplayer to deal with creepers, it should be up to creepers to stop creeping.

When the holiday season came along, Leth made posts to match. Her comic Christmas cards are spot on and 100% perfect. I love them all, but my favorites have to be the ones inspired by Saga and Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. Also, the one taking a dig at DC Comic’s New 52 relaunch made me laugh out loud and then get immediately sad at the sad state of affairs over at DC right now. Then, for New Years, instead of making the obvious joke and being totally negative about all the bad things that could happen and all the resolutions that are likely to be broken, she decided to look forward to the new year and be optimistic.

It’s great how she’s able to take issues within the comic book community and use them to address wider issues. When the issue of sexual harassment between comic creators recently came up, Leth was able to make a comic addressing not only the specific instance of a male creator harassing a female creator, but also addressing the entire culture of doubting and discrediting women when they come forward with accusations of sexual harassment (or worse things).

One of my favorite things about Leth is the passionate way she stands up for women who read and love comics. She even has an online group, The Valkyries, dedicated to women and girls who work at comic shops. Almost all of these comics touch on issues of sexism in the comics industry. And that’s a sad thing. It’s not that Leth is going out of her way to find issues to talk about, they keep on presenting themselves every week. Whether it’s talking about creepers at comic conventions, sexual harassment or Warner Brother’s refusing to make a Wonder Woman movie because “movies with female leads don’t sell” in a time when Frozen and Catching Fire are shattering box office records. Another comic brings up one of my pet peeves: the fact that even though many, many women (including me) buy geeky attire and comic-based shirts and other clothes, it’s almost impossible to find those clothes in a variety of sizes.

Like all of Leth’s Kate or Die comics, the art is wonderful and fun. The characters have large eyes, simple mouths and they are extremely emotive. Her cartoony style makes the comics eminently easy to read and even enticing. They draw you in so well that you immediately want to read everything else that she’s written. They also have an iconic feeling to them, as in when you see them, you immediately know that it’s her and nobody else. This is her style and hers alone.

Kate Leth is a comic creator and comic shop worker from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Apart from appearing on Comics Alliance, her own website and in Adventure TimeBravest Warriors, and Womanthology comics, she also has a tumblr that I would recommend checking out. If you’re interested in buying shirts or bags with her art, including a bunch of great products about how comics, and all books, are for girls, you can check out her Topatoco store. To purchase her art, you can check out her etsy store.

Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Header by Rory Midhani

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. I can’t count the number of stories I’ve heard of women going into their local comic shop and getting instantly disrespected by the men there. More women in comic shops! More women creating comics! More women selling and talking about and buying comics!

    P.S. if you’re in the Boston area New England Comics has always treated me well and seems to have a decent posse of ladies working in their stores.

  2. I don’t know how I found Kate Leth, but I have been following her on Tumblr for a while now and she is a delight! Queer, feminist, and a little kinky! She’s actually in Austin right now for the release of her Adventure Time OGN and I’m gonna go get it after work today so it’s a funny coincidence that this post went up around that same time! I am not very involved in the comics world, but have always been a nerd and really appreciate how Kate stands up for female geeks/cosplayers/etc. Through her, I have been learning a lot more about comics and feeling more confident exploring them even though I’m *GASP* a lady.

  3. I’m surprised a trans* woman would write a piece on Kate Leth, considering how utterly transphobic and unapologetic she’s been about trans* people. Adding to that the “queer support”? Really? Since when? She makes some pandering comics that single out queer people whom she thinks look good kissing, then some more pandering comics about situations she’s NEVER been in because she’s mostly in opposite-sex relationships, and she’s suddenly an ally? Add to that the fact that she went for a year calling her roommate her “wife” in some kind of fucked-up queer appropriation (and many people started to believe she WAS her wife and Kate didn’t correct them, despite the fact they weren’t having a relationship!) and I just…. Wow.

    I love Drawn to Comics and I love Queer Comic Creators, but Kate Leth is the biggest POSER I’ve ever encountered. She doesn’t give back to the community, all she does is take, take, take and then call trans* people mentally ill. Ew.

      • Yeah… Since the LAST TIME she was mentioned, she’s done even more problematic shit (some that I listed above) and even reblogged her “Lady Parts” pictures of vulvas with the sentiment that all the trans* people who were upset need to get over themselves because Amanda Palmer reblogged it, so it’s suddenly got a gold stamp of approval from someone else who’s transphobic, but famous! Like, totally cool to be transphobic if a famous singer does it, like, right?

        I’m so tired of people praising her instead of comic artists that are actually trying to make a difference and don’t constantly tell trans* people that they don’t matter. It honestly turns my stomach.

    • I must have been out of the loop cause I didn’t even see that old AS post or know about the bi/transphobia she’s shown in her comics. That makes me sad, but not surprised. I know she has kind of an iffy marriage although I’m pretty sure she was/is actually legally married to her roommate. They just weren’t romantic together. I was also under the impression that she did identify as queer so I wasn’t upset about her portraying “situations she’s never been in.” It definitely sucks that she is cissexist though. Guess I’m glad they rescheduled the comic event and I didn’t make it out there after all…

      • Unfortunately, she’s not nor has she ever been married, and she definitely isn’t to her (former female) roommate. She just said “wife” and “wifey” and “waifu” to be cute, because she thinks it’s “cute” (despite the fact that many people are still denied, beaten or killed for marrying same-sex partners) she admitted as much on her Twitter.

        I know she identifies as bisexual, but “situations she’s never been in” basically I meant using strawmen comics to gain popularity with situations she’s never actually been in, while there are comic artists out there — many of whom identify as bisexual too — that have actually been in these situations and make comics about them that haven’t gained the popularity that Kate Leth has, and they’re also not cissexist, transphobic jerks to LGBT groups while claiming to defend them with said comics.

        I guess the way I look at it boils down to: It’s sad she gets so much fame with all the trash she’s thrown around and actually progressive comic artists get nill.

  4. I’m meeting Kate Leth tomorrow at an event at my local comic book store! :D Can’t wait! I love her work!

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