Cleopatra in Space

  • Cleopatra in Space, Book 1: Target Practice
  • written and illustrated by Mike Maihack
  • published by Graphix (Scholastic)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

If the title doesn’t grab your attention, you might want to check your pulse. And if the cover doesn’t totally captivate you, then you might seriously be dead. Consult your physician.

This is a book that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I was overjoyed when I heard that Scholastic had decided to publish it and give it a treatment that the story and art deserve. Cleopatra in Space is the creation of the awesomely amazing artist Mike Maihack — an artist we love so much in our house that I might border on hyperbole here. Apologies.

The character began life in the black-and-white weekly webcomic Cleopatra in Spaaace! Go ahead and read it. Trust me.

  1. It’s completely awesome, and you won’t regret it.
  2. It’s very different from the forthcoming book. So if you’re worried about spoilers…you needn’t be.

Our protagonist is the Cleopatra. As in the Egyptian pharaoh from the 1st century BC. But she’s a teenager. Catapulted through time and space….er, spaaace!

She’s reckless, adventurous, brave, and more than a bit of a daredevil. In short, she’s exactly the kind of character my daughter loves. In Book One, we’re given a bit of her backstory and how she ends up being tossed around the cosmos (something only hinted at in the original webcomic). Her character, motivations, and friendships are also fleshed out more fully. Cleo really leaps off the page as believable, despite her circumstances.

The book is filled with action and humor alongside its “girl out of time” storyline. That conceit may seem cliched on the surface, but Cleo’s butt-kicking personality and the supporting cast surrounding her make it anything but cliched. It’s a downright delight.

Mike Maihack is the evil artistic genius behind the Cow & Buffalo webcomic, some entirely-too-rare Batgirl/Supergirl teamups, and the kids card game Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! I’m also lucky enough to have commissioned these two pieces, which are hanging on my wall at this very moment:

Jealous, aren’t you?

Verdict? Cleopatra in Space is an incredible book. Really and truly. My only complaint is that the book is too short. I didn’t want it to end, and it’s painful to me that we have to wait a whole year for Book Two. My only question for you is why haven’t you preordered it yet?

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