Well, I can finally let the word out. Publishers Weekly broke the news:

In a two book deal with Scholastic/Graphix, [David] Saylor and editor Cassandra Pelham bought the first two books in Mike Maihack’s new middle-grade graphic novel series, Cleopatra in Space, starring a cheeky teenage Cleopatra—yes, the teenaged Egyptian Queen—who is transported into the future and enrolled in an academy to train her to save the galaxy from an evil threat. Publication for Book #1, Target Practice, is scheduled for 2014. [The deal was negotiated and finalized by Judy Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency]

Pretty exciting! Even more so that Cleo is going to share a home with so many of my favorite books and authors. And my experience working with everyone at Scholastic has been absolutely wonderful. I really think you guys are going to like these books.

Now I know there’s going to be some questions concerning the webcomic so I’m going to do my best to answer the ones I’ve already gotten via Twitter, Facebook, what-have-you, and a few I made up. Any others just ask them in the comment section below and I’ll get to them as soon as I’m able.

Q: Is this is a new story, different than the webcomic? And if so how does the webcomic fit in?

Yup! The first Scholastic book is something of an origin tale and spotlights how Cleo first arrived in the future. Hence why she’s a little younger than she currently is. So the Scholastic books (the first few anyhow) take place at the beginning of Cleo’s overarching story-path while the current webcomic tale takes place somewhere in the middle. In fact, it should be fun seeing some of the differences in the characters knowing what you know now. Everything in the webcomic is canon.

Q: Will the book series be different in tone than the webcomic?

Other than you won’t be seeing Cleo back in any “oases” again anytime soon, you can expect the exact same style, action, and humor the webcomic has always had. Maybe even more so (for better or worse).

Q: What does this mean for the future of the webcomic? Was this the reason for the hiatus?

The hiatus was partly due to this yes, but only in that I had to switch gears from working on the webcomic to working on a graphic novel instead. Scholastic has actually been very accommodating in allowing me to continue the webcomic up until I hand in the first book—which is how you’ve been able to read a large chunk of chapter 3.

I always intended on finishing this current webcomic story arc, but I underestimated the time it takes to work on a graphic novel and balance a family life. So unfortunately—and it really does pain me to say this—the current page (ch.3 pg 19) will be the last page of the webcomic. But I’ve already figured out how to work the ending into the book series if I’m (hopefully) able to publish past two books. So, well… longest cliffhanger ever I guess.

Q: How far into the book are you?

As of writing this, the first book is already completely drawn and I’m about half-way through coloring it. Should have it completed by June. I immediately jump into working on the second book as soon as it’s done.

Q: Do you have more than two books planned?

Yes.

Q: What does this mean for the current books. Will those still be available?

The current books will only be available until June and I won’t be reprinting either of them. So, best to get them while you can. Prints and other CiS merchandise (if I ever decide to make some) will still be for sale.

Q: Can we expect the same amount of spelling and grammatical errors we’ve grown so accustomed to in the webcomic?

No, thank God. I have an incredibly great editor who’s making sure that doesn’t happen. I’ve even had someone update my font so it doesn’t have serifs on all the I’s! Only professionally written comics from here on out. :)