Cleopatra in Space: Book One: Target Practice
Written and Illustrated by: Mike Maihack
Format: HC/SC, 6 x 9, 176 pages, Full Color, $22.99, $12.99
ISBN: HC: 978-0-5455-2842-9/SC: 978-0-54552-843-6
Have you ever felt like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?
Have you ever felt like you have the weight the universe on your shoulders?
Have you ever felt like you have the weight on the solar system(s) on your shoulders?
Have you ever felt like you have the weight of the entire galaxy on your shoulders?
But surely we cannot be referring to the Cleopatra of lore. Indeed, we are not. It's time to set aside what we think we know about the legendary heroine Cleopatra and look at her again, anew.
In Mike Maihack's first installment of his new graphic novel series based on a new vision of Cleo (a very far, far away version) Cleo surprisingly finds out that she does have the weight of the galaxies on her shoulders. At least that is what the faculty and students at Yasiro Academy tell her after a curious tablet transports her from her own, familiar time in history and into a futuristic and epic battle between good and evil. From the moment she arrives everyone knows about the prophecy and Cleo's key, pivotal role in saving the galaxy by dethroning the tyrannical ruler named Xaius Octabian.
Cleo's not so sure, however. Saving and fighting for something on earth is one thing, but saving the galaxy? Like Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter, Cleo must figure out not only if the prophecy is true, but also if she is up to its galaxtic visions and consequences.
Both the reader and Cleo must ask themselves: "Is she up for the challenge?"
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plots: The legendary and historically significant Cleopatra is transported to a far, far away futuristic world where everyone believes she is the chosen one who will defeat the galaxy’s most tyrannical ruler, villainous Xaius Octavian.
Major Characters: Cleopatra VII, Bakari, Goz, Yasiro, Xaius Octavian, Akila, Pharaoh Yasiro, Professor Khensue/Kosey, Bakari, Khepra, Kek, Talibath, Spook, Misti, Jumo, Msamaki, Akins, Admiral Hasilrig, Professor Williams, Xerxs, Brian, Professor Javel, Zaid, futuristic and robotic mummies
Settings: first century B.C. Egypt, earth, planet Mayet in the Ailorus system, Nile Galaxy, past and future school settings, Yasiro Academy, Xerx War locations, dorm room, detention, Mendesian Sector, Msamaki, Bisu Jungle on Tawris
Themes: past-present-future, friendship, teamwork, discipline and action/adventure, leadership, good and evil
Reading Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Young Adult Readers
Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
* The number referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)
Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:
In order to assess student comprehension of Cleopatra in Space: Book One, Target Practice educators can concentrate on the cyclical nature of the story. By paying close attention to the craft and structure (how words, images, and artistic license) shape meaning throughout the graphic novel educators will know whether or not their students are able to dissect and infer each part of Cleo's story in her first graphic novel adventure.
Using a circle graphic organizer ask readers to choose five of the most significant events that they believe inform the story the most. After they have filled out the numbered-circle graphic organizer readers should share their choices with each other, providing rationales for all of their similar and different ideas.
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.