Mike Maihack, author of the “Cleopatra in Space” graphic novel series, visited Montverde Academy on October 24 as part of the Authors on Campus series. He spoke with the Lower and Middle School students for a wonderfully interactive and informative assembly.
Mr. Maihack said that in school his favorite classes were art and history, so it seemed natural to become a cartoonist where he could also use his love of telling stories. He described how he created his hero by combining Cleopatra, a historical person, with reality by giving her a cat, which is based on his real-life companion, who is always getting into trouble and is an inspiration for many of his stories.
He explained his process of creating the comic, describing for students how he works from sketched out rough drafts through multiple revisions to the final product. Students were able to see his beginner’s drawings that were all in black and white and see how his artistry progressed to his more recent work as they viewed his collection of work on his website.
It was a very informative discussion, with Mr. Maihack diving into the details of his work, explaining why he chose the colors of purple and gold that are historically associated with royalty, and happen to be MVA’s school colors. He explored the importance of eyes and hands in drawings and explained the notions of space, types of panels and their influence in the movement and “action” parts of the story in his comics. He fascinated the students by discussing the long and sophisticated process of writing, editing and coloring.
He ended the presentation by drawing Cleopatra on the spot and answering questions. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn so much about the books we love to read. We thank him for taking the time to share his story with our students!