Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books recently announced their plans to publish the two-book middle grade graphic novel series Oh My Gods! The first installment is set to release in fall 2020, with the follow-up scheduled for the following year.

Written by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, the series features Juliana Moon is on art, with colors by Whitney Cogar. Editor Lily Kessinger and book designer Andrea Miller round out the creative team.

The story centers on Karen, an average girl from New Jersey who moves in with her father and begins her school year at Mt. Olympus Junior High. Before long, Karen realizes that mythological beasts, gods, and goddesses are real, and they are her classmates. Now the question is, what does that make her? It seems there is a secret hiding in her DNA…

Cooke explained:

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“Insha and I have been great friends for a while now, and one day we got to talking about comic projects that we wanted to work on, and I wound up mentioning an idea I wanted to develop about gods and goddesses in high school. Like our version of Clone High but with Greek Mythology. Insha lit up and immediately began to run with the idea. What was initially a (pomegranate) seed of an idea evolved so quickly between the two of us (we have no chill whatsoever).

Greek Mythology meant so much to us while we were growing up, and it was something that stuck with us over time. We wanted to incorporate that love into something fresh that modernized the characters while allowing them to stay true to their origins, while trying to find alternatives for some of the more problematic areas of Greek Mythology.”

The character list includes familiar names from the Greek pantheon like Dita, aka Aphrodite, a reformed mean girl who is no longer at the top of the social ladder. Tina, aka Athena, is the resident “smarty pants” whose parents keep the reins tight. There is also Artemis, who is described as “stubborn, headstrong, and forceful.  Artemis is a natural leader. She’s also a heavy pessimist, suspicious of everything and everyone.” Pol, or Apollo, is Artemis’ twin who instantly connects with Karen.

“We’ve been told that Oh My Gods! ‘reads as if Raina Telgemeier and Rick Riordan teamed up to write a comic,’ which is dauntingly high praise and sets a certain kind of bar in both the middle grade and comic book markets. But I think that the characters that we’ve spent literally years crafting and bringing to life will help readers connect to our stories,” Cooke stated. “At the core of it, we have a story about a young girl who is trying to rekindle a relationship with an estranged father while dealing with living in a new, unfamiliar, and very strange place. There are strong themes that people of any age can relate to, and understand and hopefully enjoy.”

Take your first look, exclusive to The Beat, at the character designs for the series below. The first volume of Oh My Gods! is due out in fall 2020 (Amazon lists the release date as January 5th, 2021, so look for it in comic shops ahead of that date), with the second volume set for the following year.

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