Continuing their efforts in graphic novel publishing for kids, Andrews McMeel Publishing AMP! imprint has just signed a two-book deal with Mark Tatulli (Lio) for their first original graphic novel series. The Chronicles of Desmond will be published in October 2013.

The first book centers around 11-year-old Desmond Pucket, whose interest in monsters and grossness gets him in trouble with the school's disciplinarian officer, Mr. Needles, and his bullying sister.

Tatulli is already the creator of two syndicated strips, Lio, about a young boy who must deal with fantastic foes, and Heart of the City, about a girl being raised by a single mom; the former has already been collected at AMP!.

Launched in August, AMP!'s line-up of middle-grade graphic novels is allowing Andrews McMeel to branch out from its syndicated comic strip collections into the fast growing arena of graphic novels for younger readers. Previous AMP! titles include Lio and Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate Makes the Grade. A children's edition of Bill Amend's FoxTrot is due in October, to be followed by further adventures of Big Nate and Lio. The Chronicles of Desmond is the first original acquisition for the line.

“We are thrilled to publish this imaginative new series from Mark Tatulli,” said Kirsty Melville, president and publisher, AMP book division, in a statement, “and to introduce Desmond, a character full of personality, to young readers. His ingenious creations and inspired hijinks entertain in words and pictures to surprise and delight readers in every chapter.”

The book was acquired at auction from Daniel Lazar at Writers House.