Preview: ‘Freddy Vs School’ – Neill Cameron’s Mega-Robo Boy Goes Solo

by Richard Bruton

Brand new hilarity from Neill Cameron with the January publication of his first novel featuring one half of one of my favourites, Alex from the Mega-Robo Bros. It’s a perfect book for readers who love a little bit of Dog Man or Wimpy KId, as the younger Robo Brother finds himself in a little bit of school trouble…

Neill Cameron‘s one of our favourite creators, whether it’s the brilliant webcomic, 2020 365 that we’ve covered here and here in Webcomics Weekly, or his quite wonderful strip Mega-Robo Bros that features in the Pheonix Comic and we told you about here.

This is something a bit different for Cameron, taking his characters and crafting a novel with pictures rather than a comic. But it’s got all the familiar Cameron touches – loads of gags and great characters and a lovely turn of phrase and easy flow to his writing. You know, just like this…

Poor old Freddy, it’s not his fault that he’s the most super-amazing superhero robot EVER. Just like it’s also not his fault really that he gets in trouble for accidentally using his lasers in school or that one misunderstanding where he ended up flying through the staff room window.

So, under threat of getting expelled, poor Freddy has to stick to three incredibly difficult rules – NO super-strength, NO lasers, NO rocket boosters. And in school, that’s going to be hard, especially when he has to help his friends, rescue lunch boxes, and cope with the school bully.

Of course, there’s Freddy’s big brother, a couple of years older than Freddy. But this pretty much sums up how that goes…

Okay, so not that much help, but just one of so many little moments that Cameron gets absolutely right, that children will love, seeing their own friendships and relationships, with classmates, friends, siblings, parents, and teachers all so clearly shown here.

There’s so much fun of course, with Freddy’s adventures and mishaps getting him into loads of trouble, but there’s also a wonderful heart to this book, managing to have all that fun whilst still exploring issues of diversity and friendship, how to handle your problems, what it means to get things disastrously wrong and how to make amends, and what it’s like out there for all of those children, mega-robo or otherwise, who are just that little bit different.

So, if you know any younger child out there who loves Dog Man, Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, this is the perfect next thing for them to fall in love with. Get them into this, get them all of Cameron’s comics, get them a subscription to the Pheonix… you’ll be giving them wonderful, wonderful gifts!

Freddy Vs School by Neill Cameron, published by David Fickling Books on 7 January 2021

%d bloggers like this: