Monday, January 12, 2015

Mo-Bot High by Neill Cameron (David Fickling Books)


Mo-Bot High: Book 1

Written and Illustrated by

Neill Cameron

Published by David Fickling Books

Before the awesome Phoenix Comic hit shelves, The DFC featured a huge chunk of the talent who regularly contribute to "The Pheen" as it's affectionately known at ReadItDaddy Towers. Charlotte was too young to be into comics, and it seems astonishing to think that the DFC folded when the quality of strips and contributions was so amazingly high.

Here's a good example of why the DFC was fantastic - in one of the best strips featured in that hallowed and sadly departed mag. "Mo-Bot High" tells the story of Asha, a girl arriving at a new school to find that things aren't quite as they seem. Like every school there's a clique to get in with, a bunch of no-good bullies who delight in making people miserable. But unlike any other school, Asha's new seat of learning has a hidden secret. Each and every day the pupils get to play with possibly the most awesome thing on the planet - gigantic holographic mech robots summoned from their mobile phones. Welcome to Mo-Bot High!

Asha's first day doesn't run smoothly as she instantly falls out of favour with one of the bullies, and ends up challenged to a Mo-Bot scrap the next day. Asha can't practice or train outside of school (Mo-Bots only work on school premises, y'see! What a shame - can you imagine how handy they'd be on the weekly supermarket run?) Can she somehow work out the intricacies of controlling a giant holographic robot before getting terminally frazzled by her new-found enemies?

"Mo-Bot High" sets the scene for Asha's story and world perfectly, but then snatches the rug out from under you as you realise that book 1 is all there is (Wahhhhh!!!) so it's a tantalisingly sweet insight into a comic series that cruelly never got the chance to bloom beyond this initial outing. But hey, you never know - those Mo-Bots might make a reappearance one day - here's hoping!

Charlotte's best bit: She really loved Asha's holographic Mech and instantly set about drawing her own (which she claims she's going to take to school one morning - that'd certainly make show and tell interesting!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: It seems unbelievable that the DFC didn't catch on when this was the quality of the strips it featured. Beltingly good stuff, a wholly original take on the 'school' story and who doesn't love gigantic scrapping mechs! PleasepleasepleasepleasePLEASE somehow resurrect this Neill, it's superb!

(Borrowed from Abingdon Library for Review)

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