Thursday, 30 September 2010


Doc Dinosaur intro pic 600px

I was in London yesterday talking to a bunch of primary schoolkids as part of the Crystal Palace Children's Book Festival, and I have to say it was pretty much just the best time. My esteemed colleague Sarah McIntyre (whose fabulous book Vern & Lettuce is officially on sale TODAY, go get one) and I were doing a joint session where we each talked a bit about our comics and how we make them, and then took some questions from the crowd. That all went pretty well, and it was gratifying to see so many hands shooting up to ask questions, but then we got onto the 'drawing bit', and the whole thing just went nuts.

Sarah had had the marvelous idea that we'd each draw our characters and then take suggestions from the kids as to how to kit them out for a FIGHT. To say the kids got quite into this would be something of an understatement. Here is a picture of the ensuing Epic Battle - thanks to Sarah and festival organiser Alex Milway for passing this on to me, I always forget my camera at these things:

(That is my 'Game Face').

Here's the results:

In case you're wondering, here the full list of what my mo-bot ended up with:
  • 1 x Sword (Flaming)
  • 1 x Shield
  • 1 x Jetpack
  • 2 x Guns in Pockets (nb: MACHINE GUNS)
  • 2 x Hypno-Eyes
  • 2 x Laser Eyes
At the end Sarah got the kids to vote for who would win the battle, and it was a pretty resounding victory for the robot. I responded to this victory in a way that I can only assume was brought on by light-headedness from not having eaten anything that day, in that I jumped up and down a lot and ran around the room high-fiving the entire front rows, apparently under the mistaken belief that I was Kanye West.

I went into one of the classrooms after to help the kids draw their monsters for the festival, and the nuttiness continued. Half the room shouted "NEILL!!!!" and jumped up and ran over to mob me and get me to sign anything and everything they could get hold of.

(I do hope this doesn't sound braggy. I'm just trying to convey the sheer hilarious surrealness of the experience. It was the closest I expect to ever experience to being The Beatles. And Norm from Cheers, all rolled into one).

Anyway, it was so much fun that I'm hoping to do a lot more of these school and library type events in the future, as we get nearer to Mo-Bot High coming out. There'll be an events page and full booking information going up on my website soon, but if anyone wants to get in touch in the meantime to arrange anything, please holla at me at neill (at)

Gosh, what a long blog post. And I haven't even managed to mention that I got an all-too-rare opportunity to hang out with the lovely Garen Ewing, and see a copy of the Rainbow Orchid in Dutch! And most uitstekende it looked, too.

Huge thanks to Alex for organising the event and inviting me along, and to Sarah for making it so much fun. I really hope we get to do our 'drawing battle' schtick again sometime, it really was hilarious. And here is a picture I drew on the way back to show that no-one was hurt and that Vern and Mo-Bot are friends again:

vern and mobot hug


  1. Brilliant! That was so much fun. Fabulous drawing of Vern & Mo-bot, that's so happy-making!:D

    I think next time we might need to make a no-guns rule or something, those kids were obsessed! We could get them to come up with all sorts of creative alternatives, hehe.

  2. Yes, I am thinking of hanging up my machine-gun drawing pen after yesterday. One kid demanded I draw a monster with FIVE, which I think was my tipping point.

  3. It really does sound like Beatlemania! Camintyre, if you will :D
    There's nothing better than tapping into the imagination we had as a child! I used think that everyone at school was a robot and decided that there was no way to prove that they were humans :) I should have just checked for wires.

    I still have my suspicions about borgs (in a BSG Tricia Helfer sort of way)...