Do have a band that just followed you throughout your life? Did you eat, sleep and breath that band? Did you also tease your little sister merciless about her “boy bands” and their breakups? Well Mike does in Freddie & Me: A Coming-of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody. The story Mike Dawson tells us is how the band, Queen and mostly Freddie Mercury, made an impact on his life. It colored almost every big moment of his life (from the first time he heard them, from the time he almost got to see them, from the time he saw the musical with his mother and even at his wedding).
This black and white graphic novel is how a band centers the memories of the author. It is a coming of age story that took 40 years to create. The humor, sadness and life of Dawson and those around him come alive. We see how a piece of musical history did not just “make records for people to hear” but how it stayed alive and grew.
The art is amazingly wondering and funny. There are images of Freddie (hairy chest and all); goofy panels of Mike watching horror movies with his grandparents; joy riding with friends, even the move from England to the states. His family, friends, school and the community around him come to life. They are not overly detailed but have enough to move the story along. You need both text and art to make the big picture work.
Teens to adults, fans or not of Queen or Mercury, will enjoy. This is just a coming-of-age story where the focus was music, and the music of one group that became bigger than life in many ways. Everyone will get something different from it, but everyone should find something to like.