Their Aboriginal sci-fi comic book NEOMAD has won the coveted Gold Ledger, the genre equivalent of winning an Oscar in Australia.
NEOMAD was first published in 2012 as an interactive iPad comic by the illustrator and interactive designer Stu Campbell of Big hART’s Yijala Yala Project and his class of young artists from a 1000-person town perched on the northern shoulder of WA.
It was the comic’s more recent paper edition that won the Ledger, earning lavish praise from judges and worldwide acclaim.
Described as a Mad Max for kids, NEOMAD charts the exploits of the Love Punks and Satellite Sisters: a plucky group of children who race around on hover-quads through the Pilbara desert uncovering pieces of space junk.
All the characters are based on the very children who worked on NEOMAD, aged between seven and 14.
Project creator Stu Campbell says the project been a true team effort with more than 30 local children developing characters and storylines for the comic as well as colouring hundreds of story scenes with Photoshop.
“We’re thrilled to receive this award. All the hard work has paid off,” he says.
“NEOMAD began as a fun after-school activity to teach the young people of Roebourne some technical skills and to act as a platform to tell stories about their heritage and culture.
“These young people are hilarious and inspiring. I look forward to the day when young readers, indigenous and non-indigenous, across Australia can look up to characters like the NEOMAD cast as their pop culture heroes. I know I do.”
Stu is now hoping the award will help catapult the community’s creation to the next level.
“Spongebob Square Pants is worth more than $7 billion to Nickelodeon and when you’re working on these projects, you’ve got to have that bigger picture in mind.
“NEOMAD has got the attention of some of the biggest commentators in the comic industry.
“It shows there is a lot potential there and also demonstrates just how powerful and interesting the stories and mythology are.”