Reconciliation Resource – NEOMAD Comic Series
Created by Sutu, the Love Punks, Satellite Sisters, Big hART and Roebourne community (2013).
Comics are an effective storytelling medium that use the interplay between text and imagery to create a strong sense of place. The power of bold colour, body language and expression work together with the written word to bring characters to life. And when school children are involved in creating, recording and detailing their story—as was the case with NEOMAD—the result is a dynamic resource that has been described by the comic’s illustrator and interactive designer Stu Campbell (Sutu) as a ‘Mad Max for kids’.
Last month, NEOMAD - The Complete Series won the Gold Ledger award - the highest award that acknowledges comic art in Australia. A co-judge for the award and comic historian, Philip Bentley, said the panel had been “impressed by the work’s cross-cultural nature, visual verve and mix of ancient and modern elements”.
NEOMAD is set around Murujuga on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia, home to approximately one million petroglyphs or etched rock engravings, some of which are over thirty thousand years old. These ancient carvings are markings of food sources, ceremonial sites and spirituality.
Set over three episodes, the NEOMAD comic series follows the story of the Love Punks and Satellite Sisters, tech savvy young heroes from the Pilbara who speed through a digitised desert full of ‘spy bots’, ‘magic crystals’, fallen ‘rocket boosters’ and mysterious petroglyphs. They learn about their culture from the Murujuga Rangers and adults in their community. And when a gigantic tourist shuttle heads towards a sacred constellation, they save the world from intergalactic catastrophe!
NEOMAD was created as part of Big hART’s Yijala Yala Project, with the help of over 40 young people in the Leramugadu (Roebourne) community through a series of workshops in scriptwriting, literacy, Photoshop, filmmaking and sound recording over an 18-month period. Sutu spent over 500 hours teaching the young students to apply a complex colouring system to more than 600 scenes to create NEOMAD. These young people, aged between 7 and 14, star in the comic as the Love Punks and the Satellite Sisters and also assisted with the dialogue and live film segments.