Roebourne comic series takes prize
An innovative interactive digital comic series based on real Roebourne residents has won a prestigious national comics award.
Comic series Neomad, overseen by Roebourne social arts group Big hART with the input of local children, was announced the sole winner of premier Australian comic art prize the Gold Ledger at an awards ceremony last Friday.
Neomad imagines the adventures of 14 young male “Love Punks” and seven female “Satellite Sisters”, based on real Roebourne residents, living in a futuristic version of the town. Roebourne elders also feature in the story.
Project creator Stu Campbell said the project had 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 said.
“Neomad began as a fun afterschool 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.”
The Gold Ledger is the highest honour of the Ledger Awards and is given to works short-listed by at least five of the six-person judging panel. Judges praised Neomad’s blend of strong, culturally based storytelling delivered in cuttingedge style.
Ledger Judge Emmet O’Cuana said Neomad - The Complete Collection was “an important book”.
“Comics are often spoken of as a collaborative medium,” he said.
“In (Campbell’s) work with the community of Roebourne, we see what that can truly mean.”
Speaking at a Neomad launch in Canberra in 2013, a group of the children involved said the project held a lot of meaning for them.
“We all worked together to help make the interactive comic,” they said. “The Love Punks, the Satellite Sisters and the Junior Rangers are all working together to keep industry in check, to keep our culture strong and our country beautiful.”
The Neomad comics were created several years ago but were only published as a full collection in hard copy last year, making it eligible for the Ledgers.
Roebourne resident Sidney Eaton, 11, in costume as his Neomad Love Punk character Born Ready.