The Ocean is Broken:
Stu ‘Sutu’ Campbell
When the ice caps melt, the oceans of the world will be filled with trash… Climate change is a buzz-word, right? The ice melts, the water level rises - so what? The beach comes a little closer, whatever. This story, the latest digital masterpiece from the graphics tablet of master Australian comic craftsman and storyteller, Stu ‘Sutu’ Campbell is a metaphoric bucket of ice over the head; a stark and stunning wake-up call.
Drawing on his personal experiences living within the indigenous communities in Greenland, Sutu offers us an invitation to see what he has seen and the result is a story that is as beautiful as it is sobering. The desolate seascapes and frigid tundra contrast against the human story of the young boy Pitaaraq and his family in a way that can be best described as illustrative pornography.
There’s a level of draughtsmanship and attention to detail that reflects Campbell’s love of the environment as Pitaaraq’s journey unfolds during six amazing chapters. What sets Campbell’s work apart from that of other storytellers is that his stories demonstrate a love of people and passion for community. A quick flick through his back catalogue will reveal that he’s no stranger to social commentary, dealing with tough issues such as dementia (“These memories won’t last”) and the creation of positive outcomes for the young people of Roebourne, an Aboriginal community in outback Western Australia, through his trailblazing comic, Neomad. In a similar fashion to what he did for the children of Roebourne, Sutu’s fictionalised character Pitaaraaq is based on a real boy that he met during his travels from the rather ironically named town of Nuuk.
The Ocean is Broken might be driven by technology, but it’s not about gimmicks. Sutu knows how to tell a good story. Each character, comic panel and interaction are carefully crafted to fit together as a seamless, mind-bending sensory experience thanks to the programmatic genius of collaborative partner, Vitaliy Shirokiy. Similarly, the rich, organic soundscapes of Lhasa Mencur drag the reader effortlessly into a beautiful and deadly world of icebergs, oceans, twisted metal and limitless garbage.