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Trailblazing Aboriginal superhero powered by the dreaming in new comic

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Scott Wilson was a high school student at Perth's Hale School back in 2010 when he first had the idea of creating a superhero universe where the central characters are his Aboriginal ancestors. Fast forward to today and the idea he's built-on for more than a decade is about to become a reality.

The Gooniyandi-Miriwong Kadjerong man who now calls Yawuru country home said the past 12 years had been a journey of learning and getting the right people on board to bring the Dark Heart series to life in a way that respects and celebrates Aboriginal culture.

"The social and the political environmental determinants of this being created, all led to this year," he said.

Dark Heart will centre on a Gooniyandi ancestor living today, but displaced on the other side of Australia in Sydney.

Designs for Scott Wilson's Aboriginal superhero, Dark Heart.

"So it's all about him finding that identity, but also being faced with this responsibility and obligation to utilise his powers for good," Wilson said.

Featuring illustrations by Katie Houghton-Ward, the first Dark Heart comic book is due for release this year.

Wilson has mapped out the characters and universe for the comic books and written the stories alongside Ice-Cream Productions co-founder Benny Eggmolesse and Gestalt Comics' Wolfgang Bylsma who is publishing the comics.

He said Bylsma had been a wonderful mentor helping to fine tune the series.

While Wilson was coy on revealing specifics about his main character's superpower, he said "it comes from the power of the dreaming."

The comic series will follow Adam Heart's journey to understand his identity which involves him tapping into his special powers.

"Once I found and understood who I was, it empowered me, based on my history, and my people, and the history of my people in my family, and all empowered me to do the things that I've done today," Wilson said.

"I feel like there's a lot of young people in Australia that... are unsure about what they want to do where they want to go, and that's sometimes based on looking outwardly and forgetting about looking inwardly."

Wilson can trace his passion for comic books back to reading Spider Man while growing up.

"But the funny thing is that I struggled with reading so when I read books, I can't read a chapter without being like 'what the hell did I just read'," he said.

"We're talking San Diego Comic Con, we're talking about people in Japan speaking Aboriginal languages" - Scott Wilson

"Comic books were that thing where you are able to look at it visually be given and share the story with limited words.

"It was a way of... being entertained but educated at the same time."

Wilson said this accessibility drove him to create his superhero universe.

The Dark Heart series will feature Kriol and Gooniyandi language, and Wilson said he would love to one day publish in different Aboriginal dialects.

"The language is one of the biggest things because I want to preserve the language with it with the actual glossary within the book," he said.

Designs for Scott Wilson's Aboriginal superhero, Dark Heart.

Wilson is optimistic it could have a global audience that will contribute to keeping his culture and language alive.

"We're talking San Diego Comic Con, we're talking about people in Japan speaking Aboriginal languages," Wilson said.

The Dark Heart universe may be the first of its kind to be based entirely around an Aboriginal character, but Adam Heart is not the first Aboriginal superhero to feature in a comic series.

Thylacine, a Ngarluma hunter from Western Australia's Pilbara region, became the first Indigenous Australian character in DC Comics' Suicide Squad a couple of years ago.

The team behind Thylacine included comic book author Tom Taylor, Cleverman creator Ryan Griffen and actor Shari Sebbens.

By Aleisha Orr

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