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SCOTT VS THE ZOMBIES – a celebration for World Autism Day

Ever been to an auction curated by a zombie? Thought not – but you’ve missed out;this week’s event at Stockbridge Library was quite something.

To mark World Autism Awareness Day the library and Artlink Edinburgh hosted an evening for Scott vs the Zombies, a new comic created by Scott Davidson, an autistic young man working together with celebrated comic writer Allan Grant and outstanding artist Robin Smith. The story is set in Edinburgh – in such familiar locations as the Castle, Waverley Station, and even on a Lothian bus. Scott battles the zombies in every scene, eventually saving his Mum and the rest of the capital from doom.

The library was packed with an enthusiastic audience, including everyone from comic art collectors to members of Scott’s drama group. After short introductions from Cllr Ricky Henderson and a member of the Artlink staff, Scott’s Mum Liz explained that as a child, Scott had dealt with the world by ‘becoming’ various superheroes – assuming their characters helped him through each day. An autistic teenager finds it even harder than others to find his own identity; Artlink helped Scott to tell his own story, a story that would illustrate his troubles, challenges and worries through his favourite medium.

Scott-LizArtlink is a charity striving to increase participation in the arts for disadvantaged and disabled people, and thereby bring about personal and social change. It encourages its clients to find and tell their own stories – making something uniquely about them. At first, Scott wanted to create a new superhero to star in the comic, but Artlink persuaded him to be the hero himself, to show himself and everyone else how much he was capable of. They introduced him to Allan Grant, who helped Scott come up with his own ideas.

Scott’s confidence has grown immeasurably through his involvement with the comic. He is already thinking about ideas for Part Two. He has more self-belief – and others have belief in him. Liz said the experience had been brilliant for both of them.

2014-04-02-17.58.44The real fun began with the auction of the original art work from the book, all of it signed by all three creators – after a communal zombie dance, the bidding was fast and furious, with as many of the pictures going to wildly enthusiastic schoolboys (with some pretty generous Mums and Dads in tow) and to slightly more mature collectors. Scott wielded the gavel with great panache and a constant stream of witty asides; it was sometimes hard to hear the bids for all the laughter. A good sum was raised for autism charities, and everyone had a fantastic, illuminating and uplifting evening.

Scott vs the Zombies is available from Forbidden Planet, Artlink and Autism Network Scotland for £1.99

Submitted by Rosemary Kaye

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