“Family traditions drive Chickaloonies comic. Seattle authors brings Ahtna Athabascan tales to life with vivid illustrations and traditional story telling through the eyes of two youths who go on a quest to be the best storytellers in the world.” R. Perry, ICT, August 9, 2021
Excerpt: A new graphic novel, Chickaloonies, by Dimi Macheras and Casey Silver, brings stories of the Ahtna Athabascan to life. By Richard Perry, ICT, August 9, 2021
“Dimi Macheras’ love of storytelling is rooted in his Chickaloon family traditions. His grandmother, who was a respected elder and clan grandmother of the Chickaloon Tribe, told traditional Ahtna Athabascan Ya Ne Dah Ah stories to him and his cousins in Alaska when they were children. He never forgot them.
‘She would tell these stories using different voices and act out the characters and their movements using her hands,’ said Macheras, a citizen of the Chickaloon Tribe who now lives in Seattle.
‘It was a tradition in our family, and we were all raised with these stories.’ His grandmother died in 2009, but his mother continued to tell the stories across Alaska until she died in 2014. Now Macheras has teamed up with writer, artist and designer Casey Silver — his business partner in 80% Studios — to share those stories with the rest of the world.
The result — their new graphic novel, Chickaloonies — was released Aug. 1, 2021. It’s the first in a planned series of books for all ages that tell the fantasy adventure of two Indigenous friends involving legends, language and magic in an ever-changing world…The Chickaloonies story opens at a time of perpetual darkness for the village.
Two Alaska Native youths, the hulking Sasquatch E. Moji and the smaller Mr. Yelly, decide to go on a quest to find the sun and to become the greatest storytellers the world has ever seen. They learn from stories told by past generations that the sun was stolen, gobbled up whole by a giant fish from far away, and long, long ago…The pair then set out to restore balance and save the village of Chickaloon. Along the way, they learn from other cultures and share their Ahtna Athabascan culture and stories with those they meet.”