Chatt Comix Co-op
Superhumans, powers, the odd and the horrifying can be found in the pages of the Chatt Comix Co-op anthologies and zines. The Chattanooga Comix Co-op meets bi-monthly in what co-founder Meagan Frey describes as a “comics support group.” It acts as a safe haven for comic book readers, collectors, and creators to explore and expand upon their creative endeavors.
The group originated online, and when Meagan Frey and her partner John Porter heard about it, they offered to host it at their comics store, Infinity Flux. Since then, Chatt Comix Co-Op has grown to as many as 292 members on Facebook, with about 20 to 30 people that attend their bi-monthly meetings.
Dana Ortega has attended Chatt Comix Co-op from it’s conception in April of 2016. She’s been drawing for five years, and was introduced to the group by her professor at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She always considered herself an artist and enjoyed drawing, but it wasn’t until her professor suggested going to the Co-op that she thought about drawing comics. “With the co-op, I have the chance to practice writing comics and try different things,” Ortega said.
Each year, the co-op does a series of Halloween anthologies. This year they had 18 submissions, the most for any anthology they’ve ever done. Both Frey and Ortega credit the high number of submissions with the group’s love for Halloween. For this issue, their comic had to be based somewhere in the Chattanooga area. Ortega focused her Halloween anthology on the Lost Mound.
The Lost Mound is a historical part of Chattanooga, marking where one of the largest Native American mounds in the country was destroyed in 1914. It was located where the Boathouse restaurant currently stands. However, instead of focusing on the more predictable route of the righteous anger of could-be ghosts, she chose to focus instead on the tragedy of it all. “It’s actually horrible and terribly sad,” she said, which made her want to make this her topic. By centering it on the tragedy of the destruction of Native American culture, Ortega illustrates a sense of social justice that permeates many comics today.
While Ortega notes the group’s welcoming and very personable environment, she also acknowledges the importance of constructive criticism from her fellow group members. “The feedback is immensely valuable from the group. It is super important to receive feedback from other artists because other than that, you are basically in an echo chamber and you won’t be aware of what other areas of your work needs improving,” Ortega said.
Ortega also illustrates for other members of the group who like to write comics but don’t feel comfortable with drawing them.
Two people who feel comfortable with writing and drawing are father and son Salem Roberts and Zion Limpert. They collaborate on projects together, and it gives both of them a creative outlet. Limpert says the Co-op inspires his art. “If we never came here, then I don’t think we would have ever done it or I would have ever kept going.”
You can find their comics, as well as Ortega’s, at Infinity Flux for $10. It includes other group members’ comics as well.
Dana Ortega’s “Lost Mound” comic shows the destruction of what is now known as the lost mound. It was one of the largest Native American mounds in the region before it was lost to urbanization. Chattanooga has a rich, tragic history with Native Americans, including the Trail of Tears.
In the following second comic, Ortega blends the fictional with a realistic setting. In it, mermaids had lived in the river before TVA built the Chickamauga dam. The mermaids were allowed to stay in their home in exchange for working for the TVA. It worked out well for both parties. Ortega’s comics often take something mundane, and put a fantastical spin on it.
Produced by Rising Rock Media
Meet the Storytellers
Amanda Morgan Fann
Amanda Morgan Fann is a photographer, graphic designer and writer, pursuing a degree in both Communication and English at The University of Tennessee Chattanooga. She is the Assistant photo editor and a staff writer for the University Echo. Her passion lies in storytelling and her community as she constantly works at being the voice for people who may not feel they have one. Amanda has a love for performing and currently dances on UTC’s hip hop majorette team, The Ladies of G.O.L.D. If you have a story you wish to share or any questions about me and what I do, email me at email@example.com
Christopher Wilson is an off-beat senior with a double major in both theatre and communications. He is pursuing a career in film and storytelling. In the meantime, he is a published feature writer for the Echo, a professional gaffer, and has worked as an audio designer or stagehand for far too many theatre
productions. Christopher enjoys curling up with some hot tea and spending time with his two cats in his free time. Contact him with a story to tell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Ogle is a photojournalist with a passion for storytelling and capturing moments. She’s a graduating senior, pursuing a degree in Communications with a minor in Psychology at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She works as a photographer and a contributing writer for The University Echo. You can usually find her with a pair of earbuds, listening to music throughout all times of the day. Contact Alex Ogle at email@example.com.
McKenzie Carver is an insightful writer who has been fortunate enough to have many life experiences that cover much of the emotional spectrum. Carver is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and pursuing a degree in Communications and Spanish. McKenzie is passionate about traveling and the people she meets along her travels. For inquiries or more information, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org