Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)



Friday, September 09, 2016

Comic Books for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

Growing up mostly with students who were sighted, I often heard about different comic book heroes and many comic books that my friends were reading. Some casually followed certain characters while others fervently collected comic books. Because I was blind, I, at that time, figured that comic books were just something left to the imagination and that it would be nearly impossible to create ones that people who are blind could read and appreciate.

While we do not have a long list of comic book suppliers to discuss in this post, one website/store exists that caters exclusively to people who are blind and visually impaired, and at least one other person has created an individual comic book specifically designed for persons who are blind.

Comics Empower

Recently Comics Empower was mentioned in another blog post. It contains an interesting interview with Guy Hasson, the founder of Comics Empower. You can read about Hasson’s inspiration for creating the store in that post; we will concentrate on features of the website in this post.

Features of Comics Empower

Comics Empower, besides being fully accessible, actually is designed to be read by persons who are blind and visually impaired. Hasson’s site says:If you can read this, that means you’re visually impaired or blind. A sighted person can’t see this website: It’s got black text and a black background, which makes this text invisible to the sighted, and a picture at the top that explains you can only navigate this site with assistive technology.

If you’re new to comics, Comics Empower offers a free download of a First Timer’s Ultimate Guide to Comics that explains terminology, describes what comic books are, and prepares you for the comic book experience. Go to this page on the Comics Empower site, enter your name and email address, and get the guide.

When you are ready to explore further, the actual comic book store has over 50 comics and growing, some of which are not exclusive to Comics Empower. Since they are a seller and not a publisher, they carry some purely audio comic books that are not necessarily created for persons who are blind. Titles range from comedy to science fiction to fantasy and more. You can even browse the site and hear a few sample pages of each comic. Buy the comics at this link, one of which, Aurora, is featured in the image included as part of this post. Listen to the samples of each comic at this link. Perhaps you will find that you can enjoy comic books more than you had previously imagined.

You can follow Comics Empower on Twitter, listen to their Blind Panels podcast, or email

Life: A Tactile Comic

This post from 2013 describes a comic called “Life” written by Phillip Meyer. The aforementioned post describes Meyer’s work as a “simple comic”, indicating that it is not a sophisticated endeavor. It was meant to be simple enough for a person who is blind to follow along while retaining the ability to tell a story. Here is the description given in the article of Meyer’s comic:

Titled “Life,” the comic tells a familiar story: Two characters meet, fall in love and have a child. That child goes off on its own, the parents grow old and then fade away. Only in “Life,” there are no words, no colors and every character is represented by a simple, tactile circle.

Meyer’s goal was to make a comic that was equally translatable for sighted and blind people. Using a method similar to Braille, he embossed paper with circles of varying heights and sizes to represent different characters. For example, one circle fades to flat in the center, while the other is filled in; this helps to distinguish one character from the next. Similarly, each scene is marked by perforations in the paper, creating the same kind of paneling you’d find in a typical comic book.

Read more about this book and the other things Meyer has done on his website.

Audio Comics

These comics are not made specifically for people who are blind and visually impaired. They are audio comics that are designed to be “Audio adaptations of comics and genre fiction” according to Audio Comics, one company who sells such products. Audio Comics, whose work is available for purchase on Comics Empower, describes its work as follows:

AudioComics brings you professional, full-cast “audio movies” inspired by stories from comic books, graphic novels and genre fiction. Founded in 2010 by Lance Roger Axt and William Dufris, with Elaine Lee joining in 2011, AudioComics is one of the few production companies producing full-cast audio adapted from sequential material, bringing a unique collaborative approach to the medium by working in partnership with independent creators, guiding them through the process of adapting their stories for audio, while never imposing our viewpoint onto their creations. What we offer is nothing less than a second life for a creator’s graphic story, through a medium that will bring that project to the attention of a new audience.

Another site selling audio versions of comics is Graphic Audio. Graphic Audio offers an extensive list of titles and series. Titles are broken down according to genre or series, and you can choose to view books by the author’s last name. The site offers two podcasts and an app for listening as well as instructions for purchasing and downloading materials and a place to buy electronic gift cards so people can purchase the comics they want. The audio you can purchase on Audio Graphics is done in a similar manner to the work of Audio Comics; both sites make “audio movies” which are quite different from the work of Comics Empower. Comics Empower, so far, has not been given permission to sell Audio Graphic’s titles on their site so you will have to visit Audio Graphics to get more information about their work.

As you can tell, the collection of comic books for people who are blind and visually impaired, though it is comparatively small, is growing thanks to the sites and individuals mentioned here.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.