All snark aside, this is a long time coming.
This might come as a shock to you, but I am not what most people would consider a “happy person.” Most of the time, if left to my own devices, I dwell on past mistakes or imagine worst case scenarios for the future, in short (and I could go on), the life I live in my head is not one I’d wish on anyone. I don’t tell you this in order to find pity. This is the internet, and I am not stupid. Rather, I tell you this in order to provide some context. I know that with age comes loss of senses, and I look forward to not being able to hear all the bullshit that goes on around me every day, but I dread the idea of going blind. Besides not being able to look at my beautiful WIFE, child(ren), or possible grandchildren, I fear becoming blind because of comic books. I love them. Comic books have, for the better part of 25 years, entertained me and provided much needed stability to my schedule.
And I do not want to think of the consequences to my life or those I love if I were ever unable to read them, which is what makes this news so awesome. Wired.com is reporting that Phillipp Meyer, a Copenhagen-based interaction designer, has created a comic book for the blind called Life:
Most of the tactile material that is available for blind people is very information dense,” Meyer tells Wired. “It’s always about information and not often about art.
The story in Life is not revolutionary; “[T]he 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.
He discovered through his interviews with visually impaired people that simply embossing an exact replica of an image onto paper typically didn’t translate. It was too complex and ignored the way blind people perceived tactile input. Rather, simple, recognizable shapes paired with a contextual title and a simple narrative flow was enough for readers to glean a basic understanding of a story. From there, the reader’s imagination is in charge.
“People started creating a love story out of these circles in simple boxes,” he said. “It’s really fascinating.”
I cannot describe the actual joy I felt the first time I read about this. Life is a great concept that I pray catches on; I don’t want to be sitting on my front porch keeping kids off my lawn when I am 80 and not have comics to read, even if that means I read them with my fingers.
You can find out more about Life at Meyer’s website.
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