The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability in collaboration with Comic Studies and the Program in Visual Impairments at San Francisco State University hosted two international conversations to explore cutting edge strategies for making comics accessible to blind and low vision readers. They assembled a network of comic artists, access providers, and blind experts – now called the Accessible Comics Collective (ACC). To encourage further development in this realm, they hosted a prize competition to support innovative approaches. The ACC has selected five exceptional teams who have either adapted existing comics into accessible formats or have created an original comic that was “born accessible.” The winning teams were each awarded a $1,500 prize to bring their accessible comic project to fruition.
We thank our jurors who took on the tough job of selecting the winners:
- Chancey Fleet, Assistive Technology Coordinator at the NY Public Library
- Gina Gagliano, Executive director of the Boston Book Festival and podcast host of Graphic Novel TK
- Nefertiti Matos, Audio Description Narrator & Voice Talent, Cultural Accessibility Consultant, and Community Organizer
- Joshua Miele, 2021 MacArthur Fellow and Amazon Principal Accessibility Researcher
- Thomas Reid, Podcast host of Reid My Mind, Audio Description Voice Talent & Advocate
The Winners Are:
Rachel (Rae) Lanzerotti
“Embodied” is a story for, by and about low-vision readers. Lanzerotti utilizes process narration and multiple layers of storytelling— via a combination of image, sound, and possibly texture— to create a comic that is visually, sonically, and narratively accessible to low-vision readers.
Illi Anna Heger and Rachel (Rae) Lanzerotti
“Seeing in Between” is a multi-modal comic and collaborative design process by Illi Anna Heger and Rachel (Rae) Lanzerotti. This comic is an experimental, biographical, and drawn dialogue between two people, one in Munich, and one in San Francisco inspired the current cooperation across continents between Rae Lanzerotti and Illi Anna Heger. Lanzerotti and Heger’s comic explores how we each relate conceptually and practically to accessibility for a spectrum of vision, gender, and other forms of being “in between.”
Hatiye Garip, and the Good Comics Team: Paddy Johnston, Rozi Hathaway, Samuel C. Williams with the help of Esra Kaya, Tuba Kaya, Lisa Madl, and Canan Çam Yücel.
“The Land of Uncertainty,” shares a poem with readers using abstract shapes, thoughts and other imagery. It includes a poem that is written for the lands that haven’t been visited yet. The graphic composition of the comic is optimized for visual accessibility, using thick, dark lines and high contrast colors. The comic is accompanied by dynamic audio descriptions that use simile and other poetic devices to create an immersive experience regardless of the format the comic is accessed in.
Darren DeFrain, Aaron Rodriguez, and Marieke Davis
Darren DeFrain and Aaron Rodriguez have rendered Marieke Davis’ comic, “Life is Blurry” to be compatible with the app Vizling that they developed so that readers will be able to use haptic and audio features to interact with the narrative and spatial elements of the comics in the way that best suits their access needs.
Casey O’Ceallaigh, Leo Cosh, and Brian Rutherford
Casey O’Ceallaigh, Leo Cosh, and Brian Rutherford will be providing theatrical audio description with an original score for the first 6 pages of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s “Hawkeye #1” (2015).
Stay tuned for further announcements, as this Spring the Accessible Arts Collective will host another public virtual symposium to share projects with members of the Accessible Comics Collective, receive feedback, and learn from their experiences. If you are interested in providing earlier feedback to any of these groups as their projects progress, reach out to the Accessible Comics Collective via Nick Sousanis.