Comics for the Blind

Interview with the Founder of Comics Empower

Aurora Cover
Blind Comicbook Hero. Guy Hasson/Comics Empower

Here is an interview with Guy Hasson, CEO of New Worlds Comics, who launched an innovative online store with a cool difference. Comics Empower is a digital comic book store for the blind and visually-impaired. But how does it all work? Let’s go inside the store and ask Guy for a peek inside.

Q: What made you come up with creating comic books for the blind?

The idea came out of nowhere, and yet it also came out of months of work.

As CEO of New Worlds Comics which is an indie comic book company, I started a project called Comics Empower. Real people told their stories about how comics empowered them.

The personal stories were amazing. One kid thought he would be a villain, and when he read a comic about complex characters, he learned that he could become a hero. Some people were being heroes in their own lives by helping others and taking a stand for the weak.

But most of all, one could see a trend. People were most empowered by heroes that were like them. Black kids in white neighborhoods in the seventies were empowered by black superheroes. Women were empowered by superheroines. Gays and lesbians were empowered by gay and lesbian superheroes.

Then one day the idea for creating comic books for the blind came to me.

I knew there could be a blind hero. One that could empower kids, teens, and adults who are blind or visually-impaired.

When I launched the website a month and a half later, it had the first issue of an exclusive comic book series called ‘Aurora’, with a blind hero.

Q: I’ve read that the Aurora Series is very popular. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Sure. It comes out monthly, with our hero who will never regain his sight and will never get a mysterious sixth sense that makes up for the sight that he lost.

Here’s the gist of it.​

In the very near future, astronauts discover giant robots buried on the moon. The robots, called ‘Auroras’, seem to have been built for humans to activate them. They are huge, fighting, flying machines. No one knows who built them or why and the Auroras are carried back to Earth.

There are only 20 people on earth who can activate them. Unfortunately, when the Auroras are moved, other robots are also activated. These ‘bad’ robots don’t need humans and they attack Earth.

One day, they destroy the entire Aurora army. Everyone except one man has his eyes burnt off during battle. Now he’s blind. He can’t fly or shoot straight: but he is the only man who can use the one weapon that will save our planet. It’s all up to him now!

Q: How exactly does Comics Empower work online?

It’s very simple. People can visit the Comics Empower website and click on a selection of comics. They can then click on a choice of previews to hear a few pages for free.

At Comics Empower, we’ve found a great way to translate the action of the comic book to audio so it still reads like a comic book without over-describing the story while keeping the action going.

For those new to comics, we have The First Timer’s Ultimate Guide to Comics. It walks you through every aspect of the comic book experience. It also explains all the terminology and it’s available at the main page.

Q: What will people receive if they sign up for the First Timer's Ultimate Guide to Comics or your newsletter?

When people download the First Timer’s Ultimate Guide to Comics, they get an mp3 file for free. They can listen whenever they want and learn everything about comics in our store. This is also to help improve the listening experience of Comics Empower.

If a person signs up for the Daily Newsletter, let’s just say, what they will get is a surprise. It’s something cool that every comic book lover is bound to love.

Q: I am very excited to hear that you are running a competition at your Comic Book Store. Can you tell us who can enter and what you are looking for?

For people who are blind or visually-impaired who can now read our comics, there is no reason why they can’t write comics too. We’ve announced a competition and we’re looking for blind or visually-impaired comic book writers!

All they need to do is send in an original entry and the top three winners will get their comic book published at Comics Empower.

Each author will retain the rights to their comic book, and so are free to use their win as a way to shop it around at Marvel, DC and so on.

Over at our Blind Panels podcast, people can pick up my weekly tips on the best ways to write their comic books. So I’m very excited about this! I hope we get some really cool entries.

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