Creating (More) Accessible Comics and Graphic Novels

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Meadowbrook I/II on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • Eric Stallard, Laboratory Specialist, Pima Community College

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


This session will teach the basics of creating accessible digital versions (PDF) of comic books and graphic novels for use with Text to Speech readers (Read & Write Gold, etc), using ABBYY Finereader 14 software.

This allows readers with disabilities to experience comic books with greater fidelity to the layout of images and text zones.


In Spring 2019 semester, a Pima Community College student with both a reading comprehension disability and a lowered vision disability requested accommodations for a writing class in which most of the required reading materials were comic books or graphic novels.

We used ABBYY FineReader to optically recognize the comic books and create PDFs accessible to text-to-speech software such as Read and Write Gold and PDFAloud, with further testing planned for screen reader software such as JAWS and NVDA. The process is imperfect: low-resolution source material and software quirks contributed to occasional transcription errors, but our accuracy rate is 98%.

This session will use pre-made videos and live examples to demonstrate: how to OCR and tag comic books for export to PDF; how to compensate for software quirks; and how to inspect transcripts and correct errors.


  1. Step-by-step instructions for production
  2. Multimedia Accessibility for Graphic Novels and Comics
  3. Innovation with Accessibility Technology

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Eric Stallard

Eric Stallard is a disabled veteran that happened to fall into a role working in the disability office of a local community college. After working the front desk of the primary campus for 4 years in a liaison, greeter, triage role and just a friendly face, the opportunity to shift from being the face of the department to creating accessible materials arose. For the past 2 years, he has been involved in captioning videos in virtually every topic taught, as well as creating accessible handouts, tests and other documents for students and staff. This is Eric's first attempt at teaching those outside of his school's bubble and he is looking forward to the challenge.