Do you read comics? I don’t mean any fancy art doodles now, but the honest popular muck like superheroes and stuff? If you do, you might know a blind character called Daredevil. One of the of most interesting things about him are his supernaturally delicate senses. Especially how he can feel print impressions.
I started wondering this even before coming to Reading, but here I’m reminded of this at least once a week on a printing history class. I remember that he is always portrayed as reading printed text with his fingertips. He just breaks into his arch villain’s safe and reads the secret plans to take over the city.1 And by doing this he also ensures that everyone thinks he can see – thus upholding his secret identity.
I tried to find an image about this on the web, so I started to question my memory. But at least I found the official Marvel pages, that confirm my recollection:
In compensation for his lost sight, Daredevil’s other four senses have been preternaturally enhanced.
His sense of touch is sensitive enough to detect the faint impressions of ink on paper, allowing him to read by touch. […]
But how about different printing methods? Can he read intaglio and planographic as well as relief printing? To me this seems like a remnant from the period the character was invented2. Back then there was much more relief printing (letterpress) used in ordinary jobbing printing. And now, most of it is done planographically. This is not from the same period, but to illustrate my point about relief printing’s impressions, here’s an example from the backside of a 18th century poster that was printed with metal type:
Well, okay, perhaps he can still feel the subtle change of friction or the greasyness or something else that the ink causes on the paper. But how about printing planographically on a coloured background?4
- City / country / continent / world / universe / DD’s life etc [↩]
- Daredevil made his first appearance in 1964. [↩]
- Kingpin knows Daredevil’s secret identity and also the fact that he is blind. [↩]
- Basic ink jet printer leaves a quite distinctive ink ridges on the paper, so at least change from that to something else. [↩]