Daredevil and printing methods

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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:

Relief printed 18th century poster

Or maybe his adversaries are just awfully old school. Perhaps Kingpin should switch to planographic printing and thus hide all his secret documents from Daredevil?3

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

  1. City / country / continent / world / universe / DD’s life etc []
  2. Daredevil made his first appearance in 1964. []
  3. Kingpin knows Daredevil’s secret identity and also the fact that he is blind. []
  4. Basic ink jet printer leaves a quite distinctive ink ridges on the paper, so at least change from that to something else. []

2 thoughts on “Daredevil and printing methods”

  1. omg, you sure keep yourself busy with procrastinating on the dissertation.


    planographically printed text on a coloured background…

    and footnotes on a blog….

    we need to get you out more mate.

    (having said that, it was still interesting 😀 )

  2. Actually, I though that I’ve been out too much. Haven’t really done anything useful lately. Today I procrastinated by learning how to build databases in OpenOffice.
    What a superhero class fight that was! 😉

    But at least that’s something that I can actually use in my work. Now it’s 5.30 am and I could go to bed after watching few episodes of Angel again – the fourth season always makes me cry. …But I would really like to try adding reference photos to my newsgraphic database. Hmmmm… Gonna need some coffee tomor… er… today.

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