Unseen, the first audio comic aimed at blind audiences, begins with a welcome from creator Chad Allen.
“We’re living in a challenging time, and as a person with a disability, my perspective is often excluded from the conversation,” Allen, who is himself blind, says. “I hope you see the world a little differently after reading Unseen.”
Allen was diagnosed with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative, genetic condition, when he was 15, and became fully blind by age 28. He told The Guardian that among the other challenges that vision loss presented, one was a lack of access to some of the media he had enjoyed in the past, like comic books.
Unseen tells the story of Afsana, a blind assassin from Afghanistan, with audio effects that mark the progression of the story. A narrator describes the setting and actions as they occur, and a whoosh indicates a change in panel.
“I see the narrator as kind of fulfilling the role of the caddy in golf,” Allen told The Guardian. “She is filling in the gaps, carrying the story along, allowing you to experience it all. Say an alien landed on Earth and you had to describe to them what a comic book was. You’d be doing that with speech. You’d be describing the action in a panel, and the dialogue. That’s exactly what I’m doing.”
Listen to the first episode here.