Shapereader is a system for tactile storytelling specifically designed for visually impaired readers and makers of comics. Its interface is built on a repertoire of free-floating tactile ideograms intended to provide haptic translations of the semantic features, conceptual functions and attributes of a textual expression. Shapereader works challenge the assumptions and exclusions of graphic literature and explore the conditions for synthesizing language through embodied notions of materiality and performativity. Shapereader situates touch as a conduit for vibrant artistic exploration and demonstrates that comics can address a diverse readership. Promoting an embodied, nonretinal narrative experience with an ongoing outreach plan, Shapereader has been unfolding worldwide in a variety of formats, contexts and collaborations.