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Low-tech challenge

In the world of MEMENTO NORA, the network is monitored, controlled, and sanitized. “Central control of information,” Micah says, tapping his temple. So, he, Nora, and Winter go low-tech to produce their underground comic.  Winter’s inspiration came from these old school methods of printing. The first two were popular with cartoonists and underground zines.

Ditto machine (aka, a spirit duplicator).

This mechanical duplicator used a two-ply sheet called a ditto (or spirit) master.  You could draw, type, or write on the top sheet. The second sheet was coated with a layer of colored wax. The pressure of writing or typing on the first sheet transferred the image in colored wax to the reverse side.  Then you pulled the sheets apart and fastened the top sheet (waxed side out) to the drum of the machine.


This duplicator is similar to the ditto machine, except for the mimeograph used heavy waxed-paper stencils. You typed on the stencils, and the typewriter cut through the paper. When the stencil was wrapped around the drum of the machine, ink was forced through the holes onto the paper.


This machine is still used by tattoo artists to make stencils that are applied to the customer’s skin.

THE CHALLENGE: How would your students produce and distribute their comic if they couldn’t use digital technology?

Websites / Magazines that might be helpful with this challenge:


"...a gift for both reluctant and regular readers.”

- Booklist

“…the themes of inquiry and fighting back will resonate
with young and old.”

-School Library Journal

“The novel is taut and lean; Smibert’s prose is quick and fluid…”
–Horn Book Magazine

“Engaging, spirited characters and a plot that can stand on its own…This story could provide great fodder for discussions about the relative roles of government, business and the individual in a world of increasing consolidation and conformity.”

—Children’s Literature