Marvel made a major splash at this weekend’s SXSW Interactive Festival, their first time attending a show which concentrates on technology. So what would Marvel Comics, a company that specializes in telling stories starring characters dressed in brightly colored clothes, have to offer to a festival dedicated to technology? Many things apparently.
First of all, Marvel took the time to announce what they’re calling the ReEvolution of the industry. Beginning with a new form of digital comics, called Infinite Comics, the House of Ideas looks to advance the concept of digital, an industry that only been relevant for a handful of years. Check out the press release for more info.
The Marvel ReEvolution is here—and comics will never be the same! The future of comic book publishing was unveiled yesterday to the raucous crowd at SXSW Interactive’ s ScreenBurn Arcade courtesy of industry superstars Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief, Marvel Comics), Peter Phillips (SVP/GM, Marvel Digital Media) and Jeph Loeb (Head of Marvel Television) during the historic Marvel: House of Ideas panel.
An industry first, the Marvel ReEvolution seamlessly brings the worlds of print and digital media together for a comics experience like no other. The first two elements of this exciting new initiative were revealed as Marvel Infinite Comics, a new comic book format, and Marvel AR, the first major augmented reality app from a comics company. And fans will not have to wait long to get in on the action as they will both be released with the hotly-anticipated Avengers X-Men #1 on April 4th, when the two biggest Super Heroes teams in the world go to war!
“Marvel’s always led graphic fiction industry in digital media innovation and the Marvel ReEvolution is a quantum leap into the future of publishing,” said Dan Buckley. Publisher & President of the Print, Animation & Digital Divisions, Marvel Worldwide, Inc. “We see print and digital product as complementary, not competitive—so we’ve made sure that not only do we have new digital content but also digital products that enhance the printed page. The release of Avengers VS X-Men #1, the biggest story we’ve ever told, is the activation point for the re-evolution of comics as a whole.”
Marvel Infinite Comics represent a new form of comic book storytelling, using tablets and smartphones as a new canvas for storytelling, taking advantage of modern technology while staying true to medium’s greatest strengths. The first comic released in this format will be Avengers VS X-Men #1 Infinite, from acclaimed creators Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen and available on April 4th for purchase on the Marvel Comics app, free with the redemption of the code found in print copies of Avengers VS X-Men #1 or included with the purchase of the digital version.
“We call these Marvel Infinite Comics because the storytelling possibilities are, frankly, infinite. Writers and artists now have a whole host of new tools at their disposal to redefine the comic book medium,” said Alonso. “Current tablets and smartphones, along with comiXology’s Guided View technology, allow us to develop new, full length stories for a different medium that are very much truly comics—but experienced by readers in a way no other major company has ever executed.”
The Marvel AR app, powered by Aurasma, will be released in April for iOS and Android devices. By opening this app and scanning select Marvel products featuring the Marvel AR logo, you’ll unlock exclusive content starring the world’s most popular Super Heroes — including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and many others!
“Marvel AR is a perfect example of how digital innovation not only gives added value to print comics, but also brings a delivers an entirely new reading experience,” explained Phillips. “Now fans will have access to more behind-the-scenes material from their favorite Marvel products than ever before—and it’s all absolutely free.” Go behind the scenes of your favorite comics, see new footage, hear from creators, catch yourself up on past events and more!
And here we thought Avengers VS X-Men was only relevant for being a major comics event. Not only has Marvel thrown their support at the series in terms of pushing sales by way of midnight release parties but after this weekend’s announcement as SXSW, Marvel revealed that AVX will matter in a whole new way; by being the inaugural title to make use of the upcoming Augmented Reality technology. In a separate press release, they explain:
Yesterday, at the SXSW Interactive Festival, Marvel Entertainment unveiled Marvel AR, the first major augmented reality app from a comic book company. As part of the recently announced Marvel ReEvolution, which brings the world of print and digital media together for a comics experience like never before, the Marvel AR app powered by Aurasma will be released on April 2 for iOS and Android devices. Fans can first discover the power of this new app in Avengers VS X-Men #1, arriving in comic stores on April 4 and kicking off the comic book event of the year in which the world’s most popular Super Heroes go to war!
By opening this app and scanning select Marvel products featuring the Marvel AR logo, you’ll unlock exclusive content starring the world’s most popular super heroes — including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and many others! Go behind the scenes of your favorite comics, see new footage, hear from creators, get caught up on past events and more!
“It’s time to join the Marvel ReEvolution, as we bring the worlds of print and digital media together for an unprecedented fan experience,” said Peter Phillips, senior vice president and general manager, Marvel Digital Media Group. “Avengers VS X-Men is the biggest story we’ve ever told and teaming with Aurasma allows us to bring our fans a deeper experience when they purchase select Marvel comics and other Marvel products. Just wait till you see what we’ve planned!”
Marvel partnered with Aurasma, the world’s leading augmented reality platform, to create a mobile experience designed to empower fans to discover a new world of content that brings their favorite Super Heroes to life through tablets and mobile devices. Aurasma’s cutting-edge image recognition technology enables the Marvel AR app to recognize images in new Marvel comic books, promotional posters and other merchandise, seamlessly augmenting the images with interactive virtual content such as videos, animations and more.
“Marvel is no stranger to digital media and is once again making history, this time by using Aurasma’s transformative technology to bridge the physical world with the virtual,” said, David Stone, Aurasma’s director of client services. “What better way to excite and engage fans than to give them the power to interact with all of their favorite characters in a new way?”
Aurasma’s free platform unlocks a whole new dimension for partners to creatively enhance the real world. In this case, comic books will reach new depths by unleashing coveted and fan-pleasing content like director and editor commentary and other special features, only accessible through the Marvel AR app.
The Marvel AR companion app, powered by Aurasma, will be available for free in April at the Apple App Store and Android Market.
Marvel is pushing a whole lot of new tech recently, in an effort to not only bridge the gap between print and digital, but to push the comics industry further into the future. Their ReEvolution initiative seems to be really taking off as far as practicality and significance go.