Marvel first announced the Infinite Comics format — digital comic books designed to specifically take advantage of the format and capabilities of mobile devices — last year at South by Southwest. They returned to the interactive festival in Austin, Texas on Sunday to reveal that Infinite Comics are going weekly in July, starting with the 13-part Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted.
Teased late last month with an image reading "Count on Marvel,"Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted starts on July 9, a little more than two weeks before the release of the Japan-set The Wolverine feature film. The story, the first of four 13-chapter weekly Infinite Comics set to debut, is co-written by Wolverine and the X-Men's Jason Aaron and Winter Soldier's Jason Latour, illustrated by Paco Diaz and with storyboards by digital comics pioneer Yves Bigerel.
Since debuting in April 2012 with Avengers vs. X-Men #1, Marvel's Infinite Comics releases had been sporadic; three over the course of AvX, an Ultimate Spider-Man animated series tie-in released at last year's New York Comic Con, and a series of four Guardians of the Galaxy prequels that started last week. The weekly Infinite Comics will be released on Tuesday, and no price point has been announced (previous Infinite Comics sold from 99 cents to $1.99).
"The first Infinite Comics we did, we learned the form, had some fun, made some successes, learned from some mistakes," Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told Newsarama. "We're ready to roll. We've been planning this for a while."
Naturally, part of the goal with Infinite Comics is to expand beyond traditional comic book audiences, simply by providing a different experience and exposure to consumers who may not traditional comic book store customers. But that doesn't mean these stories won't have relevance to current fans, according to Alonso.
"All of them will be at least co-written by the monthly comic book writer for that character," Alonso said. "So they will make sure that story takes place in current continuity, is relevant to people who are going to the stores every Wednesday, but are also accessible to the new readers who we hope will come and pick this up, and discover a new way of reading comics."
Given that Infinite Comics are still in the early stages, those involved say the new material will continue to evolve what the format can do, and how it can be used to tell a story.
"This weekly series is the main event in digital comics," Marvel senior editor Nick Lowe said. "We're firing on all cylinders and will set a new bar."
Lowe said that Aaron and Latour make an effective co-writing team for this project due to Aaron's ability to write new reader-friendly stories, and Latour's capacity for visual thinking as both an accomplished artist as well as writer. Aaron told us that not only is this a different type of storytelling, it's a different type of Wolverine story.
"This is not the same old Wolverine in Japan story," Aaron said. "Jason and I both want to take that stuff and drag it into the future, and do very new takes on the Hand, and ninjas, and all that familiar stuff. How many times can you see Wolverine fighting the same sort of dudes in ninja costumes? iI's 2013. At what point does The Hand realize, 'The way we typically do things is not really working.'"
Along with The Hand, Japan's Most Wanted also features the Silver Samurai and Sabretooth. There aren't any current plans to adapt the Infinite Comics into print, but Marvel isn't ruling out, and it's happened before — the three AvX releases were included with that story's hardcover collection. Alonso said he sees "digital and print as being complementary."
"To start thinking about the next stage has an inhibiting effect on the creators," Alonso said. "Right now we want them to think the sky's the limit; 'What can I do with this media?' Not with something that can later be converted to a comic book page."
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