Marvel announced an expansion of their digital publishing efforts Sunday, an initiative dubbed "Marvel ReEvolution."
Unveiled at the South by Southwest interactive conference in Austin, Texas, "ReEvolution" will initially consist of two separate platforms: the previously teased "Infinite Comics" and a new "Marvel AR" app for iOS and Android devices.
Infinite Comics is a new publishing format of comics specifically designed for tablets and smartphones — rather than adapting print pages to digital screens — debuting with Avengers vs. X-Men #1 Infinite on April 4, from the creative team of writer Mark Waid and artists Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia. The comic will be available for free with a digital purchase of Avengers vs. X-Men #1 or via a redemption code found in that comic's print edition, and available separately for 99 cents.
The story will be concurrent to the events of Avengers vs. X-Men #1, and told from the perspective of cosmic character Nova. Waid, a vocal supporter of digital comics, talked to Marvel.com about the initiative.
"I was thrilled for the opportunity to really dig in and show off what the format can do," Waid said in the article. "It does require some
re-thinking on a writer's part; good comics are always a collaborative
effort between everyone involved, but even more so with digital, where
artists really need to take the lead on pacing and timing and, as we did
here, should probably be credited as co-plotters."
In the same piece, Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada stressed the importance of embracing the potential of digital comics while not losing what has made the medium successful.
"Infinite Comics are a new technique in comics storytelling that is built specifically for the digital world yet in a very elegant way manages to keep the purity of what makes a comic a 'comic,'" he said.
Waid further outlined the goals and capabilities of Infinite Comics, and suggested that the dimensions of tablet devices like the iPad — smaller than the typical single-issue comic book — will work to the format's advantage, and distinguished the new format from previous digital efforts like motion comics.
"What we're doing isn't bargain basement animation or print pages simply
transcribed to the screen — it's all the storytelling tools of comics
still under the reader's control," the Daredevil writer said. "Page composition and design are still
super important, as they've always been, but allowing artists to design
for a more intimate space allows for the possibility of a surprise with
The Marvel AR app is meant to enhance the reading experience of print comics though "augmented reality" technology, using mobile devices to scan areas unlocking related content — which Marvel says will allow a user to, "Go behind the scenes of your favorite comics, see new footage, hear from creators, catch yourself up on past events." Augmented reality, the melding of real-world environments with computer-generated data, has been utilized recently by both the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita handheld video game systems.
Marvel AR is scheduled for release on April 4, the same day as the launch of Infinite Comics and Avengers vs. X-Men #1. According to a statement from Marvel digital senior vice president Peter Phillips, the AR app and all associated content will be free.
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