Spider-Man is everywhere this year, from movies to television to comic books of course, and now he’s using his web to crawl to one more world: the online world. Last weekend at SXSW, Marvel announced the launch of an all-ages Infinite comic series titled Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man. Spinning out of the Disney XD animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, this series will adapt stories from that show into the layered, digital-driven comics format that Marvel been using for original comic stories for the past two years.
"This is going to be the first time that our Infinite Comics format will feature Spider-Man and the team of young heroes,” said Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso in an interview with the Associated Press. “It's .. a very diverse, multi-ethnic cast with very different power sets. All of them are going to appeal to very different types of kids."
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Manwill be written by Ultimate Spider-Man animated series writer Eugene Son, along with comic book writers Matt Kindt, Cullen Bunn and Tim Seeley. J.L. Mast and Geoffrey Beaulieu will act as storyboard artists, with Luciano Vecchio and Soutchey Leimetry providing the finished art.
Unlike Marvel’s previous Infinite comics, Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man is squarely aimed at children – “the next generation of comics fans” according to Kristin Vincent, Marvel’s Vice President of Digital Products. For years Marvel has made a concerted push to the kid audience digitally, from the devoted MarvelKids.com website as well as posting some of Marvel’s “kid-friendly” comics on Disney XD’s website coordinating with the Marvel block of programming the cable network offers. Vincent says the Marvel’s paid attention to the responses children have had to reading comics digitally, and Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man was developed in response to that.
“What we’ve found is that kids definitely give them a try and enjoy the stories, but are a little perplexed by the format,” Vincent tells Newsarama. “f you look at digital comics, they’re really a translation of print comics; you’re panning around the page from the top left to the bottom right, then you jump to the next page. Kids find this perplexing, as they didn’t grow up with print comics and don’t understand the paradigm of print. They ask questions like ‘Why does it pan like that?’ and ‘Why doesn’t it pan down forever?’ They’re very astute questions, which those of us who grew up reading comics don't think about. When kids experience print comics they enjoy them, and we want to find ways to make the stories more accessible in digital.”
Marvel hopes that the Infinite Comics storytelling format will resonate more with children than the traditional way comics have been shown digitally. Vincent assures readers that these Infinite Comics aren’t animation, or trying to be, but provides a layered sense of storytelling leading through the comic panels of the story.
Vincent says that the subject matter, Spider-Man, seemed to be an obvious choice for the Infinite Comic format’s first foray into all-ages content.
“We chose Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Manto be the first all-ages Infinite Comic because Spider-Man resonates with fans, both in the United States and around the world,” says Kristin Vincent, Marvel’s Vice President of Digital Products. “It’s a great place to start, especially from a global perspective, because with Spider-Man anyone can believe they could put on the suit and become Spider-Man. Our goal is to just really excite the next generation of Marvel fans, and of Spider-Man fans. In pursuit of that goal and to try to get as many kids as possible to experience these stories, we’re making them free. We want to open this up to the widest audience and see if we hit on something, and then we'll decide how to expand.”
While a firm release date for Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man has not been announced, Vincent says that they have “most” of the series complete. Furthermore, once the English edition has been released Marvel plans on expanding it worldwide with translation into 10 other languages.