This weekend at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Marvel made some exciting announcements detailing their plans for their digital comics line going forward. Announced under the name “Marvel ReEvolution”, there are a few key components that make up this new initiative.
The first, Marvel Infinite Comics, showcases a new way of using the advantages that the digital medium allows. “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,’” Said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. “The uniqueness comes from the fact that [Infinite Comics] uses tools that the digital medium offers, but it doesn’t reinvent comics so completely that they become something other than what they are. If anything, outside of the great smell of ink on paper and the holding of a physical comic book, the Infinite Comics technique, I feel, enhances what a comic book can do without changing what makes comics great.”
The first release under the Marvel Infinite Comics banner will be AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 INFINITE, a tie-in story to the upcoming “Avengers vs. X-Men” event, featuring Nova. Mark Waid, a known advocate of the evolution of storytelling in digital comics, is writing the issue, with art by Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia. The issue will be available for free using a redeemable code that will be included with the print copies of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1, or by itself for 99 cents via the Marvel Comics app.
Along with the announcement of Marvel Infinite Comics came the unveiling of Marvel AR (Augmented Reality), an initiative designed to bridge the gap between digital and print comics. Also set to debut alongside the “Avengers vs. X-Men” event, AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 will be the first issue to feature the Marvel AR enhancements.
Once Marvel ReEvolution is in place, readers will be able to download the Marvel AR app (Set to be released in April), and then scan select Marvel Comics using their digital comics device of choice, which will open up free bonus content, including things like behind the scenes footage, details and info from the creators, and synopses of past events to help the reader catch up on what they may have missed.
Digital comics have been steadily increasing in popularity and with bold moves like this, Marvel may just be innovating an industry-wide change in the way we read comics.