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Marvel Announces Digital-Only ‘Infinite Comics’ Imprint and ‘Augmented Reality’ App at SXSW


At the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas today, Marvel Comics unveiled its new “ReEvolution” initiative, with a new digital device app called Marvel Augmented Reality, and new digital-only imprint, Infinite Comics, which will offer digital comics that tie in with existing print titles. Infinite Comics will launch on April 4th with an Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in starring Nova by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen.The tie-in will be available for 99 cents, or free with the purchase of Avengers vs. X-Men #1. Waid has been an outspoken proponent of digital comics, which he often has described as the “future” of the comics industry.

Talking to Comic Book Resources about Nova
, explained that working in a digital-only environment has changed the way he looks at both scripting and collaboration:

This forcing me to find a whole different way to write, and that’s something that didn’t occur to me until I sat down and wrote ‘Page One, Panel One.’ I can’t approach this in a traditional panel-by-panel beat form because I didn’t want Stuart to feel like his hands were tied. I wanted him to really be able to experiment with the flow of it and the staging and really take control of the story on a visual level. What I worked up for Stuart was a two or three-page, single spaced outline hitting all the beats and moments we needed with some rough dialogue, but I said, ‘I want you to take a co-plot credit on this story and really take visual control. Don’t act as though you’re drawing my script. Act as if you’re a filmmaker who’s adapting my short story.’ And he did great with that.

The Nova story will take advantage of the digital format with techniques that would not be possible in a print comic, like dynamic panel transitions and captions or dialogue boxes that appear sequentially on an image at the prompting of the reader. Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso described the digital-only content as “comics storytelling like you’ve never seen before – not print comics, but also not animation.”

Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada added that the publisher’s “current plans consists of three Infinite Comic installments for “AvX,” but you never know. If the reaction is great, we may do one or two more.”

The second half of the ReEvolution push is the new app, called Marvel Augmented Reality, will allow readers to use their cellphones and tablets to access DVD extra-style material for selected print comics, whether tracing the process of a particular page from pencils through to finished colored artwork or video from editors or creators explaining the importance of a key scene.

According to Aurasma’s director of client services David Stone in an interview with CNet, each Marvel AR comic will feature around eight AR-ready scenes. The work of Marvel and San Francisco-based company Aurasma, which has been working in the Augmented Reality app world for some time, the app will be released for free download on April 2, just days ahead of the much heralded Avengers vs. X-Men #1.

What do you think of the new announcements? Are you interested in downloading either the new app or the digital-only comics?

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