By Todd Allen
Marvel’s SXSW panel has started and Twitter is going berserk. (Remember, Twitter was launched at SXSW.) There’s also a reporting from CNET who seem to have gotten a heads up, even if the reporter doesn’t seem to be aware Jack Kirby and Jerry Robinson are dead (or that the Joker isn’t a Marvel character).
What Twitter and CNET on:
There’s a new Marvel Augmented Reality App coming in April. Essentially, it will provide DVD extra type features if you point your tablet at the comic. Creator commentary, art from various stages of production, trailers for the book (apparently they think you’ll take your tablet/smart phone to the store, point it at the cover, watch a short trailer and then decide to buy the book — I’m not sure the market works that way, but maybe they’ve done some research on this).
And here’s a where a SXSW attendee defied security for our benefit and recorded the “book trailer” part of the demo.
There’s also going to be some digital-only comics. Here the Twitter feed and CNET differ. Everyone on Twitter seems to think Axel Alonso announced an ongoing digital-only Nova series by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen. CNET was told these comics will be 99-cent add-ons, tied to the main print comics getting this “AR” treatment:
“These are more like tie-in stories that tell stories that aren’t told in the comic–they’re compelling because of the characters involved and that they tell stories that develop key points in the stories,” Arune Singh, director of marketing at Marvel, wrote in an e-mail to CNET on Friday. “These are points you can understand without reading an Infinite comic but become more enjoyable when you’ve read this story.”
So it isn’t clear to me whether Axel was misunderstood and this Nova feature is a one-off tie-in to Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, if its going to be Waid/Immonen on Nova for each issue of AVX or if it really is an ongoing.
Here’s a picture of a Nova screen from SXSW:
In theory, this is stage one of a more serious digital initiative. Marvel has experimented with original digital shorts for their Digital Comics Unlimited program, but looked like it was falling behind DC and IDW, in terms of trying out original content for paid download/digital-first. This catches them up on this experimental wing of publishing that should be of increasing importance in the future. For now, Marvel is tying this very heavily back into the print product. DVD extras for print. Digital only comics supplementing the print story. Add-on sales and extras, not fresh sales.
We’ll hear more about this soon.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.