Marvel had a panel at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Sunday and gave us a glimpse at what was hiding behind the enigmatic teasers released over the last couple of weeks. The major announcements were:
- Marvel is making all of their #1 issues available for free on Comixology and the Marvel App (also powered by Comixology) for a limited time. As you may have heard, this initiative has caused Comixology’s service to buckle under the pressure from eager fans. My guess is that this will lead to the campaign being either extended or repeated next week so that people will actually be able to enjoy it. Meanwhile, I got quite a kick out of reading CBR’s article on this story. While I appreciate their journalistic zeal, you’d almost think the service people were being cut off from was life-support rather than comics…
- Project Gamma is a new experimental merger of sound and digital comics, which basically adds a score or soundtrack that is unique to each page or panel. Unlike an old-fashioned motion comic, the reader controls the experience (see the promo video here) and sets the pace, like we’re used to seeing in modern comics made for the digital medium
- Marvel’s take on the number 52 (remember this teaser?) is an Infinity Comics initiative that will see the publisher release a made-for-digital installment every week. ‘Cause there are fifty-two weeks in a year. Get it? Anyway, the first thirteen chapters will make up a Wolverine story, and the rest will presumably be revealed as we get closer.
You can read a longer summary of everything Marvel announced at SXSW here, and see all of their videos for the event here.
So what does this mean for Daredevil?
Just last week, a new eight-issue Daredevil anthology series, spearheaded by Lee Weeks was announced. Daredevil: Dark Nights will effectively become the “second Daredevil series” just as Daredevil: End of Days comes to a close in May. I’m thrilled that Daredevil has gradually become the kind of character that Marvel can see themselves doing more with on a monthly basis than just have him star in his own book. To quote Axel Alonso, “Mark Waid’s ‘Daredevil’ is hot and we figured Marvel fans are hungry for more stories about Daredevil and his world.”
So, while there are really no hints that any of this weekend’s announcements will affect Daredevil in the short term, especially with everything else going on, it wouldn’t surprise me if Daredevil gets the Omega Project or Infinity Comics treatment sooner or later. First of all, I can’t imagine a better character for Marvel to create a soundtrack for that actually enhances the reading experience (which is what they are aspiring to do) and makes sense for that particular character.
When it comes to digital comics generally, Daredevil writer Mark Waid is obviously a “made-for-digital” comics pioneer and his Infinity Comics Nova story was one of the major things to come out of last year’s Marvel panel at SXSW. Since then, he’s been busy working on his Thrillbent platform which also features stories made specifically for a digital interface. Having the properties he’s associated with among the first in line for Infinity Comics as well as Project Gamma would make perfect sense.
So, what do I think the likelihood of success is for Marvel’s new ventures? It’s really hard to say. Project Omega may be the thing we laugh at five years from now, the way motion comics or foil covers are laughed at today. On the other hand, it may really offer something new that people like or at least inspire someone else to do a better version of it that really takes off. Who knows? I always try to keep an open mind with these things and applaud Marvel for at least trying new things. Experimentation is a key aspect in innovation.
What are your thoughts and opinons on this? Do you think this could be something for Dardevil? Oh, and before I sign off, I should let you know that Sequart’s Daredevil book (featuring a chapter by yours truly) is now available on Amazon.com!