By Ben Morse
Today during the Marvel: House of Ideas panel held at South By Southwest, Marvel announced the advent of Infinite Comics, a new format designed especially for the digital realm, as part of Marvel ReEvolution.
“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,’” explains Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. “It gives readers the same feel of reading a traditional comic while also offering a whole new experience that really feels like the future of where the medium is headed.
“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,” continues Quesada. “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 offering from Infinite Comics will be AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 INFINITE, a tie-in story starring Nova, written by Mark Waid with art by Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia, available for purchase on the Marvel Comics app free with the redemption code found in print copies of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 or included with the purchase of the digital version. It will also be available to purchase on its own for 99 cents.
“The events are concurrent to AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1,” Waid says of the story. “It shows a certain key sequence of events uniquely from Nova’s point of view, and much of what we learn will be important in later AvX developments.”
“While AvX is a huge story, we only have so much room by which to tell it,” notes Quesada. “Infinite Comics will be bringing you some stories that may have fallen through the cracks or haven’t been dealt with in great detail.”
An industry veteran and proponent of digital innovation, Waid made a natural choice to craft the initial Infinite Comics story.
“I’ve been working on this format for awhile, which is why Joe Quesada reached out to me to creatively spearhead the Infinite Comics debut, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to really dig in and show off what the format can do,” says Waid. “It does require some re-thinking on a writer’s part; good comics are always a collaborative effort between everyone involved, but even more so with digital, where artists really need to take the lead on pacing and timing and, as we did here, should probably be credited as co-plotters.
“With this first story, Stuart Immonen and I were in steady contact at every stage. We talked the story out in depth, after which I provided him with a ‘beat sheet’ of the key moments and key images and some rough dialogue. Stuart then did breakdowns [or] storyboards for the entire tale, imagining and inserting transitions between scenes, and I did a final dialogue polish. It’s a lot more labor-intensive than your garden variety 10-page story, that’s for sure; a lot more ‘what if we tried this rack-focus effect?’ or ‘what if this frame stretched across multiple screens?’ but it was so rewarding. And what we’re showing off here? Tip of the iceberg.”
Quesada and Waid represent everybody working on Infinite Comics in their enthusiasm for the potential of the format.
“I think it [will help] casual readers understand more fully the power of the medium,” Waid expresses. “What we’re doing isn’t bargain basement animation or print pages simply transcribed to the screen—it’s all the storytelling tools of comics still under the reader’s control. Page composition and design are still super important, as they’ve always been, but allowing artists to design for a more intimate space allows for the possibility of a surprise with every click.”
“I love that, like the turn of the page in a traditional comic, the reader still controls the pace of the action [and] the timing of the story, but the creators now have more control over how that action is delivered and more tools by which to deliver that story in a much more powerful manner,” adds Quesada. “Also, we’re no longer confined by the limitations of the page. While we still are confined in a way by the size of a tablet screen in the same way that we have to deal with the physical size of a page, the screen is capable of so much more. You can layer your story in ways that are impossible with a physical comic.”
Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news on Infinite Comics and the rest of Marvel ReEvolution!