February 6, 2014
Marvel Comics is launching a beta version of an API and developer platform, which will give developers and fans access to its massive library of comics for building apps. The API will include artwork, character bios, expanded stories and more from the original creators spanning 75 years. There are more than 30,000 comics, 7,000 series and 5,000 creators in the database, and developers can even build mini-apps around their favorite characters, titles and creators.
According to Fast Company, the API is the first of its kind offered by a major comic book publisher and will not only offer users a list of its published titles and stories, “it will also flesh out the relationship between all of Marvel’s comics and the creators that have worked over the years to build such intricate story lines and complex characters.”
“While developers and fans alike can build interactive timelines and real-time updates to comics as digitally released by Marvel to share on their own sites or apps, Marvel is always looking for new ways to engage their traditional brick-and-mortar comic book shops and retailers in the digital realm,” the article says.
Kristin Vincent, VP of digital products, explains that Marvel’s comics and titles are all connected and “continue to expand” as more comics are released. “Now we’ll be [available] to on-board partners more quickly and bring new products to market even faster,” Vincent says.
She adds that many of Marvel’s fans are “tech savvy, early adopters” who have “jump[ed] through hoops” to put together Marvel comic data for their own uses.
Fast Company notes that along with parent company Disney, Marvel’s developers have been experimenting with the new program to come up with other possibilities. “One example is data visualizations that show how different groups of creators collaborated on books over the lifetime of a series,” the article says. Additional possibilities include interactive timelines, new browsing tools for the library, and SMS-based functionalities.
The API can be accessed through the Marvel Developer Portal.