Marvel Entertainment and Aurasma have partnered on an app that adds augmented reality to the alternative reality of comic books. Marvel AR will make its commercial debut when Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is released on April 4.

When used with Marvel products featuring the Marvel AR logo, the free app unlocks exclusive content featuring “the world’s most popular Super Heroes,” including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Hulk. Marvel said the content includes things like scenes of comics, new footage, creator commentary, news, promotional posters and merchandise. Aurasma‘s technology uses image recognition rather than QR codes or other cues that might distract the reader.

Marvel AR is part of the Marvel ReEvolution initiative, which “seamlessly brings the worlds of print and digital media together for a comics experience like no other,” as is the new Infinite Comics digital format Marvel also announced at the South by Southwest festival.

Joe Quesada, chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, said: “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. 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 written by Mark Waid with art by Stuart Immonen and Marte Gracia. It will come free with purchases of the digital version of Avengers vs. X-Men #1 and also will be downloadable for 99 cents or by redeeming a code found in print copies of the comic.

“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.”

Marvel Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over 70 years.

Aurasma, which launched in June 2011, is available as a free app for iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPad2 and high-powered Android devices, or as a free kernel for developers, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to recognize and understand real-world images and objects used in printed images, product packaging, clothing, physical places and elsewhere. Aurasma was developed by and is part of software company Autonomy, an HP Company.

Related links:


Press release –– The Marvel ReEvolution Is Here – Marvel Infinite Comics Unveiled