Kicking off the first official day of New York Comic Con, Marvel welcomed fans to their “House of Ideas” panel, which shouldn’t be confused with the “House of I.D.s” panel being held next door. It’s only 11am and we’re punchy, please excuse the terrible jokes.
The panel - mostly set up to discuss Marvel’s digital initiatives - actually had some cool announcements, as well as lively chat about all things “the internet.” On the panel were Editors Steve Wacker and Nick Lowe, Director of Product Strategy (and first time panel-goer) Kristin Vincent, Senior VP of Sales David Gabriel, Marvel.com’s Ryan Penagos, writers Matt Kindt and Mark Waid, and as always was moderated by Director of Communications Arune Singh.
Things kicked off talking about digital comics, with Singh noting that the number of users of digital was vastly increased in the room from the previous year. Gabriel added that when users redeem their digital copies online, and note the store the bought the print copy, Marvel gives the retailers fifty cents per copy. So far, they’ve given out $200,000 to retailers. “If you know us, that’s pretty unheard of,” joked Gabriel to laughter.
Singh then recapped all the places you can find digital copies, as well as the fact that Marvel doesn’t charge extra for digital copies if you buy your print copies... Unlike some OTHER companies. Wink wink.
Then, Wacker showed off Inifnite Comics, with some fans heading to the stage to read them live. Waid chimed in, saying that, "It's the same experience as reading a comic, because you control the pace of the story."
Lowe continued, plugging Yves Bigerel work on Infinite Comics, and how the artist helped Marvel figure out how to get Infinite Comics to work. Singh jumped in, letting the crowd know that an Infinite Comic featuring the animated Ultimate Spider-Man is available right now - and free until the end of the weekend - at Marvel.com. It’s written by Kindt, who noted that one of the great things about the format is that he could write in a spaceship two miles tall, and the reader can just keep scrolling up, further and further - something you could never do in print.
“The Infinite Comic we’re giving away this weekend is the biggest one yet,” said Wacker. “It’s probably the size of three of the books we’ve done before. It’s going to keep growing as we go.”
Wacker then unveiled an official proclamation from the Mayor’s Office, celebrating the fiftieth “birthday” of Spider-Man, with Waid quipping that if attendees took a picture, “You can make the proclamation say whatever you want.”
Then Vincent chatted about the changes to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, first noting that it was a pleasure to be on stage, representing the idea that women were working in comics. “Yeah, well I’m representing the MEN in comics!” joked Wacker. More seriously, Vincent said that MDCU is, “not working,” and that at the beginning of the year it will finally be available on iPads. Not only will it live stream through wifi, but you’ll be able to save books when not in a reception area.
Vincent then talked more about the Marvel Advisors Program, which is essentially an online focus group for Marvel products. Interested fans can contact Vincent on Twitter, @kristinvincent, or of course through Marvel.com.
Then it was on to Marvel AR! No new news, but more of a reminder that you get “DVD style extras,” as well as recaps and more, for free. They’re available for both iPhone and Android. Singh showed off an AR video of wrestler Diamond Dallas Page talking about why he loves The Hulk, a video that will show up tied to the new Indestructible Hulk series; and also plugged that Hulk Hogan will be coming up for an AR segment, too.
Singh moved on to talking about Marvel.com, with Penagos adding that, “It’s every aspect of what we do at Marvel.” Not just comics, but movies, TV, video games, and more. Vincent chimed in, saying that she understands that even with the content, fans can’t, “always find what they’re looking for.” So a revamp of the website for both desktop and mobile is coming soon. They’ll also be adding in more community aspects, and social interaction for the new site.
Next up? Singh showed off a Marvel Superheroes What The clip, then moved on to social outlets, then talked about the Facebook game Avengers Alliance. There’s also the Avengers Initiative mobile game, which Singh plugged, “The Marvel gaming universe is building up to something really exciting.”
Then it was open to questions! The first was about whether AR could pop up in digital, which Vincent said they may be addressing soon.
The next question was about the delayed Dexter comic, which Gabriel noted should be coming out in February, 2013.
And that was it! We’ll see you at the next panel!