Marvel Offers Digital Extras for Comic Book Fans

Marvel Comics next month will release a new application to add content enhanced with augmented reality to some of its comic books.

Augmented reality, or AR, allows computer-generated content to be superimposed over a live camera view of the real world -- a street, for instance. There are various ways to do this, but Marvel will use technology from Aurasma that relies on image detection.

The AR app will be available for Apple iPhones and iPads as well as other smartphones and tablets, according to the comic book publisher. By opening the application and holding a device in front of a compatible comic book page, users will be able to unlock free extra content, including new footage and commentary from creators.

Compatible comic book pages will be tagged with an AR logo; they will be featured in titles such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Hulk.

Last year, 72.1 million comic books were sold in North America. That's a step up from the 69.2 million copies sold in 2010, but well below the 85.3 million sold in 2007.

Marvel said it hopes to enhance the reading experience and add value.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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