Announced today, it looks like Marvel has teamed up with a company called iVerse and will be launching a new app today entitled Marvel Global Comics, in which they’ve translated and made available some of their popular comics in foreign languages. With translations now available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew, various books such as “Civil War” and Fraction/Larocca’s “Invincible Iron Man” (the examples Marvel gave) will now be even more widely accessible to fans not just in our country, but around the globe.
And here’s the thing: this is kind of huge.
It’s interesting because most comics have often had forays into foreign translations, but often in very limited capacities. Most of the time, a foreign edition was produced and released in a different format than your average American trade and that’s the end of it; you have your nice French or German hardcover with 12 issues and that’s that. However, in terms of digital — despite being the more accessible frontier — we’ve not seen anyone fully utilize that immediate availability in any strong capacity, with many comics simply being thrown out into the ether on Comixology or other apps with the assumption that people who really want to read an English-written comic can just already ready English.
Some pirates have translated books themselves, sure, but it’s not the same as having readily accessible material that you can legally purchase (for all obvious reasons). And, to be fair, the translations are often not great due to the obvious disconnect created by language barriers.
So Marvel actually producing foreign translations of their comics, albeit not necessarily their more recent ones, is certainly a very smart move. It’ll be interesting to see if this move is profitable, and also to see how other companies react. Given the general Game of Thrones-esque behavior we sometimes see in terms of how the companies relate and treat one another, I’d be curious to see which company is next to produce their own foreign-language translations.
More importantly, though, I’m very excited to see how the market expands. I think producing foreign translations of comics and putting them out digitally is a rather brilliant idea, and it’ll be very interesting to look back in six months or a year and see what, if anything, has changed about the audience.
For the full Marvel press release, see below.
Marvel Press Release
Marvel Entertainment, one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, is excited to announce the release of the MARVEL GLOBAL COMICS App. Marvel will distribute single-issue and collected edition translated digital comics worldwide with iVerse, an innovator and unique voice in the CMS, translation, and mobile publishing arenas.
This multi-year agreement reinforces Marvel’s position both as one of the leading global entertainment brands and as the premier comic book publisher in the world, while also bringing its unparalleled library of popular characters and acclaimed stories to the widest possible global audience. The MARVEL GLOBAL COMICS App launches in the Apple Store February 6th with additional platform releases tentatively scheduled for later in 2014.
“Marvel has incredible fans all around the world, and we’re excited to bring digital comics to their mobile devices in their native languages,” explains Kristin Vincent, VP of Digital Products. “This partnership with iVerse allows us to introduce Marvel’s rich history of action-packed stories to new audiences worldwide who want to know more about the Avengers, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the rest of the vast Marvel Universe.”
“At iVerse, we believe that there is an unprecedented opportunity to expand readership by providing content in readers’ native languages,” says Michael Murphey, CEO, iVerse. “We are lifelong fans of Marvel – their characters and their content. It’s truly an honor to be able to partner with them to bring this spectacular content to the world on as many platforms as possible.”
For the first time ever, in the digital realm, you can experience the greatest comic books featuring the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and more worldwide in twelve languages – Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hebrew!
Once again, the MARVEL GLOBAL COMICS App will be available for download starting February 6th in the Apple Store and will be having fans saying “MAKE MINE MARVEL!” across the world!Continued below
ABOUT MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT, LLC:
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 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 more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information, visit marvel.com.
ABOUT iVERSE MEDIA, LLC:
iVerse Media is a leading global provider of content management with a robust CMS that has unique capabilities in translation, digital content presentation, distribution and management. The “iVerse CMS Engine” is so graphically rich, it enhances the comics viewing experience; so sophisticated, it can translate apps; and so secure it can handle medical records and imaging. Founded in 2008, the company was one of the first to launch digital comics on mobile devices. With millions of iVerse powered products having been downloaded, the iVerse App Platform continues to be one of the most popular and widely used platforms for reading digital comics in the world.