Marvel Comics publishes the first API developer portal for comics

Last week, Marvel announced the launch of the Marvel Comics API, which lets developers use Marvel Comics data to build apps and websites inspired by its legendary superheroes. Released only a few months after Amazon’s Kindle Worlds – a publishing platform for fan fiction – the Marvel Comics API represents a huge step forward for the entertainment industry. It is the first time such a renowned publisher decides to open a large amount of data to the public – over 30,000 comics and 7,000 series. What is even more promising is that apparently others at Disney have been experimenting with the concept, as Fast Company reports.

From open innovation to monetization

Marvel’s API certainly intends to support fan art, but the big picture is to create an opportunity for open innovation, and develop potential new sources of monetization. The Marvel API Terms of Use explicitly refer to business opportunities for developers using the API, and to advertising as a monetization model:

If you are interested in creating an App that is paid and/or contains monetization features, please contact us at Marvel-api-help@marvel.com to discuss a potential business relationship. All for-profit Apps must be pre-approved in writing by Marvel (such approval to be granted or withheld in Marvel’s sole discretion).

Marvel may make available to you a Tool or other API that permits you to include Marvel-approved advertising in your Apps. Unless otherwise set forth in the Information Form or on a separate “Advertising Addendum,” you may not include any advertising or sponsorship in your App (unless included in the Content made available by Marvel).

Terms of use & License

Developers are only allowed to create personal and non-commercial websites and applications. No advertising or any form of sponsorship is allow, and no fee. Marvel grants developers a “limited, revocable, non-exclusive, non-assignable and non-transferable license to use the Marvel API” and tools. In turn, all Apps created through the Marvel API are owned by the company.

Your License to Marvel. You grant to Marvel a perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully-paid, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable (in whole or in part) worldwide license to use, in all means and media now known or hereafter devised, the information you provide about yourself, your company and your App in connection with Marvel’s descriptions, marketing or promotion of the Marvel API, and the Apps developed through it. This license does not give Marvel the right to sell products containing your name or likeness, absent your prior written approval.

Resources

The Marvel API gather data about Marvel’s fictional universes – character, major events… – and about its actual history – authors, release dates, etc. For instance, developers can use an API call to collect all the data about Captain America, which typically includes the character ID, description, the list of events he took part in, the list of comics he appears in, etc.

Marvel Comics API Resources

Marvel Comics API Resources

Marvel Comics Press Release

Marvel Entertainment is excited to announce the Marvel Comics API, Marvel’s new application programming interface (API), which gives developers access to portions of Marvel’s comic data for use in their personal, non-commercial websites and applications. Beginning Friday, January 31st, the beta version of the Marvel Comics API is available on the new Developer Portal on Marvel.com. This represents the first API program by any major comic book publisher and provides an innovative way for fans to interact with Marvel Entertainment and Marvel’s digital content.

The Marvel Comics API is a set of web services that give fans access to Marvel’s rich repository of data about over 30,000 comics and 7,000 series. The API lets fans access information from Marvel’s 75-year publishing history, including cover art, characters and comic book crossover events. Developers will now have the opportunity to create personal applications and websites that express their individual appreciation and experiences with Marvel Comics. From feeds on blogs to mini-applications, developers everywhere can use the Marvel Comics API to create compelling digital experiences using Marvel’s treasure trove of data.

Peter Olson, VP of Web & Application Development says, “Our API program is a cool new way to explore and interact with Marvel Comics. Unlike lists of books, movies, or news articles, our comics are an inter-connected web (no Spidey pun intended!) of data spanning 75 years. It’s the relationships between them that are fascinating. Everything is connected and continues to expand as more comics are released each week. With our API program, once again, Marvel is changing the comics and publishing technology landscape.”

Developers can create accounts, access the API, test drive queries in interactive forms, read documentation and ask questions at Marvel’s new Developer Portal at developer.marvel.com.

The Marvel Comics API provides a deep look into the underlying data of the Marvel Universe – it’s another way Marvel Comics is making the Marvel Universe “Your Universe”.

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.

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