Marvel Adds A Dynamic Soundtrack To Its Digital Comics With Project Gamma

The digital team from Marvel Comics is at South by Southwest Interactive this year to show off some new comics-reading experiences that they’ve created.

At their session today they’re demonstrating a technology that’s currently called Project Gamma. Basically, it’s a way to add music to the experience of reading a digital comic — music that actually adapts to the pace at which you read. As a result, every reader could have a unique experience, said Peter Phillips, the senior vice president and general manager of Marvel’s digital media group.

You can see and (faintly) hear an advance demo of Project Gamma in the video above. The main thing to notice is that the music seems to transition from panel to panel pretty smoothly — if you’re reading the comic, you’re not necessarily going to be aware that the soundtrack is adapting to your speed. Phillips said it works similarly to the music in a video game.

Project Gamma was created in partnership with music company CORD Worldwide. When I asked why his team thought comics were crying out for an experience like this, Phillips said that this is very much an experimental technology, in the vein of Marvel’s efforts with augmented reality: “We’re not afraid to fail. We want to show that we’re looking to be innovative and different and enhance the experience.”

He also said that we can expect to see this technology in some Marvel comics later this year: “If our editor in chief [Axel Alonso] were here, he’d say he’s got specific stories that he’s already thinking about for this.”

In the video, Phillips also offers his thoughts on Marvel’s new subscription comics app, Marvel Unlimited. (TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington wrote earlier this week that he found it pretty disappointing.)