As if his place in the Geek Pantheon were not secure enough, Oculus VR CTO and id Software co-founder John Carmack has tweeted that he is developing a virtual reality comic book shop (via Road to VR).
@Dethtron5000 I am building a VR comic book shop. Not kidding.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) April 25, 2014
The project is almost certainly related to the Marvel Developer API, announced earlier this year, which Carmack called “forward looking.” The API provides access to data for over 30,000 comics and 7,000 series over Marvel’s 75-year publishing history, including cover art, characters, and crossover events. Fans and developers can use this treasure trove of data to create non-commercial applications and websites. This is the first program of its kind from any major comics publisher.
Peter Olson, Marvel’s VP of Web and Application Development summed up why this API is perfect for Marvel comics in particular: “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.”
Digitization has already allowed artists to explore a degree of non-linearity in the form of motion comics. Given the Marvel universe’s deep intertextuality, opening up these sorts of higher level connections for fans to play with seems like a logical next step. Carmack’s project is the first high profile use of the API, and will no doubt set the standard for other exciting applications going forward.