Project Gamma adds sound to the comics experience—but it’s not a single soundtrack, nor is it simple sound effects. It is “a unique, immersive experience that brings fully adaptive music and sound together with digital comics to create an entirely new audio-visual event,” according to the Marvel website.
Unlike your standard audio comic, where a single soundtrack plays when the comic is opened or the reader taps a button, Project Gamma will tailor the sound not only to the action in the comic but also to the reader’s behavior. Here’s Peter Phillips, senior vice president and general manager of Marvel’s Digital Media Group said “The music will not speed up as you flip the page,” he explains. “Its modulated in such a way that whether you’re a fast reader or a slow reader, it will stick with you, it’ll be by your side. This is embedded music to enhance the experience of what you’re already enjoying. And it paces itself to how you’re reading. So that’s really the key.
“If there’s a piano expected to be on there for 30 seconds and plays music for 30 seconds, after that time is over it’s going to randomize in a way that’s completely intuitive. As you’re flipping back and forth throughout pages, it’s not going to be buffering; the audio will enhance that experience and take you back to where you were. You’re not going to hear any break in the music.”
In addition, there will be similarities in the music across different comics that feature the same character.
Marvel will roll out Project Gamma later this year and will pair up the new system with comics that have “Big events, big characters—honestly, ones that really lend themselves to music,” according to editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, who also managed to articulate why, exactly, anyone would want this: “It’s not unlike being in a video game, to be honest.”
A former book editor and newspaper reporter, Brigid Alverson started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters¹ reading habits and now covers comics and graphic novels for Comic Book Resources , School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Robot 6, and MTV Geek. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Brigid was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards. Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org