Secretive augmented reality startup Magic Leap has teamed up with online comic book publisher Madefire to bring mixed reality comics to Magic Leap’s upcoming consumer devices. The partnership was announced during a panel at the New York Comic Con Friday evening, where Magic Leap Studios SVP Anthony “Ant” Williams and “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer and Magic Leap advisor Andy Lanning were joined on stage by Madefire CEO Ben Wolstenholme.
Wolstenholme told Variety prior to the announcement that he was very excited to finally be able to share the news. “We’ve been working together for 5 years,” he said.
Madefire is best known for distributing graphic novels on mobile devices. Now, the company’s app will be a launch partner for Magic Leap to bring graphic novels to the devices on day one.
With the app, consumers will be able to experience graphic novels in a true augmented reality fashion, with comic panels being pinned to the walls of their room, or floating in their room in true 3D, ready to be explored, said Williams. “Comic panels will be like a window into another world.”
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“You can actually decorate your room with digital artwork if you want to,” added Andy Lanning.
Madefire first launched mixed reality comics with Oculus on the Rift last year. Two key differences between that implementation and that for the Magic Leap will be the addition of spatial sound, and a much-improved readability, explained Wolstenholme. “It’s unbelievably crisp. It’s super vivid.”
Madefire is looking to bring its entire catalog of graphic novels to the Magic Leap. Magic Leap Studios also plans to produce original mixed reality graphic novels for the device, and may also partner up with traditional publishers to put out print versions of those stories, said Williams.
A big part of the cooperation are Madefire’s publishing tools, which allow artists to publish their work for free through a simple web editor. “We are looking to build a platform that is open to all,” said Williams.
Magic Leap hasn’t said yet when it will start to sell its device to consumers, or even revealed in detail how the device will work — but Williams encouraged artists to nonetheless get ready for the new platform, and familiarize themselves with Madefire. “You can start now,” he said.