In what is likely a first by a major comics publisher, Marvel has made an application programming interface available to developers interested in building digital applications around its comic book data and content. A beta version of the Marvel API was launched January 31 that will give developers access to trove of Marvel data for non-commercial use online and via applications.

An API is a set of digital permissions that allow developers to easily access otherwise proprietary online data feeds. The Marvel API will provide access to data on more than 30,000 comic books. The Marvel API gives developers access to individual comics and series, various components (cover art or parts of stories), information on crossover series events and storylines, information on Marvel creators such as Jack Kirby and many others, as well as information of all kinds on the world-famous characters and superheroes of the Marvel superhero universe.

Developers can create an account and access the API at the Marvel Developer Portal.

Peter Olson, Marvel v-p of web & application development, called the API a “cool new way to explore and interact with Marvel Comics.” Olson went on to say, “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."