Serial Box, the premium digital-book platform, is partnering with Marvel Entertainment to create new original stories for Black Panther, Thor, Black Widow, and Jessica Jones that will be produced by TV-style writers’ rooms, serialized in both written and audio form, and released weekly as episodes that fit the average American commute.
Thor, the mighty Asgardian thunder god, will be the first of the four Marvel projects. Serial Box this morning also announced that Aaron Stewart-Ahn, who co-wrote the recent cult hit Mandy, will lead the Thor writing team of Brian Keene, Jay Edidin, and Yoon Ha Lee.
Serial Box’s “publishing studio” approach was the brainchild of Molly Barton, the former global digital director for Penguin Random House who launched Serial Box in 2015. Stories are told in “seasons” (usually about a dozen episodes) that are sold in advance for $18 or week-by-week for $1.59 per episode.
“We are thrilled that Marvel is entrusting us to extend and expand the story worlds for these beloved characters,” said Barton, CEO and co-founder of Serial Box. “Our writer teams could not be more excited to share the new stories with listeners and readers everywhere.”
Serial Box’s approach is tailored to today’s fast-paced lifestyle and dovetail with the robust consumer interest in micro storytelling, podcasts, audio books, and brand-driven mobile content.
According to the most recent U..S. Census Bureau statistics, the average American worker’s commute time clocks in around 26 minutes. Serial Box’s episodic content is tailored with that in mind with installments that typically represent a 30-minute read or an hour-long listen. The company bundles the written and audio versions of episodes together so buyers have the option to flip between formats mid-story with one click.
For Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment, the appeal of the Serial Box approach is the persistence of its consumer interaction. Feature films and television series can only be produced so fast and the illustrated digital comics marketplace has hasn’t found a foothold with the wider mainstream audience. The serialized approach also synchs up with the traditions of Marvel Comics, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.
“Over the last 80 years, Marvel has grown to become a lifestyle for every kind of fan around the world – but it all started from serialized storytelling,” said John Nee, Publisher of Marvel. “We were impressed by the quality and creativity of Serial Box’s content, and we are excited for both Marvel and Serial Box fans to experience these new stories together each week.”
Serial Box Chief Content Officer and Co-Founder Julian Yap is producing the Marvel series for Serial Box. The four Marvel characters that are headed to Serial Box include Hollywood’s king of the jungle, Black Panther, whose feature film finished 2018 as the top-grossing domestic release and with a history-making Oscar best-picture nomination. The quartet also includes a small-screen refugee in Jessica Jones, the protagonist of the highly regarded Netflix series that was recently cancelled.