The Marvel empire has already extended from comics and action figures to Hollywood mega-franchises and TV shows, and now it’s making a foray into app development.

The new Marvel Comics API, released to beta last week, gives developers access to Marvel comic data to incorporate and display in Web and mobile applications.

Marvel developer portal

The API is a RESTful service providing access to six types of resources spanning a repository of more than 30,000 comics and 7,000 series from Marvel’s 75-year publishing history. The resources are encoded as JSON objects and located at canonical URLs, and they also support JSONP callbacks, optional GZIP compression, and the W3C CORS specification.

The six different types of API data available are:
• Comics: Individual print and digital comic issues, collections and graphic novels
• Comic series: Sequentially numbered (well, mostly sequentially numbered) comics with the same title
• Comic stories: Indivisible, reusable components of comics. For example, the cover for Amazing Fantasy #15 or the Spider-Man origin story from that issue
• Comic events and crossovers: Big, universe-altering storylines
• Creators: Women, men and organizations who created comics
• Characters: The women, men, organizations, alien species, deities, animals, non-corporeal entities, trans-dimensional manifestations, abstract personifications, and green amorphous blobs that occupy the Marvel Universe (and various alternate universes, timelines and realities therein)

The API Program is in public beta right now, but developers can sign up and get started via the Marvel Developer Portal. The portal contains API documentation along with an interactive API tester.

Marvel spelled out guidelines for use of the data, such as prohibiting developers from creating paid or ad-supported apps without Marvel’s approval, and developers are limited by default to 1,000 API requests a day.