Ka-Pow! Marvel partners with Dreamscape to produce superhero audiobooks from classic Marvel comics

Variety reports this week that Marvel Entertainment has partnered with Dreamscape Media to turn some classic comic titles into audiobooks.

If you’e thinking that’s a bit like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, join the club. But no, it’s not April 1st and it does seem this is for real.

Dreamscape Media, part of Midwest Tape, also owns the library distributor and app Hoopla, and Hoopla will be offering the two dozen audiobooks to its library customers. The audiobooks will also be distributed across all the usual retail and subscription platforms.

Hoopla has a track record with Marvel, and already hosts some 250 Marvel titles for its library customers.

According to Variety,

Some of the comic books covered by the agreement include “The Ultimate Spider-Man,” “The Ultimate X-Men,” “X-Men: Codename Wolverine” and “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear,” with works coming from author like David Michelinie, Tony Isabella, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and Peter David.

Around 2 dozen titles are being produced exclusively by Dreamscape Media as part of this collaboration, and an additional 20 titles haven’t been widely distributed before.

At a time when the audiobook debate is increasingly about what type of content can be effectively adapted without compromising on the original content, a lot of eyes – or rather, ears – will be watching / listening to this new partnership as the first products become available in September.

There’s a world of difference between a book read out loud, which is the simplest form of audiobook and relative inexpensive and straight-forward to produce, and conveying with audio a story written and designed as an illustrated comic book.

Not that audio-comics are new –

Listening to the pictures – the rise of audio-comics

but turning a superhero comic into an audiobook perhaps poses more challenges than some other pictorial genres and seems more prone to falling short of the original than a simpler text-based adaptation.

That said, Marvel will have test-driven this model with Dreamscape and be confident the end-product will stand up to scrutiny.

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