will.i.am has expanded his sphere of influence from music and production to the graphic novel universe. His new graphic novel “Masters of the Sun” was developed in partnership with Marvel. Launched back in March, the novel follows a California hip hop crew who are fighting back against an alien God. The alien god has come to Earth to continue a curse which turns drug dealers and gangsters into zombies. The Black Eyed Peas announced at LA ComicCon that they would be partnering with Oculus to tell the story through a VR experience launching in January 2018.
The VR app has a star studded “cast” featuring Rosario Dawson, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, rapper Rakim, Stan Lee, and many more. Graphic designer and frequent Black Eyed Peas collaborator Pasha Shapiro noted “VR is the perfect tool to create the world, and this story has an incredibly vast and deep world in it,”
The band and development team even took the immersive engagement one step further. Using a mobile AR app, readers can watch as characters burst out of the page as the action on the page is animated and made real with 3d figures. The same characters are also collectible along with weapons, sound blasters, crew members and vehicles. The graphic novel, combined with the VR Experience and AR App form what is essentially a multi-channel game that users can play.
This type of experience serves as a truly inventive use of VR/AR tech. We are looking forward to the release and trying it out. We expect that with the success of this experience, other graphic novels and even news or normal books will begin to use VR and AR to draw users even further into the world they’ve created. There are unique opportunities for each book to go beyond the Book + Movie formula and truly create a universe their fans can live in.