[ This chapter does not appear in the book. ]
Back in February, Marvel released a web API for accessing information about their comics. It's a free service, although you do need to sign up for an account, and use assigned public and private API keys in your programs. The API is quite extensive, with excellent documentation, including an online interactive query test page. They also produced a short video about the API which was presented at SXSW 2014.
Marvel says it has already uploaded information on over 30,000 comics and 7,000 series, with more to follow. For now, at least, Marvel's API can only be used for non-commercial applications, and each user can make at most 3,000 API calls per day.
This article describes a small collection of Java applications I developed for finding comic covers. For example, they allow a user to find the comic cover for the first appearance of the Juggernaut, or the famous issue where Wolverine battled the Hulk. Tracking down those covers inside Marvel's giant database requires a bit of detective work, but the resulting high-quality images (shown as thunmbnails at the top of the page) are worth it.
I'll start by giving an overview of the Marvel database, then explain how to use my tools to find the two covers, and finish by looking at some of the implementation details of my programs.
Dr. Andrew Davison
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