A panel from "Cursed Blade," from Marshall Dillon and Matt Cossin
While at C2E2, we ran across the booth for Four Star Studios, and creator Josh Emmons provided us with a preview of their newest offering to the world of digital comics: The $0.99 Double Feature Comic. If you don't know, Four Star is a collective comprised of Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Emmons, and Sean Dove. These four, including other talented creators like Phil Hester, B. Clay Moore, and Chris Burnham, are putting together two short stories (8 pages each) in a different genre each month, and releasing them to the web only.
Starting in April with "Action," Tim Seeley and Mike Norton each present a tale of their own ("Jack Kracken" and "The Answer", respectively) that will be packaged together and offered for digital download. You can get them either on your iPad via their custom app, or as a PDF for enjoying anywhere else. I'm usually not jealous of people with their iPads, I mean, I have not one but two netbooks that I really enjoy. But the app for Double Feature comics is pretty great:
When you read a Double Feature comic on your iPad, you don't just get the comic. You also get tabs at the top that let you view it in black and white (the inks), without text (just the colored art,) and there's "commentary" you can pop up from the creators.
This is the kind of stuff that I really think will help push digital comics out there. It's really not enough to just make scanned versions of paper periodicals available for download. If I'm going to jump mediums, I'd like something new or extra that's going to take advantage of the digital format, and I think stuff like commentary tabs is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm sad that I won't be able to get that with the PDF download, but since the Double Features are only available digitally, I'll just have to live with my lack of an iPad. Maybe soon-ish, there will be an Android app from Four Star? Josh Emmons says:
We're certainly open to it! Ultimately, it comes down to time. Development-wise, we're a one-man shop (me!), so we have to triage our priorities very carefully. [sic] We think our "everyone else" solution of open PDFs gets readers 90% of the way there -- and works on Android, WebOS, Kinkos, what-have-you.
Some of the other genres taking part in the double feature are Fantasy, and of course Sci-Fi. The Science Fiction is going to be provided by Chris Burnham's "D.A.N.G.E.R. Command" (which he describes as being "Like the Red Cross, only with jetpacks"), and also by Josh Emmons & Joe Song's "RadBots," which I hear is a classic 80's giant robot story. (Excellent.)
"Monster Men," (a title that may change) is written by B. Clay Moore and illustrated by Ryan Brown. It really caught my eye when I was previewing the covers for future issues. It's a very cool throwback to early b-movie sci-fi posters. It's a part of the "Horror" Double Feature, along with Sean Dove's "Kid Cthulhu."
Double Feature comics hopes to launch before April 15th. FYI, they are all All-Ages comics.