This is part two of our interview with Josh Emmons from Four star Studios. Please check out their Double Feature app in the respective app store of the many smart device be it iPads, iPhones, Droid or you even can download to a Lap top or PC. You can check out the first part of the interview by clicking here on PART ONE.
Shaun Daniels: The added features are great, where did that idea them come from for that?
Josh Emmons: The ideas for commentary and production art were shamelessly stolen from DVDs. I don’t tend to rewatch stuff much. In fact, I kind of hate it. But I was finding myself rewatching some movies two or three times because of extra features like director commentary and deleted scenes. These features transformed the movie into something new I could enjoy all over again — for the price of a single DVD.
We’d been talking at the studio a lot about the skyrocketing prices of comics and how that was keeping away potential (particularly young) readers. The idea of cutting price by trimming stories but making up for the loss with extra features like this immediately appealed to everyone.
SD: Are the extras available on all platforms if not why?
JE: The “printed” extras (any extra pages beyond the original 8 of the story) are available everywhere. These are normally character sketches and the like, and there’s normally 1-3 pages of these per story (so 2-6 per issue).
The commentary and production art is only available on the iPad version. Why? It’s mostly a limit of the format. There’s not a good way to present these extras in a PDF that’s not confusing, ugly, or both. We could write an app specifically for viewing these extras, but then we’re right back where we started, building a reader for every platform in the world.
SD: You have other non-Four Star Studio artist and writer involved in the project how did they get involved in the project?
JE: Most, especially in these first few issues, are friends of ours that we know through our work in the industry. But I’m happy to say we’ve recently added on a few more who were impressed with what we’re trying to do and wanted to be a part of it.
It’s important to note that stories published in Double Feature are 100% creator owned, and we don’t enforce and sort of exclusive publishing deal or anything like that. If Clay wanted to go tomorrow and print a book out of Monsterology, he’d be completely free to do that. We’re creators ourselves, and don’t want to screw anyone, even unintentionally, by incompetently managing their properties. We have our hands full enough managing our own!
SD: Are you going to be releasing other titles besides Double Feature from Four Star Studios?
JE: It’s always a possibility. My web comic, City of Sand (http://city.ofsand.com), is essentially a Four Star production in all but name. And we come up with a lot of great stories jointly that we want to do more with. Publishing them through Four Star seems like a natural fit.
SD: Could you this project or any other project like it through a major comic book company?
JE: If they were interested, sure! We put this together in our spare time. Imagine what we could do if it were our full-time job!
SD: Are there any plans to do a subscription based plan where a reader can purchase a subscription and have their device automatically download without having to manually download?
JE: That’s absolutely a possibility. I’m just not convinced yet that’s a good feature for our readers. I mean, it’s awesome for us! We get your money in advance! We can do all sorts of cool things with money!
But for our readers, paying a subscription means they’ve bought everything, including issues or whole genres they might have no interest in. Remember, our stories are all self-contained, so you can pick and choose among them as you like without missing anything.
All this for the marginal convenience of not having to click a button once a month… I’m not sure it’s worth it. But we’re looking into it very closely.
SD: How do you get readers to your site or to download Double Feature?
JE: By doing interviews like this!
Seriously, this is something that we have to do a much better job of. We don’t have a good answer, and we really should. The truth is, we’re creative, designing, illustrating, writing, programming geniuses. But there’s not a promotional bone in the lot of us. So we’re setting up at cons and doing podcasts and blogs whenever some nice person agrees to let us share their soapbox.
Ultimately, though, we are relying heavily on word of mouth. So if you like Double Feature, please, please, please tell a friend!
And if you have Andy Ihnatko’s address, drop us a line!
SD: Are there plans to release collected versions of double feature’s individual stories?
JE: No plans at this point. Collections are really an artifact of the paper age. When you’re digital, your stories never go out of print and carrying around five individual issues is just as easy as carrying around one big one.
But like I said earlier, Double Feature stories are creator-owned. Creators are 100% free to do whatever they want with them. It’s always possible that could include doing a collection of some sort.
SD: Free Comic book Day has come and gone any future plans to incorporate Double Feature into FCB considering Graphic.ly had adopted the initiative?
JE: We’re big supporters of FCB and will be celebrating it here in Chicago whether we do anything specifically with Double Feature or not. My personal thinking there is, if someone isn’t willing to try us out for 99¢, what are the chances they’d be willing to try us out for free? But that might just mean we have to get more creative and think outside the box for potential FCB promotions.
SD: Anything you can tease for upcoming Double Feature issues?
JE: So much stuff! Our July issue is Fantasy Double Feature, and it contains one of my favorites from our initial batch of launch stories, “The Cursed Blade”. The art wonderful and the entire thing has great period feel to it.
After that, we’re back to Action in August, and there’s a really exciting spy story happening there called “The Liar”. And I’m here to tell you, it leaves no panel left unexploded! Our first action issue focused primarily on superheroes. “The Liar” proves dudes in tights have no monopoly on adrenalin.
We’ve also completed a new version of the Double Feature app that should go live any day now. It addresses a few requests from our readers like faster page flipping and the ability to be notified when a new issue is released. It also adds a fun new feature that lets you save select scenes from the comic to be used as wallpaper on your iPad. Nothing like Kid Cthulhu on your home screen!
People can get the update from the App Store just like they do for their other apps. They won’t have to re-download comics they’ve already purchased or anything, it’s a very smooth update. I hope everyone checks it out!
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