“The bottom line is print is expensive, ” says Mike Norton of the Chicago-based comics company Four Star Studios. The pressure of funding a printed comic book “can really affect the type of story you decide to tell, ” adds co-founder Josh Emmons, “you’re going to tell a different, safer, more broad story” that will appeal to the masses. Through digital distribution, however, Four Star Studios has the financial ability to offer new comics to the public monthly for just ninety-nine cents.
Their iPad App, DoubleFeature, offers a new issue with two stories from a single genre each month. “We’ve started with two action stories,” says Emmons. “Next month will be horror, then sci-fi, then fantasy… eventually looping back around to action stories again.” Four Star Studios is also able to offer in-depth special features with DoubleFeature. The Four Star crew, made up of Norton, Emmons, Tim Seeley and Sean Dove, “really thought about what the iPad can offer and what are the things comic readers and art enthusiasts would like to see,” says Dove. “A lot of people don’t really understand all the stages that go in to making a comic and the DoubleFeature app really shows you layer by layer all the things that went in to drawing and creating the comic, from pencils, inks to final colored artwork.” (Tiana Olewnick)