1985: Will Eisner’s 3-D Classics featuring The Spirit

Will Eisner’s 3-D Classics featuring The Spirit (1985) #1 by Will Eisner

Kitchen Sink sold a lot of gimmicky things over its history, and I guess it started here. They’d later publish tin signs and chocolate bars, and at some points it seemed like the comics part of the business was just a quaint adjunct to the real business… but indie comics publishers always teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, so you can’t really blame them for trying stuff to stay afloat. But sometimes they start off doing business stuff to enable them to publish comics, and then it segues into doing comics stuff to enable them to stay in business.

But it seemed like Kitchen really kind of enjoyed doing these other bits and bobs, so I guess it never actually felt mercenary?

Anyway, this is a Ray Zone 3D-fication book, and you’d think that The Spirit would be well suited to this kind of thing…

And it is! Some of the pages, especially the splash pages, look really good. Lots of layers and depth.

However, it suffers from many of the same problems all comics that are made into 3D without being drawn with that in mind — on many of the pages, the 3D thing just doesn’t work very well, because of the overlapping parallax thing, meaning that many bits are only visible in one channel, which makes them un-3D again (especially if you push the effects, like Zone is doing).

The best 3D page is this ad, and I guess Eisner drew it with 3D in mind? Possibly? Because it looks great.

Steve Monaco writes in The Comics Journal #107, page 37:

This could
be the perfect way to read The Spirit. Eisper’s
work has always had a strong 3-D aspect all
by itself, ånd, for the most part,’ the four
stories here are naturals for extra-dimen-
sional enhancement. Only One story,
“Blood of the Earth,” has little to recom-
mend it, 3-D quality or otherwise; the other
three all look great, and one Story, ‘ •The
Vortex,” espeically stands out (sorry, I
couldn’t resist). The processing by Ray Zone
(and Tony Alderson, who did ‘The Vortex’)
is clean and inventive throughout the book.
This is 3-D—and possibly, The its
most entertaining.

This is the seventy-fifth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

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