The Joyners In 3D represents something unique to comics. The graphic novel is certainly not the first comic to use anaglyph — red-blue — 3D, but not only is it one of the few to do so as more than a gimmick, the creative team developed an entirely new process for implementing 3D artwork. Traditional anaglyph 3D conversion allows for six layers of depth, while the technique used in The Joyners In 3D results in up to one hundred layers, making the application much smoother and more subtle than anything seen before.
Set in a somewhat retrofuturistic world of floating skyscrapers and flying cars, The Joyners In 3D takes full advantage of this technique, not by inundating the reader with spectacular money shots, but through adding real depth of field to every panel.
A not so subtle take on familiar cartoon The Jetsons — the first chapter is titled ‘Meet George Joyner’ — The Joyners In 3D is ultimately a story about family, and how, regardless of technological advancement, we’re still slaves to human nature. It’s not a happy story. Though the protagonist is very successful in his professional life, George Joyner’s personal life is on the verge of collapse; the reader is given a window into his peak and the hubris that threatens to bring him low. Writer R.J. Ryan presents a very interesting story about values and consequences.
The line art is simple though not simplistic. David Marquez adopted a style far more cartoony than that seen in his mainstream work, which provides an interesting contrast to the darker tone of the story. Everything is clean lines and rounded edges, looking like a natural extension of today’s technology and appliances. The book would be a joy to look at even without the 3D providing depth and volume to the panels.
Designer and letterer Jon Adams takes full advantage of 3D, applying the treatment to even the word balloons and text. When a character whispers or mumbles, it’s muted into the background; when they’re yelling, their words seem to leap off the page.
The masterful application of 3D is worthy of praise in and of itself, but it’s complemented by skilful writing. The Joyners In 3D is a beautiful book that tells a sad story. It draws you in, and despite its length, doesn’t drag. You want to know what happens to these characters, and how the events of the book will have changed them by the time it’s ended.
Rating: 9 of 10