With Comic-Con right around the corner, many new graphic novels will be vying for eyes.
And one book we're especially anticipating is The Joyners in 3D, a retrofuturism-tinged science fiction book from author R.J. Ryan and Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man illustrator David Marquez, who previously collaborated on the 2010 graphic novel Syndrome. Here's our conversation with the creators, and an exclusive first look at Joyners' artwork.
What's Joyners in 3D about in a nutshell?
R.J. Ryan: The book was conceived right from the beginning as a 3D comic. Without giving too much away, it's a story about a family in the future going through some unfortunate circumstances. We're trying to deliver a tough-minded and serious family drama using 3D comics as a tool.
David, what sort of futuristic flairs are you giving your artwork?
David Marquez: One of the touchstones going forward was this very clean, Jetsons, idyllic 1960s aesthetic. I've been trying to push my art on this book away from my more mainstream superhero work.
First, to keep it in line with this optimistic, futurist design. And second, because it works better with the 3D. We put a lot of work into researching 3D comics, work by guys like Jack Kirby and Joe Kubert. The simpler you can make the line work, the cleaner the 3D.
How do you convert your art into 3D?
DM: Some of the original techniques developed by Joe Kubert involved drawing on glass, cellophane, or another transparent material and shifting layers to give it a stereoscopic perspective.
But because I work digitally, it's very simple. I already work in layers in a digital format, so when I am converting to 3D, it's easy to manipulate them. It did take a long time figuring out how to make the 3D look good.
RJR: One thing to add is that recent 3D comics like Superman Beyond are in color. Our book is a color printing process, but you get a crisp 3D image like those from the 1950s. Joe Kubert was the James Cameron of 3D comics. Nobody thought 3D would work. And when he did it, everybody did it. We're having this national entertainment conversation about 3D films. Every has an opinion about it, but the people I want to appeal to are the skeptics who don't think they can enjoy 3D. The Joyners in 3D is targeted to people who hate 3D. I was a skeptic going into the process, but we're very happy with how the book turned out.
Did you find yourself going back to these 1950s comic for inspiration?
RJR: We looked at a ton of stuff from that era. There were 3D romance comics! Almost every genre of comics — Westerns, barbarian comics, jungle comics — went 3D in the 1950s. We accessed some of the materials, and David and I would pass them back and forth nonstop.
DM: We've been researching and developing this story over two years. The production of the book has been a very long-term project.
What else is in the pipeline?
RJR: I have another graphic novel at Archaia that is pretty far from being announced. I'm focusing on doing these long-form works instead of periodical comics, whereas Dave has had huge success doing awesome work for Marvel on Fantastic Four: Season One and Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.
DM: I'm currently rotating art with Sara Pichelli when she returns from Spider-Men. I'm currently wrapping up issue #14 of Spider-Man. The issues I'm currently working on have some huge character development moments for Miles Morales as he crosses over with The Ultimates and the Ultimate X-Men.
The Joyners in 3D hits stores 2013 from Archaia Entertainment. Here's a quick synopsis:
The family of the future is falling to pieces. In mid-21st century Northern California, prosperous technology executive George Joyner stands on the brink of revolutionizing life in America (again) with his latest high-flying invention. But just as business booms, George's private life begins to implode, with devastating consequences, for his wife Sonya, their children Rochester and Michelle, and Sonya's ailing father, David.