As we roll on into the 2010s, the entertainment industry is enjoying what is basically the third 3-D craze. Though 3-D has surprisingly been around since the early 1900s (!!!), the first “craze” took place in the 1950s and the second in the 1980s. Will it actually stick around this time? Has technology finally caught up to the concept? That remains to be seen as there is already backlash and debate over which new releases are “worthy” of being converted to 3-D. Personally, I’m not a fan of it as it exists right now. It distracts from the movie more than it enhances it. The technology just isn’t there yet, it’s too straining on the eyes.
3-D was a hugely popular form of entertainment back in the 1950s as tons of movie theaters and drive-ins were pumping out various sci-fi and monster movies to cash in like House of Wax and Creature From The Black Lagoon. The mainstream popularity of 3-D did not last long but 3-D never went away, it just became obscure and harder to find. Then, nearly thirty years later 3-D movies experienced a revival in popularity with films like Friday the 13th Part III and Jaws 3-D. Again, the casual movie goer lost interest quickly (to be fair, the movies given the 3-D treatment have never been of high quality) and it would be another 20 years or so until it this type of film-making started to pick up steam again. Good luck going to see anything animated these days that doesn’t have 3-D slapped on it (that is, if your local theater offers 3-D).
3-D wasn’t just restricted to movies though. Television, home video, toys, theme park rides, magazines and comic books have all taken part in giving the public three dimensions of entertainment. I remember back in 1990 having a Simpsons 3-D comic magazine that I absolutely LOVED and it was basically THE comic book of that summer for me. It was full of all kind of 3-D comic strips, ad parodies and activities that I used to eat up as a kid.
Okay, getting to the actual point of this article (and the inspiration for all the above rambling), here is the cover to the 3-D Batman comic book that was released in 1953. Released smack-dab in the middle of the ’50s 3-D craze! I love the 3-D glasses. I bet this book costs a pretty penny these days (certainly much more than the original asking price of 25). I would love to read it in 3-D.
The cover below is to the reprint that was released in 1966. I don’t believe there was any sort of 3-D revival going on. More than likely, DC just wanted to put out a special Batman book to cash in on the popularity of the Adam West show.
I have to believe the original 1953 publication is probably one of the earliest 3-D comic books ever published. Much like 3-D movies, 3-D comic books never really went away. Even to this day, every now and then you’ll see some type of book get the 3-D treatment. In the last few years Superman had an entire limited series done in 3-D (granted, it was only a two-issue series) and even back in the ’80s Rambo got the 3-D treatment thanks to a small-time comic book publisher!
Hm… Hey DC, would ya like to re-release this book again? No time like the present!