Comics : Marvel Super Heroes: 3D Sticker Fun (Parragon)

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This review was first published on: Jan 2013.


Thanks to the success of 3D movies, there's a minor corresponding resurgence of interest in 3D books such as these. Of course, the technology isn't the same. While the movies and TV use cross-polarization or frame-switching to achieve a full 3D image, the red/blue filters in 3D books and comics is a far less effective approach. Still, in some cases it can be made to work.

In Detail...

Marvel Super Heroes: 3D Sticker Fun (Parragon)
Jun 2012 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9781445461076
Summary: Includes 3D Glasses, Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Parragon Book Service, Ltd. (UK)
Staff Only
Marvel Super Heroes: 3D Sticker Scene (Scholastic)
Jul 2012 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9781742834030
Summary: Includes 3D Glasses, Spider-Man Appears
Publisher:  Scholastic Australia, Inc.
Staff Only

This book is 8.5" x 10.5", squared bound with a glossy cardboard cover.

The number of pages in the book is a bit more difficult to determine, since every page is effectively a "gatefold" extended double-page. The blurb on the cover claims "6 super SCENES and PROFILES!" which is correct. But the front and back covers are also fold-out gatefolds, so by my maths there's actually 28 pages in total.

Each of the six inner gatefolds include a double-width detailed action scene, with the reverse side featuring a single-page character pinup image, plus a single-page character "fact file". The featured heroes are Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, Hulk and Spider-Man.

In Spidey's profile, we learn that "Spider-Man is 15 times more agile than a regular human." I presume that would be on the Trent-Carson "Agility" scale, where an average human scores 4.5 on the "Agilitometer", Spider-Man registers 72 on a good day. Or something like that.

Then in Captain America's gatefold we see the wonderful slogan "Protecting America's Ideals of Justice, Equality, and Freedom!" I was prompted to ask myself what this curious phrase means... "America's Ideals". Does that mean that America owns those ideals, and other countries can't use them (unless they pay the appropriate licence fee). Or perhaps it means that America has unique interpretations of the ideals of "Justice", "Equality" and "Freedom" which differ from those of other nations? It's a fascinating avenue for investigation.

But enough with the philosophising. There's more goodies to investigate! As well as the fact that every image is 3D enhanced, there's also four sheets of stickers, many of which are shaped to match specific areas on the scenes. To view the entire scene, you need to find the matching sticker and place it on the indicated spot.

In General...

Unfortunately, the 3D quality of the images are pretty cruddy.

I'm a pretty big fan of 3D. I love 3D movies, and I'm generally a sucker for 3D books. But these ones are terrible. On some of the images, I was unable to perceive any depth at all. On others, the reflective, mismatched segments of the image caused my left and right eyes to go out of sync and it took a couple of minutes before I could see properly again.

On the one or two images that I did manage to comfortably view a noticeable depth separation, I was sadly disappointed. The separation was simply two layers, "foreground vs. background". The distance between foreground and background was disappointingly shallow, and the red/blue lenses muddied up the colours leaving everything looking murky and unappealing.

The actual images themselves are bold and visually appealing. They have a "painted" look to them, which is probably a photoshop filter, but it does make the images look more sophisticated. Unfortunately, the borders and margins of the pages are filled-in with random patterns of bright primary colors. The result is a real dog's breakfast of colour, diminishing the impact of the actual pictures, and overwhelming the eye.

By contrast the book construction is very good. The plastic container for the glasses is snap-in/out, so you can simply store the glasses back where they came from when you have finished - no worries about them getting lost or damaged. Also, I was pleased to note that the front cover has a pre-creased spine meaning that you can open the book widely to view the scenes without damaging the cover.

Overall Rating...

Art: Good.

Layout & Design: Poor.

Writing: Average.

Construction: Very Good. So... many... gatefolds!

Stickers: Fine.

3D Effect: Terrible.

Let's see now. Add six, carry the one... and... that makes a grand total of two webs.


Note: This book was released by Parragon as "Marvel Super Heroes: 3D Sticker Fun" in the UK, and by Scholastic Australia as "Marvel Super Heroes: 3D Sticker Scene" in Australia/NZ. The contents are exactly identical.