Image: Fantagraphics

Computers changed the way comic-book art is created, opening up new possibilities for character posing, environmental design, digital linework and coloring, and 3-D rendering. Cartoonist Julian Glander takes advantage of all of these possibilities in his comics, using digital technology to create visuals that have the tactile texture of stop motion animation without needing to go through all the work of creating physical models. Readers can discover the breadth of Glander’s talent in 3D Sweeties, a collection hitting stores March 20 from Fantagraphics. The publisher’s typically excellent production design is on full display with this release, which features a squishy cover that makes the book feel like a tangible extension of the digital artwork.

This exclusive preview of 3D Sweeties features a variety of comics that spotlight different facets of Glander’s artistic perspective. “Grillmaster” is an absurd short about competitive impulses, while “The Long Stick” places more emphasis on creating a three-dimensional space and adding a sense of motion to the visuals. Glander’s fixation on gaming comes through in the two comics starring Susan Something; the first serves as a throwback to the days of Neopets, when Susan checks in on her “Megapets” account for the first time in years and discovers her old digital companion has grown up and learned to live without her. In the second, Glander delves into the personal impact of fine art while gamifying conversations with multiple options, showing all of Susan’s potential reactions to the museum’s wares. 3D Sweeties is equal parts silly and surreal, and Glander constantly experiments with his art tools to push his storytelling in new directions.

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