ACG’s TRUEVISION: 13 Times 3-D Tried to Take Over Comics

Where the action comes right atcha!


It was a fad whose time had finally come, with movies, magazines and even comic books using the gimmick. 3-D — for three dimensional — had been invented in the 1800s but interest was limited until the early 1950s when it took off with a tremendous roar. However, of the comic book companies who did try it (including Dell, EC, DC, Harvey and St. John), their experiments with stereoscopic vision usually ended with just adequate results. The major problems with the format were that they all required 3-D glasses, which were never comfortable to wear, and the process itself resulted in the comics not being in color. But then, one day in 1953, a comic book artist came up with a solution that resembled 3-D without the difficulty of the glasses.

Artist Harry Lazarus created the “TrueVision” process, which consisted of extending predominant features in the drawing’s foreground beyond the borders of the comic panels, as well as using Zip-A-Tone to mute the backgrounds in order to make the front figures stand out even more. Adding to the effect was taking the white area of the comic book page and making it solid black. In this way, the comics would give the effect similar to 3-D, as well as remain in full color. And there were no glasses needed!

Lazarus pitched the idea to ACG (aka American Comics Group) and they loved it. They converted several of their 1954 titles to “TrueVision” and the results were amazing. Unfortunately, at the time they were doing this, the 3-D fad had already reached the height of its popularity and would soon be petering out in all media (the popularity of 3-D basically lasted from 1952 to 1954). ACG ended up dropping “TrueVision” from their titles by year’s end.

Nonetheless, here is a mixture of 13 captivating images from that period. (Harry Lazarus drew all of the Adventures Into the Unknown covers and the interior page below. Artists for the other covers are uncertain.

Adventures into the Unknown #52 (Feb. 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #52 (Feb. 1954, interior splash page)

Adventures into the Unknown #53 (Mar. 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #54 (Apr. 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #55 (May 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #56 (June 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #57 (July 1954)

Adventures into the Unknown #58 (Aug. 1954)

Lovelorn #50 (June 1954)

Romantic Adventures #46 (June 1954)

Romantic Adventures #48 (Aug. 1954)

Commander Battle and the Atomic Sub #1 (July-Aug. 1954)

Cookie #50 (Aug.-Sept. 1954)


— 13 GREAT ILLUSTRATIONS: The ‘Good Girl’ Art of BOB LUBBERS. Click here.

— 13 GREAT ILLUSTRATIONS: A JACK COLE Birthday Celebration. Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.




Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wow, These look really cool. Never seen them before.

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  2. I had never herad/seen this- so I Was skeptical… but wow- the images do jump… I’d love to see these on paper. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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    • This is really neato! Thanks, Peter! I now want to see if I can replicate this!

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      • Thanks, Walt. I look forward to what you come up with.

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  3. I’ve been a fan of ACG’s TrueVision comics for years. It’s nice to see someone giving them some love. They are difficult to find but are really neat comics. Thanks for the blog post, Peter.

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