Sketchy details



The Fleischer studios, best known for Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons, received the contract to produce Superman animated shorts for Paramount. A total of 17 cartoons ran over the next two years, the first debuting in September 1941.

They comprised some of the finest work turned out by the Fleischer studio and a great deal of preparation went in to their completion.

Pencil tests (sketches used to test fluidity and naturalness of motion), airbrushing, special paints, rotoscoping (tracing over film of real actors), and detailed storyboarding were all used to create the animated shorts. For a real media file sample click here


In a moment of life imitating art, or at least the comics capitalizing on the Superman cartoons, a 1942 "imaginary story" was introduced where Lois and Clark went to the movies only to find Superman on the screen. Lois claimed to have never heard of the comic magazines and Clark believed the movie makers were clairvoyant.


The comics did a good job of reproducing the Fleischer look for the imaginary story. A story in which Clark's main objective was to keep Lois from watching and finding out his secret identity.


"A man's gotta know his limitations"

  Animation hit a transition in the 1950s when big studios were no longer interested in putting animated shorts with their main features. Animation studios, losing that revenue, decided to aim cartoons at the growing television market. Limited animation was born.



Filmation made several Superman cartoons in 1966. Bud Collyer, who had provided the voice for Superman in the Fleischer cartoons as well as the Superman radio show, once again became the voce of the Man of Steel in these limited animation cartoons. For a real media sample click here


Super Friends, a limited animation series that debuted in 1973, was aimed at very young viewers. This show, long on morality and short on violence, existed in various forms and titles until 1985. For a real media sample click here


  Warner Brothers brought Superman back in animated form for their WB kids network in the mid 1990s.

The animation for this series was more articulated than the limited animation of Super Friends or the very similar Ruby-Spears limited animated series for CBS in 1988. Even modeling (shading) and a dynamic sound track were added. For a real media file sample click here To go to the WB TAS page click here



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