5.0 out of 5 stars Short-Lived Effort Soars Onto DVD!, August 4, 2009
By S. R. "supes" (USA) - See all my reviews
Premiering on CBS in 1988 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of
Superman, this Joseph Ruby and Kenneth Spears (Ruby-Spears) produced
cartoon series marked the first time that elements of the Christopher
Reeve Superman movies and the post-Crisis Superman were combined
onscreen. Veteran comic book writer Marv Wolfman acted as the lead story
editor for the series and helped transform Lex Luthor from the mad
scientist featured in the Superfriends cartoons to the billionaire
industrialist found in the 1986 John Byrne penned Man of Steel revamp.
Each episode consisted of a lead 18-minute Superman story, followed by a
4-minute flashback story that was part of the 'Superman's Family Album'
segment, which chronicled Superman's life from his adoption by the Kents
to his first appearance in costume. With character designs by the
legendary artist Gil Kane, this series featured some of the finest
animation that Superman had seen in decades, despite having lasted for
only one season. The tone of the stories were also slightly more mature
than what had been previously seen of Superman on the Saturday morning
landscape, save for the underrated Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians
cartoon series. The title sequence for each episode started off with the
music cue from the John Williams Superman theme and quickly transitioned
into the series' original theme music by Ron Jones, accompanied by the
familiar "faster than a speeding bullet" narration made famous by the
Fleischer Superman cartoons and the George Reeves Adventures of Superman
TV series. Here are the episodes on this set;
1. DESTROY THE DEFENDROIDS- Superman must stop Lex Luthor's super-police
force, the Defendroids.
THE ADOPTION- Baby Kal-El causes trouble at the adoption agency until
the Kents finally decide to adopt him.
2. FUGITIVE FROM SPACE- An alien cop is hunting an escaped fugitive and
Superman is caught in the middle.
THE SUPERMARKET- Little Clark makes a trip to the supermarket into an
adventure for Ma Kent.
3. BY THE SKIN OF THE DRAGON'S TEETH- Superman unwittingly aids Luthor
find a treasure in China.
AT THE BABYSITTER'S- The babysitter has her hands full with young
Clark's super powered mischievous behavior.
4. CYBRON STRIKES- Superman does battle with a seemingly unstoppable
cyborg from the future.
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL- Clark tries to fit in at school while keeping
his powers a secret.
5. THE BIG SCOOP- Lex Luthor learns that Clark is really Superman via a
OVERNIGHT WITH THE SCOUTS- Clark's camping trip turns into a search for
a legendary monster.
6. TRIPLE PLAY- The Prankster forces Superman to play in a rigged game
of baseball for the lives of his friends.
THE CIRCUS- Clark no longer feels like an outsider when he accidentally
joins a traveling circus.
7. THE HUNTER- Superman battles Phantom Zone villains including Zod and
a shapeshifter called the Hunter.
LITTLE RUNAWAY- Clark runs away from home only to realize things were
not that bad at home.
8. SUPERMAN & WONDER WOMAN VS. THE SORCERESS OF TIME- Our heroes must
stop a threat to Paradise Island.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY- Young Clark's birthday party is filled with
surprises for Ma and Pa Kent.
9. BONECHILL- Superman battles a sorcerer with a magic talisman that can
THE DRIVER'S LICENSE- Clark is nervous about passing his driving test
with an instructor.
10. THE BEAST BENEATH THESE STREETS- Lois is kidnapped by a scientist
FIRST DATE- Teenage Clark's first date with Lana Lang leads to several
11. WILDSHARK- Superman confronts an overzealous villain deep in the
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY- Clark discovers that he cannot use his powers to
12. NIGHT OF THE LIVING SHADOWS- Luthor develops a suit that can turn
the wearer into a shadow.
GRADUATION- A series of catastrophes threatens to keep Clark from going
to his highschool graduation.
13. THE LAST TIME I SAW EARTH- An alien seizes a space shuttle with Lois
and Jimmy onboard.
IT'S SUPERMAN- Clark arrives in Metropolis and makes his first
appearance as Superman.
The sole bonus feature for this set is the 'Corruption of the Corrupt:
The Rise of Lexcorp' featurette, which examines Luthor's transition into
the head of a greedy, corporate conglomerate. While the inclusion of
series-specific extras would have been a welcome addition, most fans are
probably just grateful to finally have this long overlooked series on
DVD. With many of Superman's screen adaptions now available to own
commercially, one can only hope that it is simply a matter of time
before WB revisits the remaining Superboy seasons, as well. As for the
exceptionally well-crafted Ruby-Spears series, it served as the perfect
bridge between the kid-friendly cartoons of the 80s and the animated
series phenomena of the 90s. Now, over two decades later, fans can once
again enjoy these lesser-seen adventures in Superman's never ending
Superman was a 1988 animated Saturday morning
television series produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and Warner Bros.
Television that aired on CBS featuring the DC Comics superhero of the
same name (coinciding with the character's 50th anniversary, along with
the live-action Superboy TV series that year). Veteran comic book writer
Marv Wolfman was the head story editor, and noted comic book artist Gil
Kane provided character designs.
This series is the second animated Superman series proper (the first was
the Filmation-produced The New Adventures of Superman). It's also
notable for being the first appearance of the Superman mythos following
John Byrne's major relaunch of the character (the series reflected the
new conception with a measured fidelity, such as having his major
recurring enemy, Lex Luthor as a corrupt billionaire industrialist as in
the comics). Unlike the comics, Luthor is fully aware that the large
ring he wears is fastened with a kryptonite stone. Other characters
include Cybron (a pastiche of Brainiac whose Post-Crisis conception was
still undecided at the time) and an appearance of Wonder Woman, which
was her first non-print appearance since George Pérez's reworking of the
character for the post-Crisis era. Wonder Woman was portrayed by voice
actress B.J. Ward, who had previously provided her voice as Wonder Woman
in the final season of the Super Friends, which was called The Super
Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Classic characters included Jimmy
Olsen, who bow-tied appearance, and Perry White's gruff explanations of
"Great Ceasar's Ghost!" still were much akin to their original concepts,
but Lois Lane had been re-imaged largely as a "woman of the 80s", both
in style and business attitude. A new character to the series was
Jessica Morganberry, who appeared to be a ditzy blonde live-in
girlfriend of Lex Luthor who spoke with a French accent, and whom he
fully confided his schemes in her, but she often failed to understand
his purpose in concocting these schemes, mainly because he already was a
billionaire and had sufficient money and influence.
The "Superman Family Album"
The final four minutes of each Superman episode were devoted to a brief
snapshot from the "Superman Family Album." These biographical segments
deviated from the contemporary comics to have Clark have his powers
fully developed since infancy as opposed to developing as he matured,
which causes problems as in the earlier episodes he uses his powers
whenever it suits him, and in the later episodes as he gets older he
lessens the use of his Kryptonian superpowers, preferring to use his
mind to solve problems first. These stories depicted the Smallville
misadventures of the young Kryptonian immigrant as he faces typical
childhood trials with his first day at school, an overnight scouting
campout, getting a driver's license, his first date, graduation from
high school, and ultimately his premiere as Superman.
The series is also of note due to its use of
re-orchestrated versions of John Williams' classic themes from 1978's
Superman: The Movie, as well as an opening sequence that delivered the
same narration as the 1950s Adventures of Superman television series.
* Beau Weaver ... Clark Kent/Superman
* Ginny McSwain ... Lois Lane
* Michael Bell ... Lex Luthor
* Stanley Ralph Ross ... Perry White
* Lynne Marie Stewart ... Jessica Morganberry
* Mark L. Taylor ... James 'Jimmy' Olsen
* Alan Oppenheimer ... Pa Kent
* Tress MacNeille ... Ma Kent
Intro - This is from youtube apparently someone taped the show to a VHS