For the first time ever, all of the original Max Fleischer animated Superman shorts are coming to Blu-ray with a brand new remaster.
A bit of cartoon and comic history will soon be available to fans in a brand new way. This morning, Warner Bros. announced they’ve painstakingly remastered all 17 original Max Fleischer Superman cartoons and are putting them on Blu-ray on May 16th. If you never had the chance to see these, or only seen the DVD versions out there, this is pretty damn neat:
Superman made his comic book debut in 1938, appearing in Action Comics #1 (dated June 1938, but officially published on April 18, 1938), and the Man of Steel’s popularity grew with his subsequent radio program. Max Fleischer gave the world’s first Super Hero his initial animated spotlight, producing 17 theatrical animated shorts from September 1941 to July 1943 that further elevated the character’s profile, and added many significant aspects to his canon – including coining many of Superman’s patented catchphrases and attributes.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s advanced remastering process began with a 4K, 16-bit scan of Fleischer’s original 35mm successive exposure negative. Staying true to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37-to-1, the highest quality raw image was then scanned and then entered into the recombine process – utilizing special proprietary software to merge the successive exposure Technicolor negatives into a single RGB color image. The end result are pristine animated shorts that have been restored to the animators’ originally intended production quality.
EPISODES (AND PREMIERE DATE):
Superman (Mad Scientist) – 9/26/1941
The Mechanical Monsters – 11/28/1941
Billion Dollar Limited – 1/9/1942
Arctic Giant – 2/27/1942
The Bulleteers – 3/27/1942
The Magnetic Telescope – 4/24/1942
Electric Earthquake – 5/15/1942
Volcano – 7/10/1942
Terror on the Midway – 8/28/1942
The Japoteurs – 9/18/1942
Showdown – 10/16/1942
The Eleventh Hour – 11/20/1942
Destruction, Inc. – 12/25/1942
The Mummy Strikes – 2/19/1943
Jungle Drums – 3/26/1943
Underground World – 6/18/1943
Secret Agent – 7/30/1943
SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
New Featurette – Superman: Speeding Toward Tomorrow – Superman’s exploits in the Fleischer series modernized the monomyth of the Greek godlike hero and expanded and romanticized the prevalent themes of sci-fi and fantasy. It was this combination of heartfelt storytelling, relatable heroes and amazing visuals that has endeared the Fleischer series to fans as one of the greatest superhero stories of all time. This featurette explores the visual storytelling as the lavish animation, with special attention paid to all the atomic age technology, pushes science fiction closer to becoming a powerful social and pop culture force.
Featurette – First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series – The Origins and Influence of This Groundbreaking Cartoon Series – A gathering of contemporary animators, comic book & animation historians, and legendary Fleischer artists examine these beloved shorts, focusing on the animation and the breakthrough techniques that created it, as well as studying the title character’s place in history.
Featurette – The Man, the Myth, Superman: Exploring the Tradition of Superman Heroes on the Page and Screen – A fascinating study of Superman-esque characters throughout history – in ancient myth, literature and film – that bring forth imaginative, super-human qualities, captivating audiences and enduring the test of time.
Max Fleischer’s Superman will be available digitally and on Blu-ray May 16, 2023.