According to the New York Times, the "service runs deep with more obscure and retro offerings," noting that the Fleischers' Superman shorts were "notable for their use of rotoscoping, an animation technique that allows animators to trace over live-action footage in order to produce more realistic action. The design also served as a big influence on later DC animation, including “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Superman: The Animated Series.”
The original Fleischer Superman films feature prominently in a recent New York Times review of DC Universe, DC Entertainment's new streaming service.
On this day in 1941, Fleischer Studios released what would be the first of nine Superman cartoons (another eight were made by the Studio's successor, Famous Studios). Considered by many to be some of the finest animated short films from the Golden Age of Animation, the first film in this series, "Superman" (a.k.a "The Mad Scientist") took the 33rd spot in Jerry Beck's 1994 book "The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals."
In celebration of this very special day we're sharing a few fascinating facts about these captivating and lavishly animated cartoons, and the impact they - and the Fleischers themselves - had on the American myth that is Superman.
Like Popeye before him, Superman was one of the few characters that the Fleischers did not create, but rather brought to animated life from comics. And just like Popeye before him (to whom the Fleischers gave a predilection for - and super strength from - spinach), Superman found some of most of his identifiable traits at the hands of Fleischer animators.