By: Bob Marshall
Not since the year 2000 has Superman had his own solo animated show. Sure, there’s been Justice League/Justice league Unlimited, Legion of Superheroes and a few guest spots on Batman Beyond, Batman: Brave & the Bold, Young Justice and the DC direct to video animated films, but he hasn’t had his own solo show. Whereas Batman has had Batman the Animated Series, the New Batman Adventures (a continuation of BTAS), The Batman, Batman: Brave & the Bold, and Beware the Batman (coming soon). As a Superman fan it’s frustrating sure Batman is currently DC’s biggest star but Superman is the greatest of all superheroes. I don’t want to sound bitter but it seems Batman has had the breaks that Superman hasn’t. Look at the film series, it took WB so long to reboot Superman that in the end they got it all wrong. Hopefully this will be rectified with the upcoming Man of Steel, which brings me back to my point. With a new film on the horizon now is surely the time to give us a fresh Superman cartoon. Now I’m pretty sure WB will do a series to tie-in, they did the same when Superman Returns came out and sanctioned a Legion of Superheroes (which was unfortunately cancelled as it was hitting its stride). So here are a few ideas as to how they could give us a new Superman cartoon series:
CGI OR NOT?
One of the questions I have with a new Superman show would be whether it was hand drawn animation or CGI. Well I would have always said hand drawn every time but then I saw the debut episode of Green Lantern the animated series and I started to come round to the idea of CGI. I was always against CG. as I felt it looked tacky I’d seen certain shows done CGI and they just looked awful but Green Lantern TAS looks superb. However, a lot of Green Lantern’s animation is set in space and I think this certainly helps the CGI, the brief scenes on earth didn’t look nearly as good as when the show was in space but I digress. If the show is good enough you will be sucked into its world whether its CGI or not.
In my opinion nothing will ever top Superman the Animated Series, for me this is the definitive version of Superman. From the excellent origin all the way through to defeat of Darkseid in Legacy, I truly believe there isn’t a bad episode (sure some are just OK but mostly they’re superb). Looking at that series I’d stay away from doing a show similar to that as I feel it can’t be topped. I believe The Batman made this mistake when it tried to be too much like Batman the Animated Series at times.
So other than a straight played Superman show I do have a few ideas for a Superman animated series that I think could work; some I have read on websites from others, some I have thought of myself and some I have gotten from comic book stories. So here they are:
Superman: Crisis on Multiple Earths
After reading Superman Time and Time Again, I had an idea. In the book, Superman is somehow sent hurtling through different time periods where he meets several versions of the Legion, JSA etc. I always thought how good would it be to have a Superman that travels through different dimensions and meets other versions of himself etc. You could have a world where it’s like Superman the Movie, Superboy the TV show, Smallville etc. Plus imagine getting guest stars like Gerard Christopher to reprise roles they haven’t played for years. When I watched Batman: Brave & the Bold, I loved the episode where he met the Batman of Planet X!, voiced by none other than Kevin Conroy. It was a superb way for him to reprise his role without being the main character. On a negative side it could get a little tedious if he keeps meeting other Supermen so you’d have to throw in other characters as well like alternate versions of Batman, Green Lantern etc.
Superman Family Show
Not as corny as I’ve made it sound by that heading, but what about a show that has Superman teaming up with Supergirl, Superboy (probably wouldn’t be allowed as he’s on Young Justice), Krypto, and maybe even characters like Steel and Gangbuster. It’d be interesting to see the Superman family take on Superman’s rogues as a team and would be something that I don’t think has been done before in animation.
DC Comics Presents
This I envision as team up show, call it Superman’s Brave & the Bold where he teams up with a new DC hero every week. Of course it doesn’t have to be a silver age show played for laughs like Batman: Brave & the Bold but just the idea of Superman teaming up with a new hero every week is exciting and would be good for DC to showcase some of their secondary characters. How about a spinoff of the Superman from Brave & the Bold. It’d certainly be fun and I’d be all for it but it might seem too stale after 3 seasons of Batman Brave & the Bold.
Superman Earth One
A show based on J Michael Straczynski’s graphic novel. I think it could work as a serious fresh adaptation of the Superman mythos. Only downside I suppose is there isn’t a lot of material to go on with only the first Graphic Novel out and the second on the way.
Superman in Action
How about a Superman show that is inspired by the New 52. I would love to see the current run on Action Comics adapted into animation and by the time they do a new series there’ll be plenty of New 52 stories todraw from.
In conclusion, I do think we will get a new Superman animated series whether it’s CGI or animation, whether its super serious, super silly or somewhere in the middle. Who knows? I think us Superman fan’s deserve a new animated show, it’s been far too long since Superman had one of his own. And I’d like to see the Man of Steel on his own series instead of being a supporting character or a guest star. So Superman fans those are my ideas, what are some of yours?