Disney Animator Creates Vintage 'Superman' Short
I may have been rather uncharitable recently when I said that I don't need to use Google News a lot; I've been turning to it more and more lately and what I do find through it is often very blogworthy, hence its inclusion here. This is one such case and deserves wider mention.
We all know that Disney usually delivers the goods when it comes to animated films and it is no wonder when chaps like this are wielding the pencils. That this fellow has a penchant for vintage cartoons and serials is an added bonus and I think bodes well for future productions from the studio. This may be a small, private creation but the potential is there for a new Superman cartoon series in the classic style; it would be particularly well-timed right now following the announcement of a new Superman film complete with a British actor! Mr Pratt mentions drawing inspiration from the 1950s Superman serial starring George Reeve, particularly by setting his short to the music from it which is a great starting point and an inspired touch. The plot - what little there is in such a short excerpt - may seem familiar to some of you - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow anyone? But the flying robots idea actually has its roots in the Superman stories for it was the second episode of the 1941 Paramount/Max Fleischer Superman cartoons, "The Mechanical Monsters", that featured them and it was this that inspired much of Sky Captain. So it could be said to have come full circle by appearing in this chap's work. I'm sure the 40s cartoons were an influence on him too. (I picked up a copy of Volume 1, 9 episodes, of the Fleischer Superman series on VHS from Past Times some years ago - I think they were trying to offload the old format - for some ridiculous amount like 99p. Both Volumes 1 & 2 are now readily available on DVD. I may just have to upgrade when I get the chance!).
That influence can still be felt today. If anyone else remembers the excellent Batman: The Animated Series from the early 1990s (which I also have on DVD, I must add!), you might note the similarities in the animation of those cartoons and the Fleischer Superman series; it has been stated the animators were definitely going for the same look and I'd have to say that they succeeded. The Batman series even introduced a great new design to the backgrounds and surroundings, a mixture of Art Deco, Gothic and noir that was quickly dubbed "Dark Deco". That series was very well-received and I do believe that if DC Comics and Disney were to collaborate on this Mr Pratt's Superman cartoons could be just as successful as well. It'd be great to have something like this on Saturday morning TV in the near future - we can but hope!