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Post by GeorgeC » April 27th, 2009, 6:46 pm

And now for a big blathering post about the evolution of Superman's costume...



The Superman costume as we know it today really wasn't set in stone until 1945.

If you look at both the stories and comic book covers it's in a state of flux for close to eight years. This is the period circa 1938-1945.

In some of the early stories, Superman didn't wear boots and the blue leotards extended to his feet. A bit later, he wore Roman-style red boots (which Wonder Woman also wore for a time in the late 1950s/early 1960s). The traditional red boots were probably established sometime in his first year of comic book publication.

The red cape didn't have an "S" symbol on it for many years. Even as late as the Kirk Alyn serials, it wasn't established that cape's S-symbol was yellow with a totally yellow background. I've seen photos where it's clearly meant to be red (of course, the "red" in Alyn's outfit might be a shade of grey to read better in black and white -- this might also have been true with the costume(s) worn by George Reeves although I seem to recall a color outfit with a red shield on the cape, too). Later, the Alan Burnett/Paul Dini/Bruce Timm Superman: TAS of the mid-1990s did away with the S-symbol on the cape to simplify the animation. As it is, the foreign animation studios weren't able to consistently draw the chest emblem well at all and it changed scene to scene throughout episodes of the series!

The biggest thing to change in Superman's outfit during those early years, however, was the S-symbol on his chest. At first a nondescript "S", it became more typographical and then evolved into the stylized S-symbol we know today by 1945. One of the earlier designs of the "S" insignia has been used in comics to distinguish between alternate versions of Superman in comics continuity. The current "modern" Superman uses the post-1945 "traditional" outfit. The Golden Age/Earth-2 Superman has a mostly similarly designed uniform but with visible collaring on his wrists and a differently shaped-"S". From time to time, the shape of the shield on his chest has also been drawn differently.

It's not altogether clear to me whether the "Fleischer outfit" was used in any of the comics or newspaper strips but according to one WB studio source there might have be an attempt by the Fleischer Studios' licensing company to sue WB for the rights to the "Fleischer Superman" design. If I were a judge, I would have laughed that out of court, sympathy or no sympathy, because those cartoons were clearly produced under license from DC Comics' predecessor company (National). At any rate, the issue's muddled a bit because DC has clearly allowed the Fleischer Studios imprint to appear on all the licensed "Fleischer" Superman produced for WB Studios Stores as well as the "Fleischer Superman" maquettes (Superman and Lois Lane) marketed through DC Direct.

Getting off the Fleischer tangent, since 1945 the only major changes in Superman's outfit has been the size/prominence of the S-symbol on his chest. Depending on how the artist draws Superman -- classic bodybuilder a la Curt Swan, or the "Arnold"-version of Superman post-1986 --, the S-symbol seems to grow or shrink on Superman's chest. With the brief interrruption of the awful electro-Superman storyline and Alex Ross' costume tribute to the Fleischer era with a modified symbol in "Kingdom Come," Superman's costume has basically remained the same since 1945.

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Post by Ben » April 30th, 2009, 2:40 pm

Full Fleischer/Famous Studios <I>Superman</I> review:

http://animated-views.com/2009/max-flei ... -1942-dvd/

Love, love, <I>love</I> these cartoons and am actually very proud of this review. :)

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Post by Ben » April 30th, 2009, 2:40 pm

Full Fleischer/Famous Studios <I>Superman</I> review:

http://animated-views.com/2009/max-flei ... -1942-dvd/

Love, love, <I>love</I> these cartoons and am actually very proud of this review. :)

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Post by Dacey » April 30th, 2009, 3:08 pm

For those with that collection, there’s no need to purchase this new set
Thanks for that. I was possibly going to double-dip here.

Very passionate review! :D
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Post by Ben » April 30th, 2009, 3:47 pm

Thanks WJ! :)


Nope...you have everything, including the same transfers. The only thing new here of worth is the superhuman myths documentary, but it's very chatty, doesn't say anything that really relates to the Man Of Steel, and has almost two minutes of end credits in its 13:30 runtime.

The packaging is neat, but I like the Ultimate set for having all of the major theatrical work in one set...it's very comprehensive!

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Post by Randall » April 30th, 2009, 11:58 pm

I wouldn't mind getting this set just to have them all in a single package, in its only "official", stand-alone release. It saves breaking into the big, metal box. But I'll wait until seeing a good sale price.

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Post by Ben » May 1st, 2009, 5:56 am

If you know what you're getting - and you do - then it's down to what you want to pay...but as I say the packaging does feel really neat and if you can find for under $15 it could be worth it to save wear on the big box.

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1988 Ruby Spears Superman series gets DVD release

Post by GeorgeC » July 31st, 2009, 6:42 pm

http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/ ... /index.htm

The 1988 Superman animated series that aired on CBS Saturday mornings is now getting an official release.

WB Home Video releases the complete and only season of the series on November 3rd on DVD.

This marks the final Superman series to be released on home video.

With character designs by the late Gil Kane and featuring the Superman theme composed by John Williams, this series was a transition between the classic 1950s/1960s Superman and the 1986 revamp of the character.

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Post by Randall » July 31st, 2009, 11:18 pm

I'm happy that I have now just finally thrown out a yucky videotape that had a few epiodes of this show. Bring on the DVD!

Not my favorite Superman show by any stretch, but I'm very glad to see it come to DVD. Not too much more animated DC left to come out now.

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Post by eddievalient » August 1st, 2009, 5:28 am

Maybe when they finish releasing all the older stuff, they'll finally do something new. I always thought The Flash or Green Lantern should have had their own animated series.
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Post by Ben » August 1st, 2009, 10:51 am

Never saw any of these (don't think it ever aired in the UK), so well up for this. Could be only the third DC comics set I fight Rand over to review...! ;)

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Post by GeorgeC » August 1st, 2009, 1:07 pm

From what I remember of it, Ben, it wasn't a bad show.

The problem was that it was launched so soon after John Byrne's revamp of Superman in 1986 and yet seemed to incorporate very few of his ideas. It was more like an animated version of the 1970s Superman complete with near-omnipotence and indestructibility. That was one of my problems with the show.

As for the rest, I felt they cast Superman fairly well and wouldn't have minded the voice actor coming back for more. He really wasn't bad at all.

It was also the swansong for BJ Ward as Wonder Woman. I don't think she's done much voice-acting since the 1980s. It seems she's been doing a one-woman act among other things.

There are only about 12-13 episodes of this show. They were divided into two stories. The first story was an action-adventure; the second part was about Clark Kent growing up in Smallville with his parents leading up to when he left for Metropolis.

There's no question IMHO that the best Superman series storywise is the 1996-2000 animated TV series. Animation-wise, nobody's topped the Fleischer shorts, period.

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Post by Randall » August 1st, 2009, 1:19 pm

The Ruby-Spears version was a bit intermediate between the "old" and "new" Superman. I believe they did use the Luther-as-businessman, didn't they? And by NOT showing Clark to be Superboy in Smallville, it was more post-Crisis than not. Having revisited the show recently with my kids on my aforementioned VHS tape, I didn't find it too interesting overall. Weak writing, by writers trying to sound comic-booky, but just sounding dopey. It would have been a lot worse, perhaps, if Marv Wolfman hadn't been a story editor (as George likely recalls, Marv came up with the idea for the post-Crisis corporate Luthor).

That Wonder Woman episode was pretty decent, though. And the Smallville segments are nice.
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Post by Daniel » August 1st, 2009, 2:12 pm

Here's the package art.

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Post by Ben » August 1st, 2009, 3:27 pm

Looking nice!

I totally see what Rand's saying by the look being a kind of "intermediate" between the old and new Superman styles...he's looking fairly like the 1970s comic book edition, but in classic pose. This'll sit nicely alongside the Fleischer set!

Thanks for the remind on Plas, Rand...I still need to order that! :)

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