Jan. 15th, 2014

tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I've been watching all the old Fleischer Superman cartoons from the forties. Partly because they're pop cultural landmarks (they introduced both the "It's a bird! It's a plane!" line and the whole "Faster than a speeding bullet!" introduction) and also because my views on Superman has changed a lot over the years*.

They were pretty great actually! The animation was so well done, with lot of shading and dynamic action -- really high-quality stuff! I was kind of blown away by the first one: I wasn't sure what to expect, and then Superman punched a beam of pure energy and the music and animation and everything was so stellar I really felt the urge to jump in my seat and shout "Go Superman!"

My absolute favourite thing was that for the most part (due to this being such an early, low-powered version of the character) Superman leaps rather than flies -- he pushes off, and then rises and falls in an arch before he lands. I loved it. I guess it's something about familiarity -- I don't know what it's like to fly effortlessly, but anybody who's been on a trampoline can can recognize that rising and falling tingling in your stomach.

I really liked Bud Collyer as the voice of Supes too (I think I might have to check out the radio show). He just generally sounds mild-mannered and jovial, and his Supes voice is just a tiny bit deeper than his Kent voice, which I thought was neat.

And while the cartoons are a product of their time (occasional racism, mostly), I just gotta say that this version of Lois Lane? Has friggin' balls of steel. Placed in front of a firing squad? Trapped on an erupting volcano? Tortured by nazis? Lois Lane does not fear death, okay. She will climb a burning rope over the crevasse if she's free or coolly accept her fate if she's not. Sure Superman has to rescue her in every episode but even he has to respect Lois Lane's nonchalance when it comes to her own mortality.


*My thinking used to be, like, you've got this immortal, invincible god who is 100% good and kind and wonderful: Where's the drama, right? But now I'm more like, "yeah, that's a nice change of pace actually". I still think he works best from other characters' points of view, and as a part of the larger DC universe, but the guy's not as boring as I used to think.

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