Monday, March 26, 2007

Perfect Weekend Viewing.

Okay I haven’t read any comics this weekend but I did watch Bruce Timm and company’s animated Superman – the first disk of the first season. It is a nice contrast but equally fantastic to their Batman: The Animated Series. Where Batman was a collection of 22 minute hard boiled noir cartoons, Superman is 22 minute inspirational action cartoon.

Superman works as a cartoon because he is meant to do things that are unbelievable, so the drawn aspect of the medium give the audience that distance. But at the same time some of Superman’s powers are inherently hard to animate – his super-speed and some of his super punches and flying are just damned hard to animate convincingly – add a tight schedule and you’re into nigh impossible working conditions. And yet these bumps get worked out fairly quickly. For every time Superman doesn’t seem to be flying right or running as fast as he should be there is a great character moment or a stylized flourish on his character or any other character we’re culturally familiar with.

I wasn’t too keen on Lois at first. She comes off as cold rather than accomplished and competent. It may just be she suffered from what the whole series did at the beginning, and it’s that the people involved had to shift from one story telling mode to another. This is brighter and more fantastic but also dealing with animations not really a part of anything found in Batman. We’re also given a completely different cast of characters, and what feels a bit awkward at the beginning are really just unfamiliarity – at least for me as the viewer. I expect Batman, but this isn’t it.

I will say that I really like this Lex Luthor. He’s cold, calculating and the voice casting is spot on. And I’m also really happy that Superman is kept much like Batman was in that series – he’s there, the stories are about him, but he’s not necessarily the focus of each episode. He will win in the end, but he could spend most of the episode off screen.

In the end, getting these DVDs for my Saturday morning toast and coffee is really one of the highlights of my week. A bit of me-time to just shut out the world and watch some beautiful art in motion. I really do love this art style and I’m happy to see that it works in Metropolis as well as it does in Gotham. I love the redesigns and I find myself looking forward to see what gets added to the characters - not just costume wise, but story wise, as well as what additions to the character's mythos and rogues gallery are made along the way.

I've enver seen an episode of this series. It was broadcast during a point in my life when I didn't really own a TV so this is all new and wonderful to me.


Jason said...

Yeah, this was a fantastic series. I never watched it when it was on because I was in college, and Superman was not cool at that point in my life. Fortunately, my son, age 4, just got into super-heroes last year and they had the seasons for $12 each at Sam's so I gobbled them all up and me and him just spend some Saturdays watching Superman. It's awesome.

Siskoid said...

New to your blog Jon, and liking it.

If you liked Season 1, I think you'll really enjoy Seasons 2 and 3. Not only do we get more guest stars, but the whole Darkseid story arc is awsome. It just gets better, and it's a little sad that it never got the same attention as Batman or Justice League.

One note on Lois: I guess I was sold from the first because she was played by Dana Delaney who I have an immense crush on.

joncormier said...

Ah the power of the crush.

I think the voice fits. The more I got used to it the more I really think it's perfect for Lois. Like I said, I was only ever used to Batman and this is so utterly bright in comparison that everything just felt a bit off. By the Parasite episode I was totally hooked.

plok said...

I only saw part of one episode of this, in scramblevision, and it was a World's Finest one -- great! People told me it really wasn't worth seeing, not as good as Batman, and I...I mean what do you say to people, when they say stuff like that? Still looking forward to watching it. Soon! In fact your post has inspired me to get moving on this rather sooner than later. So, thanks! Maybe I can even drop in on the discussion, later.