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Superman: The Animated Series

[Last updated November 3, 1996]


This Fall, the Warner Brothers television network begins a new animated series: Superman with 13 episodes in the first season. There will be a total of 65 episodes. It started as a 90-minute primetime movie special on September 6 showing the first 3 episodes. The regular time is Saturdays at 9:00am (EST), with weekday showings in the Fall of 1997.

Tim Daly (Wings) is the voice of Superman. Dana Delany (China Beach and Batman: Mask of Phantasm) is the voice of Lois Lane. Clancy Brown (Highlander) is Lex Luthor. Malcolm McDowell will be Metallo. Michael York plays Kanto. Michael Ironside plays Darkseid. Gilbert Gottfried is Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Bruce Timm and Paul Dini (from Batman: The Animated Series) worked on character designs and stories. Timm acts as animator, while Dini and Alan Burnett (story editor for the Super Friends in 1985) join Timm as producers.

There is an accompanying comic book Superman Adventures now on sale. The book is edited by Mike McAvennie. Paul Dini and Bruce Timm did the first issue. With the second issue, the writer is Scott McCloud (Zot!). Rick Burchett does the pencil. Terry Austin does the inking, and Marie Severin the coloring.

The television series is similar, but does not copy the continuity from the current regular Superman comics. In the first season episodes will have Lobo in a two part episode. Other episodes will have Brainiac, Bizarro, Metallo, Dr. Fate, Batman, The Flash, Jax-Ur, Parasite, and the Toyman. Supergirl is planned to appear in the second season, and will not be like the Supergirl in the regular Superman comics.

Fan Sites:
Newsgroup discussion about the series happens on rec.arts.animation.

Episode Guide

This guide does not list airdates for repeat showings, except for The Last Son of Krypton to tell the writing and directing credits for each of the 3 parts.


Superman/Clark Kent..............Tim Daly
Lois Lane.....................Dana Delany 
Lex Luthor...................Clancy Brown 
Perry White................George Dzundza 
Jimmy Olsen.................David Kaufman 
Angela Chen....................Lauren Tom 
Ron Troupe................Dorian Harewood

Martha Kent...............Shelley Fabares 
Jonathan Kent................Mike Farrell
Jor-El...............Christopher McDonald
Lara........................Finola Hughes
Sul-Van..........................Tony Jay
Brainiac......................Corey Burton
Lana Lang (teenager)........Kelly Schmidt 
Teenage Clark Kent..........Jason Marsden

Bibbo.........................Brad Garret
Bruno Mannheim................Bruce Weitz
John Corben .............Malcolm McDowell
The Toyman.......................Bud Cort
Mercy Grimes...............Lisa Edelstein
Professor Hamilton..........Victor Brandy
Parasite/Rudy Jones...........Brion James
Commissioner Henderson........Mel Winkler


Produced by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
Associate Producer: Haven Alexander
Series Story Editors: Stan Berkowitz, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
Series Writers: Hilary J. Bader, Stan Berkowwitz, Alan Burnett, 
                Paul Dini, Robert Goodman
Series Directors: Hiroyuki Aoyama, Curt Geda, Kenji Hachizaki, 
        Toshihiko Masuda, Dan Riba, Yuichiro Yano
Superman Theme by Shirley Walker
Voice Director: Andrea Romano
Casting Director: Leslie Lamers
Production Management: Joe Reily
Executive Producer: Jean MacCurdy
Character Design: Sharon Bridgeman, Shane Glines, Dexter Smith, 
  Jim Stenstrum, Tommy Tejeda, Bruce Timm, James Tucker


Background Comments from Newsgroups

Here are three edited messages about the series:

From: Mark Heimback-Nielsen
Newsgroups: rec.arts.animation
Subject: Answers to Superman TAS questions
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996

Here are some of the questions answered at a panel discussion that was held as part of the Superman Animated Series event at Golden Apple Comics on Saturday, September 21st, 1996

The panel included:
Paul Dini - producer, writer and great dancer
Dan Riba - director
Glen Murakami - art director
Richard Daskas - background painter
Shane Clines - character designer and also one of the illustrators of SPUMCO's "COMIC BOOK"
Scott McCloud - writer of the new Superman Adventures comic book starting with issue 2 and all around great dad two his two kids and loving husband to his ever-suffering, but lovely, wife.

Questions From Various Internet Folks and Newsgroups:

From Sgt Walrus aka Richard Bailey aka rbailey
1. I've read that the look of the Batman cartoon was inspired by such artists as the Fleischer brothers, Alex Toth, Frank Miller, Marshall Rogers and others. What are some of the artistic influences for the Superman cartoon?
A. All of the above plus a very decided homage to Jack Kirby's style and use of his 4th World characters. Darkseid, Mr. Miracle and all the rest will be showing up. In fact, because of all the Kirby material that was hanging up around the office as inspiration, one of the writers was completely overpowered by one image in a collage that showed a nameless god chained to a planet that he decided to write a story around it which will be going into production next season. Part of the reason for the use of Kirby's creations is that they lend themselves so readily to the science fiction/intergalactic scale that the Superman stories will be taking and offer the type of villians that can really challenge Superman.

3. Will you be including a Fortress of Solitude?
A. Most definitely! It will be used much like a store house of Superman's stuff including the Interplanetary Zoo.

4. The only reason I was able to see Superman was because of the video. Will there be future episodes on video and when?
A. There's on schedule yet.

5. Are there plans for a feature length Superman like you did for Batman with the Mask of the Phantasm?
A. No, WB is now leaning more towards 60 to 90 minute direct to video formats. Next season's first episode will be another "event" special and will be a "World's Finest" meeting with Batman and Robin.

From Elayne Wechsler-Chaput aka firehead
6. Is Marie Severin the book's permanent colorist?
A. For now yes, the creative team for the comic book will be the same as issue 1 (Rick Burchett doing pencils, Terry Austin doing inks and Marie Severin ["who's been around the comic book industry longer than God and who's work is amazing" - Paul Dini] doing colors) except for Scott McCloud taking over writing chores from Paul Dini.

7. I'm getting little tired of seeing all the women with cat's eyes. Will the women start getting differing facial and body types as the men do soon?
A. Bill Wray has a definite way of drawing women which all the other character designers are obliged to follow in order to remain true to the style of the show. One character that Shane is doing that will break the mold will be the girl friend of Mr. Mxyzptlk (sp.?) that will be based on the 50's bombshell girl look.

From Michael McKay-Fleming aka mmckayfl
8. When Martha was suggesting possible names she was using the names of the actors except for George Reeves. Was George left off for a reason (the suicide) or purely for the alliteration?
A. Just alliteration. Originally they only had her saying Christopher as a tribute but when the animation came back the scene went a little long so they added a couple more, Kirk being one and Kevin (for Kevin Alteri who started working on the series but doesn't anymore) being the other.

From Jennifer Wand aka eponine
9. Who was the voice of the Toyman in Fun and Games?
A. Bud "Harold & Maude" Cort

10. Did anyone else notice in Fun and Games that Manneheim wore the same ring as Luthor wore in the pilot? Is it an Intergang membership card?
A. No, Manneheim just a cheesy gangster who's wears tacky jewelry.

From Felix J. Torres aka fjtorres
11. Will there be a Superboy stage in Clark's career?
A. No, this stage will not be brought up in this series, but does not rule out a new series in the future, but there are no plans for it.

From Robert Faires aka onstage
12. When the crooks run out of bullets and then throw there guns at him, will this Superman duck (Still a sucker for those old George Reeves shows)?
A. Sorry, but no, he won't duck. He will say "Ouch" and grimace a lot as he gets hit closer to the source of the bullets/missle/airborne force of destruction.

From Adrial Peitt aka adrlpiett
13. I noticed the little dog under the table...and wondered how much Jor-el tested his rocket. Will we be seeing Krypto?
A. Yes, Krypto will be showing up, but not until after Bizarro, who gets his own version of Krypto. The other pet that will be showing up first though is Streaky (with lightning bolt intact), who will be introduced very soon as the Kent's farm cat and may later be adopted by Supergirl.

From Layla Voll aka slv
14. Who was the voice of Lana Lang?
A. Kelly Schmidt was the voice of the teenage Lana. Lana will be showing up as an adult this season and her voice will be done by Joely Fischer who they say sounds incredibly like Kelly Schmidt's Lana grown up. They really enjoyed using Kelly and she will probably be used as the voice of Supergirl.

From Glen Wadleigh aka GlenW
15. What will be the next DC animated series?
A. It's not even being discussed yet.

From Franknseus
16. When will the Superman animated series figures come out?
A. "They should be in the big toy store chains as we speak" but no word as to which characters they will be or if the villans be easier to find than those in the Batman line.

18. Why is there no insignia on Superman's cape?
A. They tested using the symbol but had to keep sending the work back because the symbol didn't look right. It was decided to drop the symbol when the went back to the comic and found out that the symbol didn't show up on the cape until after more than a year into the series.

19. When will LSOK be released on LaserDisk or DVD?
A. "No idea....haven't heard anything about it."

From Gary L. Warren aka glw
20. Will Superman's powers and abilities gradually increase like the 1938 Earth 2 Superman?
A. As the series gets stuck for bigger and better action and storyline, probably.

From Michael Holmes aka mjholmes
21. Did anyone else hear the distinct double beep of a car alarm when the bad guy opened up the mecha by remote control?
A. Definitely intentional ("It was Bruce Timm's idea") and with a very "yeah, you wanna make something about it" attitude!

For the numerous requests on which characters from the DC Universe will and won't be showing up in the series and when:
1. Bizarro - voiced also by Tim Daly (who really surprised them by how well he got into this character and made it very different than his Superman performance), the Bizarro story will combine pathos with comedy in order to make him a very sympathetic, funny but dangerous character
2. Mxyzptlk - will be showing voiced by Gilbert Gottfreid! He will also, as mentioned above, have a very demanding girl friend.
3. Brainiac - will be showing up in episode 6 but in his robotic form.
4. The Phantom Zone Criminals - will show up in a two parter next season.
5. New Gods - character by character with Mr. Miracle and Darkseid first
6. Lobo - voiced by Brad Garrett, the Lobo story will be the first two parter. Rejoice - Lobo will be a very psychotic bounty hunter (as opposed to just your ordinary psychotic bounty hunter)! Though WB's Standards and Practices did an about face on the word bastiche, which after initial approval, was banned after they heard it used in context on the soundtrack. Frag was okayed (go figure).
7. Batman - with Robin, Joker and Harley will be the first episode of the next season which will be a special long form like LSOK.
8. Supergirl - probably this season and once again will probably be voiced by Kelly Schmidt who did the voice of teenage Lana Lang in LSOK. Her costume though may raise a few feminist eyebrow, since it looks more like a shortsleeve, shortlegged and waistless workout outfit.
9. The Flash - this season and yes, there will be a race! His alterego is not revealed but he does come off initally as a kind of pompus, self-centered jerk.
10. The Legion of Super-Heroes - no plans but not out of the question
11. The Metal Men - no plans, even though one episode does deal with robots they're not our elementary friends.
12. Steel - next season John Henry will be introduced as a Lexcorp employee and over a few episodes evolve into Steel. This will probably be timed with the Steel live action feature movie starring Shaq.

Other things brought up during the discussion:
1. The Superman animated series was brought about when WB executive producer Jean MacCurdy asked Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, "if you had your choice of any character to work with, which would you choose?" They both chose the guy in the blue tights and then Bruce Timm came back with some incredible character design and background layouts and the project was given the green light.
2. Because the animated series requires so much more lead time that the live series or the comic book there's not much pressure being put on them to follow the current story lines (which means don't wait to hear wedding bells anytime soon). As long as the tone of the characters isn't changed dramatically (and in most cases the characters are being improved for the animated series over some of their interpretations) they are being given their own hand, much to the joy of everyone associated with the animated series and it's comic book. Basically, they're going to take what's great from the entire history of the character and adapt it for animation.
3. Because of the upcoming movie, they're going nowhere near "The Death of Superman" storyline (though Steel is a different matter).
4. They've been given an 65 episode commitment with 13 episodes planned for the first season and then having the series going to 6 days a week in the second series.
5. The comic book stories will all be taking place after the cartoon stories and so will be the second meetings or follow-ups with other superheroes and villians with references back to the cartoon. Scott is extremely excited about the freshness that they're bringing to the character. "It's like they called me asking if I'd be interested in writing a book about a this new guy with a lot of neat super powers and a really interesting cast of villians and friends but not stuck with all the baggage....I figured that if I've finally got to write for a character that isn't mine, I guess Superman's not so bad to start with [ed.: joking sarcasm folks!]."


Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.other-media
Subject: Re: Superman Animated Series
Date: 5 Mar 1996

Okay, from Overstreet's Fan #10 (the April 1996 edition with either a Poison Elves cover or a DefCon4 cover), pp 58-62 have an interview called _Superman_Reanimated_ by Andy Lee with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini.

Some info culled from the article:

The Superman animated show will have more scifi, a younger Jimmy Olsen (about 16), Toy Man, Lex Luthor (as the main villain), Brainiac, Bizarro, Mxyzptlk, the Parasite, Metallo, some Phantom Zone escapees (including two Kryptonians - and the Phantom Zone will be an "interstellar limbo" housing criminals from throughout the galaxy), Lobo, Jack Kirby's Fourth World characters from Apokolips, Batman (eventually), and Supergirl (not a blob, but from a different planet in Krypton's system).

Quotes from the article...

Bruce Timm on Superman's power level:
" he can't fly in outerspace. He can't breather underwater after a period of time. He is limited in his powers. He only has heat-vision, and X-ray vision, and telescopic vision. He has super-hearing. He's fast, but not super-fast."
"Also, a mortar shell will knock him down. A nuclear blast would obviously kill him. A big enough bomb would probably kill him, but we can drop a building on him and he can get up from it, but it's going to be a struggle."

On the first episode:
Timm: "The actual first episode is going to be a three-parter, but we're hopefully going to run it in one fell swoop in prime time as a 90-minute special."
Dini: "The opening three-parter loosely follows the 1970's movie in that it details the destruction of Krypton, some time in Smallville, and Superman's first day in Metropolis."


Here are parts of an interview with writer Paul Dini about this series which appeared in a newsgroup last year:

Subject: Re: Transcript:  Paul Dini on AOL 9/28
Date: 2 Oct 1995
>Knowing the interest here I'm posting Paul Dini's online interview on
>AOL from Friday night.  He had lots to say about Batman, the new
>animated Superman, and most importantly, that there will be ANOTHER
>animated film.
>Transcript:  BATMAN:  THE ANIMATED SERIES  Producer/Writer Paul Dini
>Live Online 9/28/95
>Copyright (c) 1995 DC Comics
>DCOMLeib:  Welcome to a special DC COMICS ONLINE Auditorium event. 
>           special guest this evening is Paul Dini, one of the
>           behind BATMAN:  THE ANIMATED SERIES.  Paul is also the 
>           author of the award-winning BATMAN:  MAD LOVE and the brand
>           new BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES on sale this week in comic
>           book stores nationwide.
>DCOMLeib:  Hi Paul!
>DINI928:   Hi!
>DCOMLeib:  Next up from Stevie Me. . .
>Question:  Will the Superman Animated Series be done in the same style
>           as Batman?  If not, what has influenced the art style in
>           Superman?
>DINI928:   It will be similiar, but not identical.  Metropolis will be
>           a brighter, more futuristic city than Gotham.  Character
>           stylings (by Bruce Timm) will be close to B:TAS.
>DCOMLeib:  Here's an interesting one from ThEleven. . .
>Question:  Who are some of the superheroes you are considering as 
>           guests on the Superman animated series?
>DINI928:   Supergirl will show up once the show goes into daily strip
>           in the fall of '97.  Ditto Batman (once his contract on Fox

>           runs out).  We've talked about Lobo, Green Lantern, and the

>           New Gods.  Darkseid will be a major villain too.
>DCOMLeib:  From Renbo S. . . 
>Question:  When does the Superman series premiere?
>DINI928:   September 1996.  We're doing thirteen episodes for WB 
>           Saturday morning and an hour-long prime time pilot.  At
>           least, that's the plan now.  The daily series will follow
>           in the fall of '97.
>DCOMLeib:  From Vartox. . . 
>Question:  Have you gotten to the voice casting stage in Superman: TAS
>           yet?  If so, can you tell us?  If not, who might you be 
>           looking at?
>DINI928:   We haven't started casting yet.  Like Batman, we'll listen 
>           to a lot of folks, some from prime time and movies, and 
>           we'll probably have some interesting people.
>DCOMLeib:  A Superman animated question from Shinobi2. . . 
>Question:  Are there plans to use storylines adapted from the comic 
>           book?  
>DINI928:   There aren't any plans so far.  Maybe.  We're still doing
>           a lot of research.
>DCOMLeib:  From lh8cfood. . . 
>Question:  How long does it take to make one show?
>DINI928:   About six months from script to film.
>DCOMLeib:  From Shades30. . . 
>Question:  Do you enjoy writing comic stories as much as being 
>           involved in the cartoon show?
>DINI928:   Yes.  They're different, but I enjoy telling stories about 
>           the characters in both formats.
>DCOMLeib:  From Sprmann1. . . 
>Question:  Will you do the Death of Superman storyline in the series
>           all?
>DINI928:   Probably not, or at least, not the death as seen in the 
>           comics.  That storyline was great, but it took in most of
>           the DC comics at that time.  We'll have only twenty 
>           minutes a day to play around with and we're trying to
>           do mostly self-contained stories.
>DCOMLeib:  From Shades30. . .
>Question:  Is there any chance that you'll do the writing for a comic
>           book based on the new Superman series?
>DINI928:   DC hasn't officially announced a tie-in book with the 
>           Superman cartoon, but maybe I will if they do, and they
>           want me too.  
>DCOMLeib:  From Vartox. . .
>Question:  Will S:TAS center on any particular period of Superman's
>           life, or will it, like the B:TAS, span various points of
>           his career?
>DINI928:   Various.  Like BATMAN, we're drawing on a number of key 
>           elements from Superman lore.  
>DCOMLeib:  From Kuplagoob. . .
>Question:  Will Superman have long hair on the show?  Please say no.
>DINI928:   No.  We sent him to Supercuts.
>DINI928:   Thank you!  Great talking to you all.  Hope to chat again 
>           once Superman comes on.
>DCOMLeib:  Copyright (c) 1995 DC COMICS

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