Sunday, July 02, 2006
Here is a Superman model sheet to instruct artist how to draw his face ( in two images)
I think the thing people forget is just how much a departure the Superman shorts were to everything being produced in commercial animation at the time.
With the exeptions of Bob Clampett's attempt to bring Eedgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars to the screen, no one had thought of using animation for non-humorous subjects.
And although the funny comic strips were raided for characters to bring to the big screen, no one thought of bringing the adventure strips to animation. If advenrure strips were adapted, it was always with live action.
Imagine some one bringing Terry and the Pirates or Flash Gordon to animation and preserving the style and tone of the strip?
And the Fleischers only did it because they were forced to by Paramount. Granted, they did a great job and the series is outstanding, however they obviously did not see animation as a vehicle for adventure, fantasy (except fairy tales) or science fiction.
Animation was worthy of humor and sentiment and that was about it.
I once had an exchange of critical letters with the late animation director Shamus Culhane. He charged the Superman shorts were failures because they didn't start a trend in the industry. Culhane was incorrect in his anaylsis.
The shorts made money and were popular. But they were expensive and a big risk. It was easier for the studios to take the easy path and keep producing humorous shorts.
© 2006 Gordon Michael Dobbs. These are my words alone.