Ruby-Spears Superman (2009, Warner Home Video)
Originally Aired: September 1988-December 1988, CBS
– Destroy The Defendroids/ The Adoption
– Fugitive From Space/ The Supermarket
– By The Skin of the Dragon’s Teeth/At The Babysitter’s
– Cybron Strikes/ The First Day of School
– The Big Scoop/ Overnight with the Scouts
– Triple-Play/ The Circus
– The Hunter/ Little Runaway
– Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorcerer of Time/ The Birthday Party
– Bonechill/ The Driver’s License
– The Beast Beneath These Streets/ First Date
– Wildshark/ To Play or Not to Play
– Night of the Living Shadows/ Graduation
– The Last Time I Saw Earth/ It’s Superman
Corruption of the Corrupt: The Rise of LexCorp
So I’m finally getting around to reviewing this DVD. Some of you may be familiar with Tommy’s review over at Saturday Morning Central, but so what? I need some new material to post so here’s my take on it.
Not a lot of people are even aware this show existed but that’s not surprising because the show only lasted two months on CBS’ Saturday morning line-up. Despite this, it always stayed with me in my memory bank. I never had any particular episode that I was able to recall, I just remembered that the show existed and I liked it and was excited to watch it. I also remember being really disappointed one Saturday when it didn’t come on. There are 13 episodes in all and each episodes closes with a “Superman’s Family Album” segment focusing on his days as Clark Kent in Smallville.
Anyway, it has been commented that this show isn’t really very good and that is only good for nostalgia purposes. Obviously, most people who bother to buy a DVD of cartoon that only lasted for two months back in the ’80s is doing this for nostalgia, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the quality.
I think anyone who is a fan of the goofy, campy action/adventure series of the 1980s will enjoy this show. It isn’t like superhero cartoons of today.It’s light on plot and characterization but it was a time when that was perfectly acceptable. Don’t think, just smash! Shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, Justice League and X-Men pioneered the more dramatic superhero cartoons with long story arcs that sometimes lasted more than just one season. Recently, the trend has started to reverse with The Super Hero Squad and Batman: The Brave and The Bold, which are getting back to just having light-hearted fun.
I did find it odd that it differed from virtually every superhero cartoon before or since by relying many times on original villains. Lex Luthor is the only recurring villain but only has four episodes of spotlight (and often times is dumbed down and played for comedic effect). The Prankster, Shadow Thief and General Zod get one appearance each and the rest of the time Superman is battling monsters, dragons, aliens, cyborgs from the future and original villains like Bonechill (who is actually pretty cool and creepy, I’d love to see him crossover into the comics) and the Hunter (a hulking monster that was created by Zod and sent from the Phantom Zone to destroy Superman, he had more screen time than Zod too).
On the hero side, in one episode Lois makes mention of Wonder Woman and then a few episodes later she and Superman team up to battle an evil sorceress.
As far as animation goes, it’s decent for its time. It holds up well against other shows of the day like G.I. Joe and Ghostbusters.
On the cast & crew side, there’s a few notable voice actors and writers. The legendary comic book writer Marv Wolfman (New Teen Titans, The Tomb of Dracula, Crisis On Infinite Earths) was the show’s head writer and Buzz Dixon (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) & Larry DiTillio (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) also contributed episodes.
Notable voice actors include Allan Oppenheimer (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Transformers) as Pa Kent and Michael Bell (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) as Lex Luthor. Bell played Duke on G.I. Joe so it was very interesting to hear him ham it up as a the egotistical Lex. As a side note, Bell (who is now in his early 70s) is still active as a voice actor and keeps busy with a lot of high profile video game projects. I instantly recognized him as the voice of John Black in Age of Empires III (released in 2005) and his voice hasn’t really changed at all.
Retail price is around $20 and since there’s only 13 episodes to get through, it isn’t some great big daunting task to watch this series (I have MANY seasons/volumes of shows that I’m just too intimidated to watch because of the sheer number of episodes). It’s a definite recommend for Superman fans, comic books fans, nostalgists and anyone who likes a fun action cartoon.