“Superman” Theatrical Cartoons - March 27, 1942
Even moreso than the old theatrical Looney Tunes and Mickey Mouse cartoons, which relied heavily on sight gags, the Fleischer Studio Superman cartoons are some of the most visually dense animated shorts in the history of the medium. For the last several generations of Westerners who have grown up on cycled animation, re-used clips and backgrounds, lowered frame rates, static faces and gag or dialogue driven cartoons, the old Superman series presents a genuinely cinematic experience.
Although you will miss out on the full experience, it’s possible to watch animated shows like Archer, The Simpsons, The Venture Brothers, et al, and periodically look away from the screen without missing the essence of the story. The Superman cartoons, however – and the Bulleteers being a prime example – rely almost entirely on the visuals to communicate the action and atmosphere. Imagine missing not only the sight of the Bulleteer’s deadly vehicle smashing buildings in vibrant explosions, but the looming spectacle of the loudspeaker booming out over Metropolis from the precarious mountain lair, the cathedral ceilings of City Hall, the shadowbox scale of the police scattering before the oncoming missile of doom …