RUBY SPEARS SUPERMAN
“Fugitive From Space & The Supermarket” written by Martin Pasko
“Fugitive From Space”
SUMMARY: When S.T.A.R. Labs discovers an alien spaceship which crashes. Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Jimmy Olsen find within the ship two aliens in suspended animation until Jimmy accidentally awakens them. When one of them is an alien police officer and one of them is a criminal, Superman must figure out who’s who.
REVIEW: This story touches on Erich von Daniken’s ‘ancient alien’ concept, but falls a bit short by reducing the spaceship’s age from thousands of years to ‘a few hundred’. Finding two aliens from different races provides a good lesson in prejudice and chance to show off Gil Kane’s gorgeous character designs.
The resolution of the story comes very quickly (lacking any ‘ah-ha!’ moment from Superman) but the musical score is creative, the animation smooth and the characters are (at the very least) familiar.
It should be pointed out that this animated version of Superman was the first to appear after the Christopher Reeve movie series had finished its run (thus the nearly identical theme song), the first to appear after DC’s ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ (so Luther is a corrupt billionaire instead of a mad scientist) and the last adaptation of Superman before Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series would change DC animation forever.
Unlike Bruce Timm’s Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons, this Superman utilizes the typical approach to boys’ animated cartoons popularized by Marvel in the early 1980s: outlandish sci-fi plots; realistic, textured anatomy; clumsily animated character scenes intercut with very polished action scenes that recall Japanese Anime.
Personally, I prefer this version of Superman to Bruce Timm’s. While the 90s Batman used a more ‘cartoony’ Art deco design that remade Gotham City into an abstract film noir landscape suited to Batman and his rogues’ gallery, the more realistic character designs of the Ruby-Spears Superman make its outrageous concepts more palatable.
SUMMARY:When Martha Kent takes Clark on his first shopping trip, she tries to be careful that Clark doesn’t give away his powers.
Starring Clark Kent as a 4 year old in Smallville, this section is notable for using what is clearly an adult voice acting attempting (and failing) to adopt the voice of a toddler.
Mike-EL is a Co-Producer and Founder of the Comic Book Syndicate TV series. He is an independent filmmaker, professional videographer and holds a PhD in Superhero Fun.