Superman: The Animated Series

Superman: The Animated Series Information

Superman: The Animated Series is an American animated television series based on the DC Comics's flagship character, Superman. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and originally aired on Kids' WB from September 6, 1996 to February 12, 2000. The series was the first of several followups of the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, and was equally praised for its thematic complexity, quality animation, maturity and modernization of its title character.


Premiering ten years after the 1986 reboot of the Superman comic-book character, the animated series paid tribute to both the classic Superman of old and the newer "modern" Superman. For instance, the depiction of Krypton reflects the older idealized version in the Silver Age of Comic Books while the scope of Superman's powers reflects the more restrained contemporary concept as developed by John Byrne in that the superhero has to struggle to perform spectacular feats, while Clark Kent is shown to be openly, if quietly, self-confident (similar to the depiction of Batman's alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, in Batman: The Animated Series).

Midway through the series' run, it was combined with The New Batman Adventures to become The New Batman/Superman Adventures. The characters of Superman and Batman were then spun off into a new animated series, Justice League, which also featured other popular DC Comics characters, including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl which spawned a sequel series Justice League Unlimited.

Development and production

Originally producer Bruce Timm wanted the show to have a more 1940s Fleischer Studios Superman-cartoon feel. Another original character design sheet showed the characters in a stylised 1950s style (not unlike that of the live-action Adventures of Superman TV series), suggesting that the producers also considered setting the series during that period, or possibly ending up like Batman: The Animated Series (set during modern times, but with an Art Deco feel) or as the producers said Gotham was Art Deco with Gothic elements, Metropolis was "Ocean Liner Deco". As with the first season of Batman, the opening theme sequence of Superman lacked an on-screen title. Also like Batman, the opening theme for Superman lacked any lyrics, instead being an instrumental piece played over various scenes from the series.

One noticeable aspect of the series carried over from Byrne's work was Superman's powers were significantly downplayed compared to his comic book counterpart. Where as in the comic he could lift millions or billions of tons effortlessly, this version struggled lifting trucks, construction equipment, roadways, etc. The writers admit that he was made as strong as story permitted. His durability was also considerably less that while bullets bounced off him, heavier ordnance like high caliber bullets, cannons and missiles caused him pain or discomfort.

In the series, the evil computer Brainiac is not only from Krypton, but is portrayed as responsible for preventing the knowledge of Krypton's imminent destruction from reaching its people so as to save himself, rather than be committed in the presumably futile task of saving the population of the planet. In addition, the ship that carries the infant Kal-El to Earth is designed to have a pilot, and the autopilot used instead was programmed to land smoothly upon reaching its destination. This was done so that the ship is in perfect working condition during Superman's adulthood and could be used as his mode of long range transportation in space. Access to Kryptonian technology and artifacts is initially severely restricted, such as the ship containing a phantom zone projector and Braniac's technology, although Superman later finds a devastated colony in Krypton's solar system with partially salvageable technology, in addition to Kara In-Ze in her functioning cryostasis capsule.

Season two was originally scheduled to run 26 episodes, but it was extended to 28 episodes in order to accommodate a two-part story introducing Supergirl.

While the series features adaptations of much of Superman's rogues gallery, the writers supplemented the supply of enemies by paying tribute to Jack Kirby's Fourth World creations that introduced the villain Darkseid to the series as Superman's archenemy. Darkseid had been portrayed as a villain in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians in the 1980s, but in this series, he was closer to the enormously powerful, evil cosmic emperor originally envisioned by Kirby. Corey Burton's voice performance as Brainiac was done in the same cold, low-affect style as HAL 9000 in the Space Odyssey films, and was also modeled after the 'Control Voice' heard during the opening narration of The Outer Limits.

Comic adaptation

Template:Main article As with the majority of shows in DC animated universe, Superman: The Animated Series received a comic adaptation taking place in the same universe, that ran from 1996 to 2001, with 68 issues, an annual and a special issue featuring Lobo. Paul Dini wrote the first issue of the series, followed by Scott McDaniel, Mark Millar and Evan Dorkin. Among the artists that contrinuited with the series are Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett, Mike Manley, Aluir Amancio, Min S.Ku and Neil Vokes.


Template:Main article


Actor Role
Tim Daly Clark Joseph Kent / Superman / Kal-El / Bizarro
Dana Delany Lois Lane
David Kaufman James "Jimmy" Olsen
Clancy Brown Alexander "Lex" Joseph Luthor
Corey Burton Brainiac
Michael Ironside Darkseid
Joseph Bologna SCU Lt. Daniel "Terrible" Turpin
George Dzundza Perry White
Lisa Edelstein Mercy Graves
Lauren Tom Angela Chen
Mike Farrell Jonathan Kent
Shelley Fabares Martha Kent
Joely Fisher Lana Lang
Victor Brandt Professor Emil Hamilton
Joanna Cassidy Inspector Maggie Sawyer

Other characters

DVD releases

Much like Batman: The Animated Series and other Warner Bros. cartoons adapted from popular DC Comic books, Superman: The Animated Series was released on DVD January 25, 2005, though it did not receive the same disc transfer as Batman did (the second disc of each volume was given the Side A/B treatment). The DVDs present the series' episodes in their airing order along with special features. Volume Two was released on December 6, 2005 and Volume Three was released on June 20, 2006. On November 24, 2009, Warner Home Video released Superman: The Complete Animated Series, a 7-disc boxed set that includes all 54 episodes of the series as well as extensive bonus features.

A Direct-To-DVD feature, Superman: Brainiac Attacks was released in 2006, although it is not considered to be part of DCAU continuity, despite featuring the same character designs as Superman: The Animated Series, as well as both Tim Daly and Dana Delany reprising their voice roles as Superman and Lois Lane, respectively.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 1 18 January 25, 2005
  • Commentary on "The Last Son of Krypton Part 1", "Stolen Memories", "The Main Man" and "Tools of the Trade"
  • Superman: Learning to Fly Featurette
  • Building the Mythology: Superman's Supporting Cast
  • A Little Piece of Trivia - Pop up trivia over the "A Little Piece of Home" episode
Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 2 18 December 6, 2005
  • The Dark Side: Behind The Villains Of Superman: The Origins and Evolution of Superman's Adversaries.
  • Audio Commentary on "Brave New Metropolis" and "World's Finest Part 1" with Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, James Tucker, Dan Riba.
  • Video Commentary on Mxyzpixilated with Bruce Timm, Dan Riba, Paul Dini and Moderator Jason Hillhouse.
Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 3 18 June 20, 2006
  • Superman: Behind the Cape: David Kaufman (the voice of Jimmy Olsen) takes you behind the scenes with the show's creative team
  • Look, Up in the Sky!- the amazing story of Superman excerpts from the new documentary produced by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns
Superman: The Complete Animated Series 54 November 24, 2009
  • Commentary by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, Dan Riba, Glen Murakami, Curt Geda, Jason Hillhouse, James Tucker and Butch Lukic on many episodes
  • Superman: Learning to Fly - Explores the creation of the series
  • Building the Mythology: Superman's Supporting Cast - showcases the supporting players in the Superman Saga
  • Menaces of Metropolis: Behind the Villains of Superman - the origins and evolutions of Superman's adventures
  • Superman: Behind the Cape - David Kaufman (the voice of Jimmy Olsen) takes you behind the scenes with the show's creative team
  • Look, Up in the Sky! The amazing story of Superman - excerpt from the new documentary produced by Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns
  • Selectable Pop-Up Trivia Tracks
  • Bonus Disc Featuring the all new Documentary The Despot Darkseid: A Villain Worthy of Superman

Deleted scene in DVD release

"Apokolips...Now! Part II" was later altered from its original airing on February 7, 1998. Originally the Dan Turpin funeral at the episode's end was a true homage to late New Gods creator Jack Kirby and featured several of his comic creations as attendees to the funeral including Nick Fury, the Fantastic Four, Big Barda, Scott Free, Orion and others, alongside Kirby's friends and fans Mark Evanier, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alex Ross, his father Norman Ross and Stan Lee. These characters and persons were later removed and the scene pacing was re-edited for subsequent airings and its DVD release on Superman: The Animated Series Volume 3 Disc 3. The original sketches for this scene can be found at Michael Eury's book The Krypton Companion published by TwoMorrow's Publishing (). Neither DC nor Warner ever commented on the decision to alter this particular scene, but it has been speculated that copyright issues regarding the use of the likenesses of Marvel Comics characters and the long-time rivalry between the two companies might have motivated the deletion.


As with Batman: The Animated Series, Shirley Walker was in charge of the series' music. Walker wrote the series theme and composed themes for various characters, as well as scoring six episodes herself - "Father's Day," "The Hand of Fate," "Obsession," "Absolute Power" and the two-parter "Legacy." Unlike the previous series, only four other composers worked on the series - Kristopher Carter, Harvey R. Cohen, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis. Almost every episode had a completely original score; very few reused music from previous shows, and only one episode ("Superman's Pal," credited to Carter, McCuistion, Ritmanis and Walker) was entirely "scored" with tracked material.

On January 28, 2014, La-La Land Records released a 4-disc compilation of music from the series, collecting 20 complete episode scores, including those of the "World's Finest" three-parter, the "Apokolips... Now!" two-parter, the "Little Girl Lost" two-parter and "In Brightest Day...". It is a limited edition release of 3000 units and can be purchased through the label's website.

If sales of this release improve significantly, La-La Land Records will produce a second volume.

Track listing

  1. Superman: The Animated Series - Main Title (Shirley Walker) 1:07
  • The Last Son of Krypton Part I (Lolita Ritmanis)
  1. Krypton Opening/Monster Attack 2:37
  2. Family Theme 1:12
  3. Earthquake/Jor-El Appeals* 1:59
  4. Brainiac Confrontation* 2:14
  5. Jor-El Escapes Arrest/Jor-El Outside 1:52
  6. Decision to Send Kal-El 3:01
  7. Brainiac Leaves Krypton*/Kal-El Leaves Krypton*/** 1:43
  • The Last Son of Krypton Part II (Michael McCuistion)
  1. Recap (The Last Son of Krypton, Part II)*1:07
  2. Kal-El Lands on Earth/Couple Find Kal-El 2:09
  3. Clark's Abilities/Clark Meets His Parents 3:19
  4. Clark's First Flight*** 2:24
  5. News Program Source :32
  6. Industrial Film Source 1:10
  7. Superman Rescues Lois*/Missile Hits Airliner* 3:13
  • The Last Son of Krypton Part III (Harvey R. Cohen)
  1. Recap (The Last Son of Krypton, Part III)* 1:00
  2. Superman Saves Airliner* 2:39
  3. Clark's Identity Crisis* :56
  4. Lois Abducts Bibbo/Lois Meets John 1:46
  5. Clark Recognizes Ship*/Orders to Kill Lois* 2:05
  6. Robot Loose in City* 2:08
  7. Lois Gets Story* 1:03
  • Monkey Fun (Lolita Ritmanis)
  1. Family Pet 2:00
  2. Titano Lost and Found 2:06
  3. Monkey Business/Babysitting With Fleas/Bacteria Attack* 2:07
  4. Jimmy Runs Away* 1:01
  5. Monkeys on the Loose*/Superman Cages Lions 1:54
  6. Titano at the Dock 1:53
  7. Titano/Amusement Park* 1:37
  8. Superman vs. Titano 1:39
  9. Pop Goes the Weasel (Traditional, arr. L. Ritmanis) :37
  10. Titano Relocated 1:13
  • Tools of the Trade (Kristopher Carter)
  1. Tank Attack* 3:04
  2. Meet Kanto/Mannheim Gets Gloves 1:22
  3. Train Wreck/Train Robbery 1:31
  4. To the Rescue* 1:44
  5. Turpin Resigns 1:11
  6. Prisoner Turpin/Superman Finds Turpin/Turpin Saves Superman* 3:55
  7. Superman Thanks Turpin*/ Planet Apokolips* 1:20
  • Tools of the Trade - Bonus Track (Kristopher Carter)
  1. Train Wreck/Train Robbery (Alternate) 1:51
  1. Superman: The Animated Series - Video End Credits (Shirley Walker) 2:37
  • THE LAST SON OF KRYPTON, PART III - Bonus Music-And-Effects Track
  1. Superman Destroys Robot*(H. Cohen)/Superman Spurns Lex*(M. McCuistion)/Brainiac Returns*(L. Ritmanis) 3:07

  1. The New Batman/Superman Adventures - Main Title (Shirley Walker) 1:05
  • World's Finest Part I (Michael McCuistion)
  1. Closing Time*/Joke in the Box Source*/ Batman Takes Evidence* 1:37
  2. Terrorists on Plane* 1:11
  3. Lois Talks to Superman/Lois Beats Herself Up :58
  4. Joker Abducts Lex 1:20
  5. Lex & Joker Make a Deal/Lois Meets Bruce 1:42
  6. Joker Undoes Carlini 1:27
  7. WayneLex T-7 :52
  8. First Dance 1:11
  9. Batman Shows Up/Binko's Bad Night*/Batman Bugs Superman* 3:29
  • World's Finest Part II (Michael McCuistion)
  1. Recap (World's Finest, Part II) :38
  2. Bruce and Lois Go Out/Joker Crashes Date/Joker's Plan 2:23
  3. Batwing Takes Off*/Superman Meets Joker* 1:39
  4. Batman Saves Superman* 3:08
  5. Batman Makes His Exit :29
  6. Harley Cheers Up Joker/Lex Meets With Joker 2:01
  7. Batman Pays Lex a Visit/Superman Flies By* 1:14
  8. Jet Pac Transportation*/Joker Uses Robot 1:12
  • World's Finest Part III (Michael McCuistion & Lolita Ritmanis)
  1. Recap (World's Finest, Part III) (M. McCuistion) :35
  2. Ship in Distress (M. McCuistion) 1:45
  3. Batman Drops In/ Batman Unmasked/ Superman Stops Robot (M. McCuistion) 1:30
  4. Batman Has to Leave/Lex Sets Up Joker (M. McCuistion) 1:28
  5. Arrival at Lab*/Robots Battle Superman*/Batman Gets to Lexwing*(L. Ritmanis) 6:04
  6. Lexwing Crashes*(M. McCuistion) 2:22
  7. Bruce Returns to Gotham* (M. McCuistion) 1:08
  • Mxyzpixilated (Harvey R. Cohen)
  1. Stopping Traffic/Reading the Comics/The Statue Moves 2:43
  2. Chickens/Setting the Rules 3:23
  3. A Close Shave*/Proofreading/Apartment Source 3:52
  4. Building Battle Suit 1:54
  5. Clark's Calendar/Office Menagerie/Aerial Chase* 4:50
  6. Why Am I Eating This? :56
  • Father's Day (Shirley Walker)
  1. Scream Machine Lands/Superman vs. Machine 3:56
  2. Desaad's Tricky Plan 1:26
  3. Kalibak Comes to Earth/Kalibak Trashes Minerva 1:56
  4. Kalibak Ambushes Superman :48
  5. Superman vs. Kalibak/Fight on Train Track 2:04
  6. Battle Continues/Power Struggle 3:25
  7. Darkseid Beams Superman 2:21
  • Father's Day - Bonus Track (Shirley Walker)
  1. Restaurant Source 1:07
  1. The New Batman/Superman Adventures - End Credits (Shirley Walker) :35

  1. Superman: The Animated Series - Twenty-Second Promo (Shirley Walker) :26
  • In Brightest Day (Michael McCuistion)
  1. Kyle Catches Thief :58
  2. Abin Makes Ring Choose/Ring Chooses Kyle* 3:27
  3. Kyle Is Green Lantern :32
  4. Superman Finds Abin/Sinestro Wants the Ring 2:22
  5. Superman Meets Guardian :44
  6. Kyle Saves Little Girl/Fight Continues 3:02
  7. Superman Helps Council/Fight for Power/Kyle Wins Battle 4:05
  8. Kyle's Their Man 1:16
  • A Little Piece of Home (Kristopher Carter)
  1. Break-In at the Museum* 2:14
  2. Lex Sees Superman Weak*/Waiting for a Reaction :51
  3. Lois Gets a Phone Call/Steal Treasury Plates*/No Deal with Lex* 5:31
  4. Lois Visits S.T.A.R. Labs/Superman vs. Dinosaur*/Superman Throws Rock* 4:26
  • Livewire (Harvey R. Cohen)
  1. Wake-Up Source 1:30
  2. Construction Crane/Prevents Crane Accident* 2:42
  3. Centennial Park Source 1:15
  4. Leslie Becomes Livewire* 1:37
  5. Livewire Checks Out :59
  6. Metamorphosis Complete 1:07
  7. She Turns Off the Light/Tower of Power Is Back 1:31
  8. Superman Averts Planes* :59
  9. Livewire Gets Recharged*/Caution Sign 3:41
  • Apokolips Now! Part I (Kristopher Carter)
  1. Maggie Brings Cash :51
  2. Hovercraft Steals Truck/Superman Fights Craft/Superman & Broken Glass 2:56
  3. Darkseid Arrives*/Orion Arrives 2:10
  4. New Genesis & Apokolips* 2:55
  5. Air Base Battle/Orion Zaps Hovercraft/Orion Wins at Air Base* 3:20
  6. Mannheim at Power Plant :33
  7. Orion Goes Back 1:24
  8. Power Plant Explodes*/Superman Sees Explosion 1:20
  • Apokolips Now! Part II (Kristopher Carter)
  1. Recap (Apokolips Now! Part II) 1:00
  2. Hamilton Has Bad News 1:06
  3. Meet Steppenwolf :26
  4. Steppenwolf Arrives*/Missiles Bring Down Superman 2:11
  5. Demons Take Over City/Attack of the Demons* 2:01
  6. Superman Puts Out Fire* 1:44
  7. Darkseid Appears* 1:00
  8. Dan Fights Demons* 1:39
  9. Apokoliptic War Machine/Darkseid Takes Control* 1:14
  10. Orion to the Rescue*/Dan's Funeral 4:42
  1. The New Batman/Superman Adventures - Twenty-Second Promo :26 (Shirley Walker)

  1. Superman: The Animated Series - Ten-Second Promo (Shirley Walker) :16
  • Little Girl Lost Part I (Lolita Ritmanis)
  1. Journey Through Space 2:43
  2. Superman Enters Chamber/Kala's Story/Superman Finds Kara 3:02
  3. Kara Flies 1:17
  4. Intergang Interest/Intergang Arrives :28
  5. Gang Fights Superman* 2:38
  6. Granny Knows Best/Kara Joins Jimmy :48
  7. Following Gang Into Building :45
  8. Granny Takes Control**** 2:52
  • Little Girl Lost Part II (Lolita Ritmanis)
  1. Recap (Little Girl Lost, Part II) :53
  2. Surrounded 1:53
  3. Superman Is Captured*/Kara Leaves for Apokolips 3:23
  4. Kara Arrives on Apokolips**** 1:18
  5. Kara Escapes Parademons**** 2:00
  6. Superman Kneels*/Darkseid's Prediction/Get Back Home* 3:31
  7. Stop Comet*/Superman Catches 2:50
  8. Supergirl's OK 1:07
  • Feeding Time (Michael McCuistion)
  1. Toxic Waste* 2:28
  2. Rudy Becomes Toxic/Goo on Superman's Finger* 1:24
  3. Parasite Saps Police* 1:16
  4. Parasite Visits LeBeau*/Parasite Saps Superman's Energy* 2:23
  5. Parasite Can't Rob Bank :32
  6. Parasite Attacks Clark/His New Meal Plan* :49
  7. Jimmy Gets Idea 2:19
  8. Superman Saves Jimmy/Saved by a Bug* 2:25
  • Legacy Part I (Shirley Walker)
  1. Planet Attack 2:20
  2. Leader Revealed 1:27
  3. Kal-El's Dream 1:20
  4. Brainwashed 2:01
  5. Supergirl Chases Robot 2:01
  6. Lex Knows :34
  7. Ready for Battle :49
  8. Kal-El Attacks Earth :57
  9. Lex Kills Kal-El 3:53
  • Legacy Part II (Shirley Walker)
  1. Recap (Legacy, Part II) :28
  2. Taken Prisoner 1:37
  3. Superman Tries to Escape 2:09
  4. Lois Springs Superman*** 3:47
  5. Lois Comforts Superman*** 2:08
  6. Return to Apokolips 1:20
  7. Superman vs. Furies 1:01
  8. Superman vs. Darkseid 2:16
  9. Darkseid Prevails 2:07
  10. Lois and Superman :46
  • Superman: The Animated Series - End Credits (Shirley Walker) :35

    Video games

    Superman 64, released for the Nintendo 64 console in 1999, was the first video game to be produced based upon the series, however it is considered to be one of the worst Superman video games and worst games ever. A second video game, Superman: Shadow of Apokolips was released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles. It was produced by a different company, and was described as "a respectable but average superhero game.

    Awards and nominations

    Annie Awards

    • 1997- Best Individual Achievement: Music in a TV Production- Shirley Walker for Superman main title theme. (nominated)
    Daytime Emmy Awards

    • 1997- Outstanding Special Class Animated Program- Bob Goodman, Jean MacCurdy, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Dan Riba, Andrea Romano, Stan Berkowitz and Hilary J. Bader. (nominated)
    • 1998 - Outstanding Special Class Animated Program- Jean MacCurdy, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Hilary Bader, Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel, Steve Gerber, Bob Goodman, Hiroyuki Aoyama, Curt Geda, Kenji Hachizaki, Butch Lukic, Toshihiko Masuda, Dan Riba, Andrea Romano and Yichir Yano (shared with The New Batman Adventures) (won)
    • 1999 - Outstanding Sound Mixing - Special Class- Tom Maydeck, Robert Hargreaves, Pat Rodman and John Hegedes (shared with The New Batman Adventures) (won)
    • 2000- Outstanding Music Direction and Composition- Lolita Ritmanis for "Fish Story." (nominated)
    • 2000- Outstanding Music Direction and Composition- Michael McCuistion for "In Brightest Day..." (nominated)
    • 2000- Outstanding Sound Editing - Special Class- Gregory Beaumont, Diane Griffen, Mark Keatts, George Brooks, Kelly Ann Foley, Robert Hargreaves, Linda Di Franco, John Hegedes. (shared with The New Batman Adventures) (nominated)

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