The classic '40s Max Fleischer Superman cartoons are getting a new digital remaster

Max Fleischer's Superman cover art
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

Almost since Superman first debuted in 1938's Action Comics #1, he's been adapted into other media. And some of the most famous early adaptations of Superman come from legendary animator Max Fleischer, whose animated theatrical Superman shorts ran from 1941 through 1943. 

Now, Warner Bros. Discovery is collecting the best of those cartoons in digital HD and Blu-ray on May 16, with a newly remastered set of 17 of Fleischer's Superman shorts.

"Warner Bros. Discovery’s advanced remastering process began with a 4K, 16-bit scan of Fleischer’s original 35mm successive exposure negative," explains the official announcement. 

"Staying true to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37-to-1, the highest quality raw image was then scanned and then entered into the recombine process – utilizing special proprietary software to merge the successive exposure Technicolor negatives into a single RGB color image," it continues. "The end results are pristine animated shorts that have been restored to the animators’ originally intended production quality."

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

The Superman animated shorts originally ran concurrently with the popular Adventures of Superman radio show, which originated many aspects of Superman's classic mythos including Superman's biggest weakness, Kryptonite.

Due to the popularity of The Adventures of Superman on the radio, the show's Clark Kent/Superman actor Bud Collyer also portrays the character in the animated series, along with his radio co-star Joan Alexander as Lois Lane.

Other actors in the Fleischer animated shorts include Jackson Beck as the narrator and as Clark Kent and Lois Lane's boss at the Daily Planet Perry White, along with additional voices by Jack Mercer, Grant Richards, Julian Noa, Lee Royce, Max Smith, Sam Parker, and Carl Meyer.

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George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)