Top 10 Superman Cartoon Episodes - Mania.com



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Top 10 Superman Cartoon Episodes

The very Best of the Man of Steel

By Tim Janson     June 14, 2013
Source: Mania.com

In our timeline of Superman history in media we talked about the Man of Steel’s long run of success in animation dating back to the 1940s.  Today we look at those animated series a little bit closer as we pick ten of the best Superman cartoons ever made.  Rather than try to labor through ranking them I’ve listed them chronologically.  All of these cartoons are available on DVD and even Blu-ray in some cases.  Where applicable I’ve included a YouTube link to these shorts as well.  Celebrate Superman’s 75th Anniversary with these ten great animated gems!
 
Title: Superman (aka “The mad Scientist)
Series: Fleischer Studios
Debut Date:  September 26, 1941
 
The very first Superman cartoon!  A short prologue tells the story of the destruction of Krypton and Superman’s arrival on Earth.  A mad scientist threatens to destroy the Daily Planet building unless he is paid a million dollars.  Superman has to fight through a barrage of blasts of the scientist’s death ray in order to save the day.

Title: The Mechanical Monsters
Series: Fleischer Studios
Debut Date:  November 28, 1941
 
This is one of my favorite Superman Cartoons of all-time.  A Pure gem of Art Deco and pulp Sci-Fi design! A mad scientist is using his army of giant robots to rob banks and museums of cash and precious gems.  When one of the robots kidnaps Lois, Superman heads to the scientist’s lair for a knock-down battle against the robots!

Title: The Toys of Doom
Series: The New Adventures of Superman
Debut Date:  October 22, 1966
 
Lois and Jimmy find themselves the prisoner of the Toyman after being tipped off about his location. When destructive machines create havoc around Metropolis, Superman races around defeating them, until he eventually ends up at Toyman's hideout where he defeats the Toy Army that awaits him, saving Lois and Jimmy in the process, and leading Toyman right into the arms of the Police.

Title: Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time:
Series: Ruby Spears Superman
Debut Date:  November 5, 1998
 
Wonder Woman comes to Metropolis to seek Superman’s help to capture an evil sorceress named Cyrene who has escaped her magical Amazonian prison.  This episode was written by longtime comic book writer Marv Wolfman.

Title: The Last Son of Krypton
Series: Superman: The Animated Series
Debut Date:  September 6, 1996
 
This three part episode was the series’ debut telling in greater detail than ever before about Krypton’s destruction, in part due to Brainiac.  Part two tells of Kal-El crashing on earth, being adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, growing up in Smallville, and learning of his Kryptonian Origins.  The final part takes Clark to Metropolis and his job with the Daily Planet and his debut as Superman.

Title: Brave New Metropolis
Series: Superman: The Animated Series
Debut Date:  September 27, 1997
 
Lois ends up in an alternate, Dystopian version of Metropolis where she was killed.  Superman, distraught over her death, joins forces with Lex Luthor to rule the world as tyrannical dictators.
 
 
Title: Worlds’s Finest
Series: Superman: The Animated Series
Debut Date:  October  4, 1997
 
Another three-part episode as Superman teams up with Batman.  The Joker finds a piece of Kryptonite and makes an offer to Lex Luthor to kill Superman for a billion dollars.  Batman follows Joker to Metropolis and initially has a run-in with Superman before them team to take down Luthor and the Joker.

Title: Worlds’s Finest
Series: Superman: Apokolips Now!
Debut Date:  February 7, 1998
 
Darkseid attacks Earth, unleashing a host of Apokolips demons.  Superman is capture and tortured and paraded through Metropolis for all to see.  But rather than give up, the people of metropolis fight back, renewing Superman’s strength to resist.  The High Father of New Genesis arrives to save the Earth and force Darkseid to retreat but the victory is bittersweet as Darkseid, out of pure spite, kills a cop who had helped Superman.

Superman/Batman Public Enemies
Series: DC Universe Original Film
Debut Date: September 29, 2009
 
Lex Luthor is the new President of the United States and immediately begins to rein in superheroes, notably his archenemy, Superman.  He creates a super-powered task force that includes Captain Atom, Major Force, Black Lightning, Power Girl, and Starfire.  Knowing Superman will never go along with his plans, Lex uses the crisis of a Kryptonian comet on a collision course with Earth, to proclaim Superman an outlaw and place a one billion dollar bounty on his head.
 
Superman finds himself in unfamiliar territory, labeled a criminal and allies with Batman to take Lex down.  That is not going to be easy, however.  Every super villain wants to claim that bounty and soon Superman and Batman find themselves battling hordes of villains including Solomon Grundy, Silver Banshee, Giganta, Mongul, and Gorilla Grodd.  They even have to go toe-to-toe with fellow heroes Hawkman and Captain Marvel.  The Crisis deepens as Superman and Batman race to find a way to stop Lex and destroy the meteor before it strikes the Earth.

Superman/Batman Public Enemies
Series: DC Universe Original Film
Debut Date: September 28, 2010
 
An object from space crashes into Gotham harbor. It turns out to be yet another Kryptonian spaceship, this time carrying Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, and the future Supergirl.
 
While Superman welcomes his cousin warmly, Batman is concerned that her lack of training with her powers could endanger innocent people. He conspires with Wonder Woman to kidnap Kara and take her to Themyscira where she can be properly trained to use her abilities. However someone else has his eye on Kara…Darkseid! Darkseid wants Kara be the new leader of his Furies and sends a horde of Doomsday clones to capture and bring her back to Apokolips.  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, along with Big Barda, journey to Apokolips to try and rescue Kara.
 

 

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 12
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DarthBob 6/14/2013 5:08:09 AM

What...no Superfriends episodes made the list?

larkcall 6/14/2013 5:39:43 AM

I think you have some of the episode titles wrong.

goldeneyez 6/14/2013 5:49:22 AM

 Think you got the date wrong for the Wonder Woman Superman episode.  I thought those came out in the 80s not the 90s.  I remember watching them on Saturday Morning cartoons on CBS as a kid.  Plus that if it came out in '98 it would have been running concurrently at the same time as Superman TAS.  Guessing it was just a typo.

That episode seems like it could have been an episode of Jem & the Holograms with the art direction & voice acting of the female characters.  It also seems like Superman is a horrible ally to request going against a Sorceress in hindsight.  Dr. Fate or Zatana would have been much better options.

I'd also nominate the episode of Superman TAS where he teams up with Green Lantern.  Sinestro pretty much beats the crap out of Superman... but it is a great episode.  There were some great Justice League episodes too like the animated version of "For the Man Who Has Everything."

CalamityJohnson 6/14/2013 8:36:00 AM

Yes, goldeneyez, any superman episode compendium that doesn't include, "For the Man Who Has Everything" is just incomplete. That episode was based on an Alan Moore story. It's one of the most emotionally/psychologically relevant Superman cartoons ever. I would have to include the two parter with Lobo out in space as a classic Superman episode, although maybe it was more of a Lobo highlight than a Superman one. Any Superman episode that featured Darkseid or his minions rocked.

tjanson 6/14/2013 8:42:42 AM

Yes the last entery should read Batman/Superman Apocalypse

shac2846 6/14/2013 11:36:09 AM

 Next to the Superman Animated Series by Bruce Timm the Max Fliescher stuff is truly the next best superman animated work (direct dvd films aside). Which Bruce Timm has said was hugely influencial in the making of superman the animated series from the 90's. I went to pick up a fathers day present at best buy and they had a superman media sale display. Picked up a dvd with 17 shorts for 9 bucks. Worth every penny.

monkeyfoot 6/14/2013 12:14:27 PM

The Mechanical Monsters cartoon for Superman was a big inspiration for the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The movies opening scenes of giant robots marching through New York is sometimes shot for shot the same as the scenes of the robots from the Fleischer cartoon.

I like how Det. Dan Turpin in the Superman TAS series was specifically drawn to look like Jack Kirby who actually created Darkseid, Apokolips, and the New Gods. Killed by your creations!

Those Apokolips episodes were some of the most emotionally powerful ones of the series for me.

Tevii 6/14/2013 4:17:42 PM

Superman vs. the elite was much better a movie than Apocalypse and the episode "The Late Mr. Kent" was pretty good too

abrdn419 6/15/2013 8:42:25 AM

 sorry but some of those choices we picked because of they were easy to find on Youtube. Not because they were great supperman cartoons.

jochimus 6/15/2013 8:45:57 AM

ANY list of Best Superman animated episodes that doesn't have "The Late Mr. Kent" on it is just plain not right, IMO, no matter what else is on the list.

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