Produced by TV animation stalwarts Joe Ruby and Ken Spears through their Ruby Spears production company and distributed by Warner Brothers Television, this classic (and highly underrated) animated gem aired Saturday mornings on CBS from September 17th to December 10th, 1988.
This show was one of two Superman oriented TV shows (and the best of the two IMO) that debuted in 1988 to commemorate the Man of Steel’s 50th anniversary. The other was Superboy, which aired in syndication and was later renamed The Adventures of Superboy in its later seasons. Both began airing right smack in the sweet spot of John Byrne’s (and other talents) fabled tenure on the Superman comics.
Featured voice talents were:
-Beau Weaver (Clark/Superman)
-Ginny McSwain (Lois, Ursa and Faora; in addition to those roles, she was also the series’ voice director, a position she later served on The Batman)
-Tress MacNeille (Martha Kent, as well as multiple roles on The Simpsons, and Dot Warner on Animaniacs, among a legion of other gigs)
-Alan Oppenheimer (Jonathan Kent; in addition to that, he also voiced Skeletor and Man-At-Arms (among others) on He-Man and the Masters of The Universe and the voice of Falkor in The Neverending Story)
-Rene Auberjonois (General Zod; also Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with roles on Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, among other shows)
-Chris Latta (assorted roles; Cobra Commander on G.I. Joe and Starscream on Transformers)
-Nancy Cartwright (assorted roles; also the voice of Bart Simpson)
-Frank Welker (again, assorted voices; also Darkseid on Super Friends, Klaw on Inspector Gadget, Ray Stantz, Slimer and the Boogeyman (among others) on The Real Ghostbusters and Megatron on Transformers, among a galaxy of many roles on other shows and in movies as well)
Comic book legend Marv Wolfman served as the show’s Story Editor in addition to being a principal writer for the series (while also writing The Adventures of Superman comic book at the same time) along with comic alum Steve Gerber and comic legend Gil Kane served as the principal character designer.
As good as this series was, it had a short run at 13 episodes. Each episode opened to a variation of the John Williams Superman theme and consisted of two parts: a main story set in the present starring Superman, and one afterward that was set in Clark’s youth and showcased a story from the Kent family album.
Have you seen the Ruby Spears Superman series? If so, what do you think of it? If you haven’t seen it, would you like to see it come to DC Universe so that you can see what the hubbub is about?
Let’s discuss this fun show that remains the only animated Superman TV series that has yet to find its proper home on DC Universe (hopefully it will in the near future).