Jerry Siegel

The Adventures of Superpup (1958, Cal Howard)

What better way to capitalize on the success of TV’s “The Adventures of Superman” with a kid’s show recasting the characters as dogs. What’s strangest about “The Adventures of Superpup”–not surprisingly, it never went past pilot–isn’t the Little People in gigantic dog helmets (no, “Superpup” isn’t a cartoon), but how it handles the Superman mythos.

The dog costumes are just weird–especially since the script’s for a cartoon–the characters are a lot more interesting.

First off, Bark Bent has a mouse (or rat) living in his drawer at work. This rodent is the real hero. See, Superpup isn’t much of a superhero. He mostly loafs about at work, napping at his desk. The rodent is the real hero.

“Superpup” isn’t even schlocky bad. It’s just a terrible idea, incompetently produced and directed.

Well, I guess it does show what a real live action cartoon would look like.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Cal Howard; screenplay by Howard and Whitney Ellsworth, based on a concept by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; director of photography, Joseph F. Biroc; edited by Sam E. Waxman; produced by Ellsworth.

Starring Billy Curtis (Super Pup/Bark Bent), Ruth Delfino (Pamela Poodle), Angelo Rossitto (Terry Bite), Frank Delfino (Sergeant Beagle), Harry Monty (Professor Sheepdip) and Sadie Delfino (Wolfingham / Montgomery Mouse).


Superman Classic (2011, Robb Pratt)

While it only runs a minute (I think), Superman Classic–which director Pratt describes as a “super fan film”–is pretty, well, super. Only the final moment disappoints, mostly because it’s a promise Pratt’s not going to keep.

Classic is mostly hand drawn animation, which gives the cartoon the “fan film” feel occasionally, but Pratt professionally packages it. The music is from the old serials and sets a certain tone. But the backgrounds remind of the Fleischer cartoons. And Pratt gives Clark Kent mannerisms straight out of Christopher Reeve’s essaying of the character.

Not to mention John Newton (who once played Superboy on TV) voices Superman.

Classic feels like a thoughtful, warm homage to the various Superman moving pictures.

The first moments, between Clark and Lois are the best. In a few lines, Pratt establishes the classic banter with some modern details.

I wish Classic were just twenty seconds longer….

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Robb Pratt; screenplay by Pratt, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; animated by Pratt, Steven Pierre Gordon and James Baker.

Starring John Newton (Clark Kent / Superman) and Jennifer Newton (Lois Lane).


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