The Very First “Superman” Cartoon, From September, 1941

Action Comics #1

Action Comics #1

This is the 1st of 17 “Superman” videos that will be blogged her over the next two weeks.

Superman,”or “Superman, the Mad Scientist,” was first aired on September 26, 1941, and was produced by Fleischer Studios. A video copy of “Superman” is available at the Internet Archive website and is embedded below.

For most people of my father and grandfather’s generations, this is where the “Superman” saga started, despite his actual first appearance in Action Comics #1, on the 18th of April, 1938. According to the LA Times February 23rd, 2010 article “Action Comics No. 1 Sale Pushes Superman to New Heights,” ComicConnect.com “mediated” the sale of a original mint condition Action Comics #1 for more than $1 million dollars, as in $1,000,000.00. Of course, gossip abounds concerning private sale prices, but this is the best and highest source that I could verify.

Oh, and a passing word to the relatively clueless. I don’t think anyone has ever seriously debated whether or not Superman is a “space alien” or a “superhero.” It’s a rather irrelevant question in the comic book, cartoon, science fiction, fantasy, and superhero universes. If we start tossing “space aliens” out of the cartoon comics superhero cannon, we’d loss all the Green Lantern (first appearance in All-American Comics #16, July 1940) characters, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, John Stewart, Green Arrow (maybe), Hank Hall, Starman, Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) depending on which universe you fallow him in, and many others. The point being that “superhero” is not a species, it is a just job description.

Besides, if you redacted “superhero” to only those that are “human,” than you would remove a huge potion of the intellectual discourse within the superhero mythos, i.e. “What is human?” and “What is a good human?” and “What is the humane thing to do?” These are not just idea questions. They are part and parcel of the superhero psychology, and the real tension behind all the action-packed pages or movie scenes. If you take these questions out, all you have is the J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” which was, let’s face it, a total yawn.

And now, “Superman“:

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