SNEAK PEEK: Behold the Majesty of the Remastered FLEISCHER SUPERMAN

13 IMAGES from the spectacular new Blu-ray Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943

Warner Bros. Discovery’s remastered 1940s Fleischer Superman set is out Tuesday — and my lord, is it magnificent.

These classic cartoons, which fell into the public domain years ago, have been released and re-released in various formats but they have never looked this good. Not even close.* Heck, I’ll wager that they never looked this good on the movie screens of the early ’40s. Either way, these feel totally brand new, with sharp linework, fluid motion and incredible detail.

Now, I could post actual frame grabs but as I did in February with the remastered 1968 Filmation Adventures of Batman series, I decided the best way to convey just how great these cartoons look is by putting them through the Ultimate Test: How do they look from your living room couch?

So dig these amazing 13 IMAGES that were taken on my iPhone (which explains why the framing is slighty off-kilter). The episode I chose to spotlight is The Mechanical Monsters because A) it’s probably the most famous episode, and B) we just did the story on Mezco’s new Fleischer Superman playset based on the segment:

A few thoughts:

— (*) I am not an expert in Golden Age animation. Others more well-versed than I may have a different point of view. I will say that of all the versions of these cartoons that are out there, these are the cleanest and brightest I’ve ever seen. The textures are crisp and the background detail is startling.

— The series — officially titled Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 — will be available May 16. You’ll be able to purchase it on Blu-ray or digitally (from Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and more).

— Between this, 1967 Filmation Aquaman and 1968 Filmation Batman getting the remaster treatment, I’m hopeful that Filmation’s 1966-68 New Adventures of Superman — with the Superboy shorts — is next.

— Oh, and one more thing: We’ve got some groovy news for you about the ’68 Filmation Batman series. Check out the link below.


— Remastered 1968 FILMATION BATMAN Now Available for Digital Download. Click here.

— The TOP 13 FLEISCHER SUPERMAN Cartoons. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I have heard very disappointing reviews of this release. So what’s the truth??

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    • Truth here is subjective. I love the way the new version looks. Others don’t. Perhaps these images will help, perhaps not. I recommend the set, though, as noted above.

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      • I guess it depends on what you wanna see. For me, these are no longer the original 1940s Cartoons. WB had gorgeous Film they scanned, and the powers that be decided to “Update” these from looking like Cel Animation, Filmic Art to Digital Art.

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    • Old school animation fans are full of shit 99% when it comes to complaining about restorations. That’s not to say there haven’t been genuinely bad releases but I would never take them at their word

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  2. Like this review much better than the one i read last week. I have had this on per-order for some time. Always have faith in 13th Dimension !!!

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  3. Like this review much better than the one i read last week. Have had this on pre-order for some time. I have faith in 13th Dimension

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  4. Like this review much better than the one i read last week.. Have had this on pre-order for some time. I have much faith in 13th Dimension

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  5. For the record, Fleischer Studios only made the first nine SUPERMAN cartoons, the last being TERROR ON THE MIDWAY.

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  6. Regarding the linked article roasting this release…

    I’ll never stop rolling my eyes at the purists who lose their minds over grain. I’ve seen cleaned 4K77 with all it’s original, glorious grain intact. It looked like the film took place in a constant sandstorm of dark specks.

    Grain is original, it’s pure, and it’s for projection. In a modern living room, at a normal distance, on a bright 4K flat-panel, it doesn’t belong.

    Furthermore, if you’re seriously going to sut back and watch cartoon shorts and notice a handful less mb/s in bitrate, then kudos on the curse of owning eagle-like vision

    So, yes, I’ll get this and enjoy the best version of this series for modern TVs.

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    • That about sums up my feelings on the matter. I’m not an expert — I just know what I like. And to these eyes, it’s a terrific set.

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  7. Nope, hard pass.

    I have seen enough poorly-restored (meaning, overly-cleaned) releases to notice the difference. I will lean towards an expert opinion than not. Why wouldn’t I?

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  8. This isn’t just about grain, the color is simplified and the filtering took both the sharpness of the line-work and depth of detail in backgrounds away to some degree.
    If your a Fleischer fan, the quality and depth of their background art is almost as important as the animation itself. Paramount and Fleischer dumped a lot of money in these, it’s a pity to see that effort blanched away, not because it was missing in the original scans, but by errant filtering.

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    • I 100% agree. The beautiful Painted Backgrounds now look like they belong in a Bruce Timm Superman… not that that’s a bad thing, but these beautiful Cartoons were made with Paint and Paper and Celluloid, not Computers.

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      • I’m so conflicted with this release. The screenshot comparisons people have linked here ( do seem to really miss that film grain which, whether you like it or not, is part of how these were presented originally. If you look at the original cells scanned at high quality (on this very site and compare it to the screenshots above or in the linked article they do look like they are missing a lot of fine detail. Look at the scan of Superman holding the wires. So much texture in the background and very crisp lines on Supes. A shot from that same scene on that blogspot show a very smoothed out background with no texture. It’s tough to say 80+ years later what the creators intent was. The digital bit’s note of artifacting due to the low bitrate is also a concern, but we haven’t seen any examples of this yet. Ultimately, I love these cartoons and I’d like to see them presented in the best way possible and with Warner’s Superman track record I’m not confident this is that.

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  9. The problem with this disc that it wasn’t done by Warner Archive, but their in staff home video department instead.Obviously people that are saying (which isn’t a whole lot) the films look good don’t really know much on restoring films for home video release. The biggest problem plaguing this disc, is the dreaded use of DVNR which is good when restoring live action films, but not on cartoons. Ruins the artwork. Also I’m hearing that all the films have the wrong end music, which was evendent on Warner’s DVD release. The sad part is these cartoons deserve better treatment and sadly fans won’t get to see that on this blu ray release.

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  10. Collecting cartoons on home media since the 1990s. Bought the last two releases. Not really keen to pay again. Besides, wasn’t the previous official release the definitive restoration?

    In my experience, following a definitive restoration comes the contemporary fad version. Current fads involve leaving the tv settings for “soap opera” on (I dont know or care the official designation). Current audiences have dreadful taste in picture quality, the same taste that informs burgers with every single topping available as “so good!”.

    No, it isn’t. So I’ll trust the critical reviews regarding film grain etc and leave this one to the audience it was intended for. Where’s a Talkartoons/Betty Boop set, anyway?

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  11. The problem with this release is too much DNR Digital Noise Reduction was used to remove the film grain from The iconic Max Fleischer’s Superman cartoons for this Blu-Ray release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Warner Archive should of worked on this release. Every time Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and not Warner Archive has worked on a animated tv shows or theatrical shorts for Blu-Ray Disc they remove too much of the grain on titles such as Scooby-Doo Where Are You! The Complete Series , and any of the DCAU titles such as Batman TAS , Superman TAS and Batman Beyond. When Warner Archive has worked on a animated title for Blu-Ray Disc for their tv shows and animated films and shorts it’s always looked good case in point Justice League Unlimited. I think Warner Archive should work on any WB catalog titles for films , tv shows and animation more than 5 years old they know how to take great care of catalog titles and do it right.

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