Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

I'd heard of these Max Fleischer Superman cartoons, but I never saw one until recently, and this is it:



Very different from later versions of Superman. The graphic design here is like the pure essence of Dieselpunk, the very beginning of the style.

It's also a very technically accomplished cartoon, every bit as good in that department as anything that Walt Disney was doing at the same time.

I also like the feisty Lois Lane— she doesn't just wait around for Superman to show up and rescue her; if gangsters are shooting at her with machine guns, she picks up one herself and shoots back!


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Comment by Steve E on February 10, 2011 at 7:48am
These were a big influence on the 90's Batman The Animated Series with its 'Dark Deco' style http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEx9r5enZsk
Comment by Pilsner Panther on February 6, 2011 at 7:32am

As I understand it, Paramount Pictures gave the Fleischer brothers almost carte blanche on Superman. That is, a blank check to make these cartoons as good as they wanted to, with a Disney-level budget, because Superman was such a great sensation in the original comic books.

The deal was something like, "Okay, go ahead and give this series your best shot! We've got a hot character here, so put your best animators and layout and story men on it, and we'll write the checks." 

This arrangement didn't last very long, because of a major financial battle between the Fleischers and Paramount... which, of course, the brothers lost. It didn't help the situation that they weren't even getting along with each other at the time.

Not even Superman could have fixed things, apparently.


Comment by Larry on February 4, 2011 at 9:18am
I agree, Pilsner. Damn, now that's my idea of a woman. Gorgeous, knows how to use a gun and willing to use it to.
Comment by Tome Wilson on February 4, 2011 at 8:40am

"The Mechanical Monsters" is one of my all time favorite cartoons.

Not only did it inspire the robot designs in Sky Captain, but it also copied the plot from the pulp novellete "The Spider: Robot Titans of Gotham."

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