To what is certain to be the absolute delight of animation fans everywhere, Warner Bros. has posted nearly all of the Fleischer Superman cartoons to its YouTube channel. The animated shorts have been in the public domain for some time, Warner Bros. released them on DVD and Blu-ray years ago, and Netflix also hosts the material for subscribers, but this news is still significant for those who’d like to watch the shorts for free online.
For many, those Superman shorts, created in the early 1940s, defined the Man of Steel in the same way Batman: The Animated Series, which draws much of its inspiration from the Fleischer cartoons, defined the Dark Knight for a whole generation. Seventy years later, they are still beautiful, and remain an inspiration to many.
Aside from being great Superman cartoons, they’re fantastic sci-fi stories. Superman fights mechanical jewel thieves, giant magnets, and electric volcanoes, and it all has an epic and timeless feel to it that’s almost indescribable.
And when I think of Superman, one of the first images that comes to mind will always be this:
Again, they are all available now (with the exception of “The Mechanical Monsters” and “The Arctic Giant,” for some reason) on the Warner Bros. YouTube channel, but you can check all of them out below if you like.