Zack Snyder & Bruce Timm Animate 75 Years of Superman History in Two Minutes
As part of the ongoing celebration of the 75th anniversary of Superman, Warner Bros. Animation’s Bruce Timm and Man of Steel director Zack Snyder collaborated on a two-minute film that observes some of Superman’s more memorable adventures. The animation includes homages to original creators Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster to contemporary artists like Jim Lee, with stops along the way that give props to Curt Swan, Dan Jurgens, Neal Adams, Andy Warhol, Fleisher Studios, Alex Ross, the Smallville television series, Christopher Reeve, George Reeves, Henry Cavil and Timm’s own work on Superman: The Animated Series.
“It was Zack Snyder’s idea,” Timm told Entertainment Weekly. “We had approached him about maybe doing a short for the DC Nation program on Cartoon Network. He said, ‘I’ll think about it,’ and then he had this idea to do basically the entire history of Superman in, like, a minute. We said, ‘Okay … whoooo.’ We started working and quickly realized there was no way to do it, even in a minute.”
Timm, best known for his design, directing and otherwise overseeing such DC Comics-based animation projects like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, said that beyond the obvious technical challenges involved with changing artistic styles and using as few hard cuts as possible, the most difficult part of creaitng the two-minute short was curating 75 years of Superman moments. What made the cut was of course the original appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1; fights with Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Darkseid and of course Doomsday; a nod to the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline; the modern “electro-Supes” version of the Superman Red/Superman Blue adventure; some Kingdom Come action; Superman getting punched by Muhammed Ali;
Superman fighting giant robots from the hugely influential Fleischer cartoons of the ’40s; Christopher Reeve’s iconic sendoff from the end of his Superman films; the infamous Jimmy Olsen-as-Turtle-Boy cover; the superpets; the Super-Friends; and Henry Cavill’s flight from Man of Steel.
“People are going to be arguing about it,” Timm said. “‘Why is that in there, but this isn’t?’ We had lots of different meetings about it. ‘What has to be in here? What would be nice to be in here but is not absolutely essential?’”
EW also notes that the short film’s music, which includes cues from John Williams’ iconic score for 1978’s Superman: The Movie as well as Hans Zimmer’s work in this year’s Man of Steel, was mashed-up by Zimmer himself with an 80-piece orchestra.
The animation can be viewed at EW’s site and will be available on the Man of Steel Blu-ray release in November.
You may begin listing your favorite unrepresented Superman moments below.