[Blu-Ray Review] ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943’; Now Available From DC – Warner Bros

Max Fleischer Superman, Blu rayMax Fleischer’s Superman (1941-1943) [Blu-Ray] amazon-cart-logo

Cast: Bud Collyer, Joan Alexander (VOICES)

Release Date: May 16, 2023

A Review By: Kevin Lovell

Disc Rating: 6/10



Take flight with the original 1941-1943 Superman cartoons! These 17 animated theatrical shorts were the first to launch Superman from comic books to the screen. The pioneering adventures feature the Man of Steel battling mad scientists and giant robots, thwarting the Nazis, and saving tenacious reporter Louis Lane. Newly mastered in high definition, these icons of animation look and sound better than ever.

Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.

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‘Max Fleischer’s Superman’ speeds home onto Blu-ray, featuring 17 classic animated theatrical shorts from 1941-1943 that featured the first onscreen appearance of the Man of Steel and showcased our hero as he takes on everything from mad scientists and their pets to the Nazis and even giant robots in his ongoing quest to help humanity, and of course to keep his beloved Lois Lane safe. Now the entire family can relive these iconic animated shorts which have all been newly remastered for the release.

The 17 theatrical animated shorts included on this new ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943’ Blu-ray release were initially released between September 26, 1941 and July 30, 1943 and the Blu-ray features a handful of shorts both from Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios. The progression and changes in the animation style and appearance is noticeable throughout, largely in how they become sharper around the smooth edges and fluent in their movement, yet each approach is rewarding in its own right and features its own unique and commendable style. The voice talent featured on the shorts is led by popular radio actors Clayton “Bud” Collyer and Joan Alexander who reprise their voice roles of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane respectively; roles that they previously portrayed in ‘The Adventures of Superman’ radio show, and most of the stars within deliver solid voice performances for the most part that only helped these shorts to become (and remain) so memorable and iconic.

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The ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman’ animated theatrical shorts were certainly well ahead of their time when they first debuted in the early ‘40s and the impressive and often immaculately detailed animation they utilize is still quite impressive in its own right today, especially when compared with many older cartoons, even those released decades after these first made their debut. Many elements within are certainly dated and a few of the shorts can definitely even be somewhat racist, yet at the same time it’s quite difficult to ignore just how remarkable they are in other areas and how they likely paved the way for many onscreen Superman adventures to come. With plenty of high-flying action and excitement to serve up and no shortage of dangerous challenges for the Man of Steel to tackle and overcome, these animated gems are very much worth revisiting and for those who’ve never had the pleasure but are fans of Superman, I would definitely encourage trying to do so whenever possible.

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s single disc Blu-ray release of ‘‘Max Fleischer’s Superman’ brings home 17 iconic theatrical animated shorts newly remastered from 4K, 16-bit scans of Fleischer’s original 35mm successive exposure negatives and significantly cleaned up as well. The end result is somewhat mixed as it does offer surprisingly clean, sharp and smooth video presentations for these animated shorts that look cleaner and sharper than ever. Unfortunately it also results in much of their original look and style being removed and instead of embracing the grain and artifacts that accompanied them, it over-polishes them and removes the majority of it almost entirely which will leave it up to each consumer as to whether they want to own the shorts in this manner; something that some casual viewers will probably embrace while dedicated fans who are adamant about retaining the original appearance likely won’t be too enthused with these remastered presentations. The release also features dual mono DTS-HD MA soundtracks that do sound rather great altogether, in addition to a few previously released extras and one brand new Featurette exclusive to this release.

max fleischer superman blu ray review


The Blu-ray release of ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation on all 17 included animated shorts, newly remastered and with their original 1.37:1 Full Frame Aspect Ratio. These newly remastered video presentations are somewhat of a mixed bag and each individual’s personal preferences will largely determine how they feel about these new presentations. On one hand the new video presentations look sharp, smooth and quite detailed with very little video noise, distortion of grain visible throughout which initially might elicit a positive reaction. The negative to this is the fact that these notably old shorts always had a lot of noise, grain and artifacts present in their original source material and instead of retaining much of this and therefore the notably filmic appearance that accompanies it, they’ve been scrubbed a bit too clean and the end result is that they only slightly resemble how they initially looked (the included Featurettes offer a look at some of the original presentations prior to being remastered which provides a better idea of the visual changes within). For those who aren’t overly picky about such things or prefer their Blu-ray content to be scrubbed clean then these will probably work great for you, but for those who are adamant about maintaining the original appearance, you’ll likely have some complaints here. Overall, these are good looking high definition video presentations, but perhaps a bit too over-polished and the result is a mixed offering that might be better received by some folks than others.


The Blu-ray release includes a 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 17 animated shorts included within. These lossless soundtracks offer up crisp, clean and surprisingly sharp audio presentations on each of the included shorts. They do a solid job of balancing the various audio elements within and keep everything from dialogue to action effects and other tidbits sharing the space well and ensuring that every audio element within remains clean and fully audible throughout, never allowing one element to conflict with or contradict another. Overall, these are a very nice 2.0 DTS-HD MA mono soundtracks that do their job well and shouldn’t have any trouble satisfying fans or newcomers.


The Blu-ray release of ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943’ features a few entertaining Featurettes including the brand new Featurette ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman: Speeding Toward Tomorrow’ (running approximately 13 minutes in length), along with the previously released Featurettes ‘First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series’ (running approximately 13 minutes), and ‘The Man, The Myth, Superman’ (approximately 13 minutes).

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*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.

Disc Rating: 6/10

Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray & Digital from DC Comics & Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

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