By Ben Wheeler
THIS CARTOON from seven decades ago depicting the first ever moving image Superman shows just how timeless this iconic story is when compared to its modern blockbuster version.
The animation, originally released in 1941, is the first in a 17-part series which were the formative televisual productions of the DC comics favourite.
The footage starts by explaining the now well-known story of Superman’s birth on the planet Krypton before he was sent to earth and how he now masquerades as Clark Kent “a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper.”
The short story involves a villain, only identified as ‘mad scientist’ and not the familiar Lex Luthor who modern day fans may be more familiar with, attempting to destroy the fictional city of Metropolis with what appears to be a large ray beam, having also captured Superman’s colleague and friend, Lois Lane.
With Lois tied up in his lair, the mad scientist asks: “So you want a story? I’ll give you the greatest story of destruction the world has ever known!”
However, he is foiled when Clark Kent hears of the news over the radio, as he quickly changes into his alter ego and proceeds to save the city and rescue the girl.
The clip finishes in the office of the newspaper editor who congratulates Lois on “a great scoop”, before she replies: “Yes chief, thanks to Superman” as Kent sits smugly behind her.
Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first introduced to the world in 1938 in the first ever edition of Action Comics, whose publisher National Allied Publications is now known worldwide as DC Comics.
This first television incarnation of the superhero came just three years later and was the first in a long line of adaptations of ‘The Man of Steel’.
The original Superman Hollywood blockbuster was released in 1978 and starred the late Christopher Reeve in the lead role.
Reeve famously and tragically became a quadriplegic in May 1995 after being thrown from his horse and was confined to a wheelchair and required a ventilator until he died in October 2004, aged 52.
Since Reeve’s passing a handful of Hollywood’s leading men have donned the famous red cape in various reboots including Brandon Routh, Henry Cavill and most recently Ben Affleck.
Affleck reprises the role in the new Justice League film which is due to hit cinemas next month.