Ruby-Spears Superman

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Beau Weaver as Clark Kent / Superman
Ginny McSwain as Lois Lane
Michael Bell as Lex Luthor
Mark L. Taylor as James ‘Jimmy’ Olsen
Stanley Ralph Ross as Perry White
Lynne Marie Stewart as Jessica Morganberry
Tress MacNeille as Ma Kent
Alan Oppenheimer as Jonathan ‘Pa’ Kent

Special Features:
Corporation of the Corrupt: The Rise of Lexcorp

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Subtitles
Running Time: 309 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“As a 50th anniversary gift, DC Comics legendary Man of Steel got a brand-new Saturday morning cartoon. Produced by Ruby-Spears, this new Superman series brought back a few familiar foes, along with new unfriendly faces, for weekly battles and a peek into the private life of the man with the S on his chest.

The final four minutes of each Superman episode were devoted to a brief snapshot from the Superman Family Album. These biographical segments showed the kids at home what it was like to grow up as the most powerful boy in Smallville. Unfortunately, super powers only made awkward childhood and adolescent situations even more awkward, as young Clark was forced to deal with his first day at school, an overnight scouting campout, getting a drivers license, his first date, and more.”

“Ruby-Spears Superman” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
I thought I had seen every Superman animated series, so I was a bit shocked to discover I had never heard of “Ruby-Spears Superman.” Originally aired in 1988, it featured animation kind of in the Asian style of “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe,” and “Dungeons and Dragons.” It was also unique in that it used some of the John Williams “Superman” themes from the movies. As far as I know, this was the only series to do so.

The format was a half hour long. The first twenty minutes was a solo Superman adventure in Metropolis. The remaining five minutes was a short adventure set when Superman was younger in Smallville. Entitled “Superman Family Album,” it showed him as a kid and a teen dealing with his new powers.

Comic fans will note that this series followed the lead of John Byrne’s run on Superman where Lex Luthor was an evil businessman, not necessarily the stereotypical comic book villain he was previously. Also noteworthy is that Marv Wolfman was a writer and story supervisor on the series. Wolfman is the creator of Blade and a writer on many other Marvel and DC series.

As cool and noteworthy as this series is, the stories aren’t particularly complex. They’re your basic comic book stories from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. They feature a one dimensional villain, some big threat to Metropolis, and Superman saving the day while keeping his secret identity intact. This is more along the lines of the Superfriends storytelling rather than the more adult oriented Superman animated series from 1996.

I’d recommend “Ruby-Spears Superman” to any fans of Superman, especially those that enjoyed the Superfriends adventures. This is also a great DVD for entertaining kids.

There is only one bonus feature on the DVD. It’s a mockumentary entitled “Corporation of the Corrupt: The Rise of Lexcorp” which details the development of Luthor’s corporation. It’s done straight as if Lexcorp was a real company. It’s amusing for a few minutes, but gets old pretty quick.

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