The Editor’s pick of videos by awfully talented people.
The temptation to start this paragraph with “Look! Up in the Interwebs . . .” was almost overwhelming. (Ok, I guess it was inescapable after all.) The character of Superman has settled deeply in the collective psyche of the West, despite the post-hero, emo-Spiderman angst that now rules most of pop-culture. Even the most jaded postmodernist nerd-ophile surely feels a tug deep inside at the words of that classic introduction ( . . . more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound . . .). The tug of a hero, pure of heart and motive, taking on impossible odds and prevailing by strength and wit.
Robb Pratt felt the tug — has always felt the tug. Creating this short was “all passion,” Pratt told Animation Magazine in a recent interview. Superman was one of the reasons he wanted to be an animator in the first place, he said. His Superman gives special homage to the original 1940s cartoons of Max Fleischer, seminal works of animation that have inspired generations of artists like Pratt.
For Superman Classic, he integrated elements from all the Man of Steel’s film and television incarnations through the decades. He used a combination of digital and traditional techniques — drawing the animation by hand on paper, but coloring it digitally and setting the results in a digitally drawn background. This hybrid, bringing the subtle artistry of traditional animation together with the efficiency of digital techniques, may just be the front-runner of a new era in art house 2-D animation. We sure hope so, and we hope to see more of Superman Classic and plenty more side projects of passion from Pratt.
Robb Pratt was a traditional 2-D Animator at Disney from the end of the Disney Renaissance era through the 2-D shutdown that followed Home on the Range. He now works in the story department for Disney TV.