Veteran cartoon creator Genndy Tartakovsky, the creative mind behind such series as Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory, recently revealed his designs for an animated adaptation of Superman that unfortunately never came to fruition.
The Last Son of Krypton has been a staple in cartoons for decades, nearly a century, in fact, ever since the era of World War II, with Superman existing in some animated form or another even when his future in live-action movies was in doubt.
However, that’s not to say every animated pitch or assignment made it off the ground, as Tartakovsky recently revealed that he had been working on a series of Superman shorts which had since been cancelled, posting previously unreleased pieces of concept art drawn by the animator himself.
“Here’s something different…Once upon a time I was asked to do some Superman short cartoons,” Tartakovsky captioned the previously-never-before-seen images, though he did not go into great detail about the series itself. “And well as sometimes these things go, it went away. But here are some never before seen drawings.”
Below, you can find even better looks at Tartakovsky’s drawings:
While these are concept sketches, and would likely have been refined had production moved forward, they are clearly representative of Tartakovsky’s signature art style, which audiences are used to seeing in such projects as Star Wars: Clone Wars, Sym-Bionic Titan, and his newest Adult Swim hit, Primal.
The designs also echo Tartakovsky’s Luke Cage, as drawn for the Marvel miniseries Cage! in 2016.
Many observers made note of the costume design, specifically how the black and red shield is an apparent nod to Max Fleischer’s groundbreaking Superman cartoons of the 40s.
The color scheme also serves as a reference to Kingdom Come and some of the Man of Steel’s earliest comic appearances.
No one knows where his short would have aired, but the likely place, given Tartakovsky’s history with the network and their ownership by DC parent company Warner Bros., would have been Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block on Saturday mornings. Lasting from 2011 to 2014, the block was home to the short-lived shows Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Beware The Batman, and Young Justice.
DC Nation also boasted a huge collection of animated shorts, which not only featured such DC heroes as Green Arrow, Animal Man, Amethyst, Vibe, Plastic Man, the Titans, and Shazam!, but also villains like Riddler, The Shade, and The Metal Men.
Sadly, as is often the case, fans are ultimately left wondering what could’ve been with this iteration of Siegal and Schuster’s most celebrated creation.
Superman’s next animation outing is set to be the DC feature The Man of Tomorrow, while conversely, Big Blue will return to live-action features in both the Superman & Lois CW television series and in the upcoming release of Zack Snyder’s original vision for Justice League on HBO Max.
What do you make of Tartakovsky’s sketches? What would you have liked to have seen from his unfortunately cancelled series? Let us know your comments on social media or in the comments down below!