Superman (TV series)

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This article is about the 1988 series. For the 1950s series, see Adventures of Superman (TV series). For the 1990s series, see Superman: The Animated Series.
Superman 1988 logo.jpg
The logo for Superman.
Genre Action/Adventure
Superhero fiction
Based on Superman by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
Written by Cherie Wilkerson
Marv Wolfman
Michael Reaves
Larry DiTillio
Buzz Dixon
Martin Pasko
Directed by Cosmo Anzilotti
Bill Hutten
Tony Love
Voices of Beau Weaver
Ginny McSwain
Mark L. Taylor
Stanley Ralph Ross
Michael Bell
Lynne Marie Stewart
Alan Oppenheimer
Tress MacNeille
Narrated by William Woodson (opening narration)
Opening theme "Superman March"
Composer(s) Ron Jones
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Producer(s) Larry Huber
Running time 30 min.
Production company(s) Ruby-Spears Enterprises
DC Comics
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network CBS
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 17 – December 10, 1988 (1988-12-10)

Superman is a 1988 American animated Saturday morning television series produced by Ruby-Spears Productions for Warner Bros. Television that aired on CBS featuring the DC Comics superhero of the same name (coinciding with the character's 50th anniversary, along with the live-action Superboy TV series that year). Veteran comic book writer Marv Wolfman was the head story editor, and noted comic book artist Gil Kane provided character designs.[1]


This series is the third animated Superman series (the second was the Filmation-produced The New Adventures of Superman). It is also notable for being the first appearance of the Superman mythos following John Byrne's major relaunch of the character (the series reflected the new conception with a measured fidelity, such as having his major recurring enemy, Lex Luthor, as a corrupt billionaire industrialist as in the comics). Like the comics, Luthor is fully aware that the large ring he wears is fastened with a kryptonite stone.

Other characters include Cybron (a pastiche of Brainiac whose Post-Crisis conception was still undecided at the time) and an appearance of Wonder Woman, which was her first non-print appearance since George Pérez's reworking of William Moulton Marston's superheroine for the post-Crisis era. Cyrene the Sorceress of Time was portrayed by voice actress B. J. Ward, who had previously provided her voice as Wonder Woman in the final season of the Super Friends, which was called The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.

Classic characters included Jimmy Olsen, bow-tied in appearance, and Perry White's gruff exclamations of "Great Ceasar's Ghost" both fulfilling their classic concepts. Lois Lane maintained being an assertive woman with initiative, both in style and business attitude. A new character to the series, inspired by Miss Tessmacher of the live-action Superman movie from 1978, was Jessica Morganberry, who appeared to be the ditzy blonde live-in girlfriend of Lex Luthor, with whom he fully confided his schemes.

Superman/Clark Kent was voiced by Beau Weaver, who would later go on to voice Mister Fantastic in the 1994 Marvel animated series Fantastic Four.

The "Superman Family Album"[edit]

The final four minutes of each Superman episode were devoted to a brief snapshot from the "Superman Family Album". These biographical segments deviated from the contemporary comics to have Clark have his powers fully developed since infancy as opposed to developing as he matured, which causes problems as in the earlier episodes he uses his powers whenever it suits him, and in the later episodes as he gets older he lessens the use of his Kryptonian superpowers, preferring to use his mind to solve problems first. These stories depicted the Smallville misadventures of the young Kryptonian immigrant as he faces typical childhood trials with his first day at school, grocery shopping, an overnight scouting campout, getting a driver's license, his first date, graduation from high school, and ultimately his premiere as Superman.[2]


EP# Title Director Writer Airdate Prod. code
1 "Destroy the Defendroids/The Adoption" Marv Wolfman/Marv Wolfman September 17, 1988 101

Destroy the Defendroids: Lex Luthor's company mass-produces robots called Defendroids that outdo Superman. Lex Luthor uses them in a plot to steal a shipment of gold from a train.

The Adoption: After Jonathan and Martha Kent discover a baby boy, they take the baby to an orphanage. Unfortunately, there are a number of couples waiting to adopt before the Kents. The baby manages to drive the couples away after a series of pranks. He is then adopted by the Kents.
2 "Fugitive From Space/The Supermarket" Martin Pasko/Cherie Wilkerson September 24, 1988 102

Fugitive From Space: When S.T.A.R. Labs discovers an alien spaceship which crashes. Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Jimmy Olsen find within the ship two aliens in suspended animation until Jimmy accidentally awakens them. When one of them is an alien police officer and one of them is a criminal, Superman must figure out who's who.

The Supermarket: When Martha Kent takes Clark on his first shopping trip, she tries to be careful that Clark doesn't give away his powers.
3 "By the Skin of the Dragon's Teeth/At the Babysitter's" Karen Willson & Chris Weber/Cherie Wilkerson October 1, 1988 103

By the Skin of the Dragon's Teeth: Lex Luthor buys the Great Wall of China and invites Lois Lane, Clark Kent, and Jimmy Olsen over for an interview. When Lex Luthor accidentally brings the dragon statue to life, he and Superman must work together to stop the dragon statue.

At the Babysitter's: Jonathan and Martha Kent leave Clark with a babysitter.
4 "Cybron Strikes/The First Day of School" Buzz Dixon/Cherie Wilkerson October 8, 1988 104

Cybron Strikes: When Superman is celebrating Lois Lane's birthday with a fly though the skies, a metal pyramid floats down to them and they meet its pilot, a hostile cyborg named Cybron. When Cybron's pyramid is brought to a government facility, Cybron breaks free and turns Lois, Jimmy, and a bunch of people into robots.

The First Day of School: Clark Kent goes to school for the first time and meets Lana Lang.
5 "The Big Scoop/Overnight with the Scouts" Michael Reaves/Cherie Wilkerson October 15, 1988 105

The Big Scoop: Dr. Glozer invents the Chronotron which allows the user to see into the future. Lex Luthor wants the device and sends his men to capture Dr. Glozer and steal the machine so that he can arrange for events that would prove that Clark Kent is Superman.

Overnight with the Scouts: Clark Kent camps in the woods with his boy scout troop.
6 "Triple-Play/The Circus" Larry DiTillio/Meg McLaughlin October 22, 1988 106

Triple-Play: Prankster seeks his revenge against those who sent him to prison. He ends up teleporting the Metros and the Goliaths (two baseball teams competing in the World Series) to his uncharted island, kidnaps Judge Cook, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen (who were partially responsible for the events that sent him to prison), and threatens their lives. Superman is the only one who can rescue his friends from the Prankster when he is forced to play as a pitcher for Prankster's Robot Baseball Team against the two baseball teams for Prankster's amusement.

The Circus: Clark Kent inadvertently becomes part of the circus.
7 "The Hunter/Little Runaway" Karen Willson & Chris Weber/Cherie Wilkerson October 29, 1988 107

The Hunter: While out on a holiday with his parents, Clark Kent ends up having to leave as Superman when General Zod and his companions arrive and create a creature called The Hunter (which can transform into any material it acquires). Things get difficult for Superman when The Hunter acquires the Kryptonite that is in Lex Luthor's possession.

Little Runaway: Clark is unhappy with his adoptive parents and decides to run away from him. He leaves but after a number of problems, he returns after he realizes that home is not worse than life on the run.
8 "Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time/The Birthday Party" Cherie Wilkerson & Marv Wolfman/Cherie Wilkerson November 5, 1988 108

Superman and Wonder Woman vs. The Sorceress of Time: When Superman stops a meteor, a piece of it falls to Themyscira and breaks the crystal prison containing the sorceress Cyrene (who has the ability to teleport mythological creatures to the present) where she turns the Amazons into hideous short creatures. Now Superman and Wonder Woman must stop Cyrene before she obtains the ultimate power sealed within Themyscira....which she needs Wonder Woman to open.

The Birthday Party: Clark Kent's birthday party gets a surprise.
9 "Bonechill/The Driver's License" Larry DiTillio/Cherie Wilkerson November 12, 1988 109

Bonechill: A bookstore owner named Chilton Bone uses a medallion called the Talisman of Olaf to become Bonechill, who has the ability to bring mummies and other horror monsters to life.

The Driver's License: Clark Kent takes his driving test.
10 "The Beast Beneath These Streets/First Date" Michael Reaves/Cherie Wilkerson November 19, 1988 110

The Beast Beneath These Streets: Researchers have discovered an old part of Metropolis that has been buried for a hundred years. According to legend, this part of Metropolis was buried a hundred years ago when a scientist named Morpheus made a machine that allowed him to steal the powers of a number of different kinds of animals. The legend turns out to be true when Morpheus (who appears to be a man-bat) kidnaps Lois Lane. He lures Superman to his machine in a plot to steal Superman's powers, and uses bats to help Superman get there. Lois is tied to a chair and gagged in a theater on the stage. Superman sees her with his X-ray vision and unties her. She ungags herself and reveals it is a trap too late, as Morpheus drains Superman's powers. He tries to take over Metropolis and throws Superman into an underground river. But he escapes and Kryptonite is used to weaken Morpheus and force him into the machine. Superman reverses the polarity and gets his powers back. He uses his heat vision to trap Morpheus in the machine until the police arrive.

First Date: Clark Kent takes Lana Lang on a date to a concert.
11 "Wildsharkk/To Play or Not to Play" Marv Wolfman & Cherie Wilkerson/Cherie Wilkerson November 26, 1988 111

Wildsharkk: In the Bermuda Triangle, Superman must do battle with a villain named Wildsharkk.

To Play or Not to Play: Clark Kent discovers that he cannot play football since his powers give him an unfair advantage.
12 "Night of the Living Shadows/Graduation" Buzz Dixon/Cherie Wilkerson December 3, 1988 112

Night of the Living Shadows: Lex Luthor develops a suit that enables a person to become a living shadow. He gives it to a man named McFarlane to rob a bank (who gets dubbed Shadow Thief), then uses the suit himself to rob a jewelry store. Lex Luthor then recruits a gang to use the suits in a plan to rob the mint.

Graduation: Clark Kent must solve a problem with his graduation robe when it gets dirty on Graduation Day.

NOTE: Inspector Henderson makes an appearance in this episode.
13 "The Last Time I Saw Earth/It's Superman" Steve Gerber/Cherie Wilkerson December 10, 1988 113

The Last Time I Saw Earth: An alien bounty hunter named Starock steals the shuttle that Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are in. He brings them to his planet, where they are fattened up in order to gain the proteins from their bodies to become immortal.

It's Superman: Upon moving to Metropolis, Clark Kent gets a job at the Daily Planet and then becomes Superman for the first time when a bank is being robbed.


Superman Ruby-Spears DVD cover.

NOTE: The opening narration was provided by Bill Woodson.


Ties to other Superman adaptations[edit]

The series is also of note due to its use of re-orchestrated versions of John Williams' classic themes[3][4][5][6] from 1978's Superman: The Movie, as well as an opening sequence that delivered the same narration as the 1950s Adventures of Superman television series.

DVD release[edit]

Warner Home Video and DC Comics released the series as a 2-disc set on November 3, 2009.[7]


External links[edit]