PART 2: SUPERMAN EXCLUSIVE Look at Making of the 75th Anniversary Animated Short

Jay Oliva, frequent director of DC's animated films, continues his behind the scenes guide to the making of the 75th Anniversary Superman short that was released last year and is available on the Man of Steel Blu-ray. For the short, he served as director/producer/storyboard artist.

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By EdGross - 1/27/2014
Voices From Krypton continues this exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of the Superman 75th Anniversary animated short. Director/storyboard artist/producer Jay Oliva goes into detail as he goes behind the scenes on what went into the creation of this acclaimed short. For part one of this story, just click HERE.

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: So Superman and Mxyzptlk leads to the next landmark, which is this Andy Warhol-related image.
JAY OLIVA: Yeah, the combination of pop art and comics. So then that brings us into the 70s, and what’s funny is if you look at that sequence there, there’s black Lois and of course there’s Clark Kent, so now we finally see Clark Kent. The guy in the foreground should be an Andy Warhol type guy, and the one on the right – originally I had that as Lois Lane, but then they said I should make it Diana Prince

Superman 75 - Andy Warhold

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: That's Diana from the 1970s, when she had no powers, right?
JAY OLIVA: That's her, and here’s a little bit of trivia: the drawing that’s behind her is actually done by Bruce Timm, and you have to ask him who he was trying to emulate, but that’s Bruce’s artwork. It looks like Superman’s dad with the headband. So I had to get to that whole pop artwork, because now Superman wasn’t just in comics, he had come into pop culture. Which was a great transition in to Super Friends, in the 70s as well, and I wanted to do the first version, not the one with the Wonder Twins, but with Marvin and Wendy.

Superman 75 - Super Friends

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: As much as I hate Super Friends, it’s such an important part of the legacy because it lasted for so many years and I think you’re almost obligated to include it.
JAY OLIVA: And I think it was a way to introduce that generation's kids to Superman, who maybe never read the comic or didn’t watch the George Reeves series, which is how I knew Superman. I watched George Reeves first and then I would catch the Saturday morning cartoons. From Super Friends we go into a "boxing match."

Superman 75 - Muhammad 3

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: With the Neal Adams look?
JAY OLIVA: The hardest thing was transitioning Super Friends to Neal Adams, because they are so different. And actually this sequence here, the boxing match in this wide shot – it actually came in the eleventh hour. Originally Superman just flies up and he gets punched into the next piece of animation, but Bruce Timm had another idea - and this was about a week or two before we were supposed to finish. So he drew this - the wide shot of the ring with the crowd - himself, and this was all done in After Effects after the punch had been animated. So it was constructed that way and we put the zoom in and it goes into the action that we had originally gotten animated. And another bit of trivia: Bruce Timm drew the crowd in the background.

Superman 75 - Muhammad 2 Superman 75 - Muhammad Ali

VOICES FROM KRYPTON: And that leads us to the man – Christopher Reeve as Superman, in Earth orbit, smiling at the audience.
JAY OLIVA: Originally they said we needed to have scenes from the Christopher Reeve films, so I was, like, "Why don’t we do the moment where he’s above the planet?" They liked the idea and suggested we rotoscope the footage of Reeve. So I went to get screen grabs of it so I could redraw it, and then I realized this sequence itself is like three and a half minutes long. Him rising from Earth and then doing that really slow turn before he flies by the camera— those shots together were basically going to be our short. So I went through it and I grabbed every tenth frame from the shots, and when I got to the point where he was going to smile, I grabbed every fifth or fourth frame and that’s why it’s a sped up version. That’s how I did it. But like I said, when you watch it, you remember the shot and it looks kind of like what you remember, but it’s a little bit different. So that’s how we did it. And then we transition to the Atari 2600. Peter, the other producer, added the explosions and I told him, “You do know there were no explosions, right?” and he was, like, “Yeah, I know, but it needed something cool,” so those explosions were added.

Superman 75 - Christopher Reeve

For the rest of this installment - including a discussion of the John Williams/Hans Zimmer score used - click HERE.
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19 Comments
Brainiac13 - 1/27/2014, 1:28 PM
:)


EvilSuperman - 1/27/2014, 1:28 PM
Interesting knowing the behind the scenes work on the short. But I figured they sped up the Reeve bit for a reason and it looked a bit off. Still loved the short for all its tidbits of history for Superman
Berserk - 1/27/2014, 1:28 PM
Good job, Ed, this is a good article and interview.
Berserk - 1/27/2014, 1:29 PM
and let's not forget, a great short film.
EdGross - 1/27/2014, 1:30 PM
The film IS great. When I first saw it at NYCC, I was just blown away by it, grinning like an idiot throughout. Just great fun. And I had a great time discovering what went into its making.
Shaanyboi - 1/27/2014, 1:32 PM
Great article. This was a really fantastic short.
Brainiac13 - 1/27/2014, 1:34 PM
@EdGross

I would love to see another short.......but this year maybe we'll get a Batman short.
Brainiac13 - 1/27/2014, 1:36 PM
@EdGross

Who do you think the villains should be in BvS? and who do want as Luthor?
EdGross - 1/27/2014, 1:41 PM
I'm hopeful they'll do a Batman short. Can't imagine they won't, but who knows? That's a tough one with the villains. Frankly, as much as I can't wait to see a live action Superman and Batman share the screen, I truly wanted a sequel to Man of Steel first to sort of lock down that character. But it is what it is, and hopefully they won't be overloading it. In truth, I would like the villain to be Luthor, who, gaining access to the remains of Kryptonian technology from the first film, activates Brainiac, unaware of exactly WHAT he is unleashing.

As to actor, in my fanboy wildest wishes, I'd love for them to go back to Kevin Spacey because I think he could bring so much more to the role with the right script. Of course, that ain't gonna happen! Truthfully, not sure who they should cast. Actors they've mentioned have sounded interesting, but none of made me jump up and scream, "YES!!"
MetahumanAbominationKlone - 1/27/2014, 1:47 PM
And most of us here will see Superman's 100th Anniversary someday. [frick]... I'll be way into by early 40's by the time that happens.
MetahumanAbominationKlone - 1/27/2014, 1:49 PM
Lol, that's a surreal thought. I don't think the thought of "I wonder what I'll be like in my 40's/50's" has occurred to me. Well, there is one thing we can all be sure of: Superman will outlive us all. Long live the King of Superheroes.
Brainiac13 - 1/27/2014, 2:07 PM
@Ed

I would love to see Luthor and Brainiac................me too on the Supes Sequel but its a dream for any comic book fan to see the two biggest heroes ever.

@Mac

Life is just fine if one reaches.........Yes 41.......lol! Still feel 21every day.
MetahumanAbominationKlone - 1/27/2014, 2:12 PM
@Brainiac

66 year old Grandpa Brainiac will be watching Superman's 100th Anniversary... before you need the nurses to change out that wet synthetic shit you androids are so fond of squirting out.
Battabing - 1/27/2014, 2:38 PM
It's awesome that both John Williams and Hans Zimmer redid the score for this short as opposed to using stock material.
Brainiac13 - 1/27/2014, 3:09 PM
@Mac

At that age......I dont think I'll be into all this comics stuff............who knows......maybe half of me will a real android leaving little squirts of oil everywhere . :(
Bodwulf - 1/27/2014, 3:25 PM
I like the Mr Freeze version better

Jollem - 1/27/2014, 8:28 PM
your interviews rock. it's crazy how much of a legacy and an impact the super friends cartoon still has on people
breakUbatman - 1/27/2014, 10:30 PM
Nice stuff I like that both John and Hans worked on the theme
GetsugaTensho22 - 1/28/2014, 2:35 AM
You know what would be cool?
If we got our First Look at the new Batsuit at the very end of Batman's 75th Anniversary short! We got Henry at the end of the Superman one, it could definitely work here too!

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