The early 1940s Superman cartoons from Dave Fleischer are kind of legendary among animation fans, and now they’re all online. Here’s the first one:
It’s really well animated, especially the action sequences such as the mad scientist’s lair getting destroyed. This is why I find modern action cartoons unwatchable– the cheap animation ruins them, makes them seem cheap and static.
Lois was apparently based on journalist Nellie Bly, but where Nellie was able to literally circumnavigate the globe by herself, Lois can’t so much as get a sentence out before the mad scientist abducts her. But she has a ringside seat for Superman’s escapades, so I guess it’s a modus operandi that worked for her.
The electric death ray seems to give Superman a pretty good fight; it’s amusing that he resorts to punching it into submission. (It seems like it would have been a little more efficient to take the few seconds it would have required to fly alongside it to its source rather than rely on blocking it.)
Also amusing: Clark Kent muses “This is a job for Superman” right there in the office, just before disappearing into a closet to change. Also, doesn’t it bother his editor that he’s assigned a story along with Lois, and apparently does nothing on it? (Or maybe he writes all those “Identity of Superman still unknown” side articles that accompany the main story?)