3. SUPERMAN (Theatrical, 1941-1942)
Visually dazzling and infinitely influential, Fleischer Studios’ Superman shorts from the 1940s were an early example of a comic book property making a successful transition into another medium, and to this day they’re still among the best. At the time, these shorts would play before a feature-length movie, and they would routinely offer something far more dazzling than whatever film they preceded. In fact, they were so well received that they even captured Academy Award nominations, a feat that comic book properties wouldn’t achieve again for decades.
During the '40s, fantasy action scenes could usually only be seen in static comic book images, but Fleischer Studios brought them to life with ease as the Man of Steel would often take down mountainous robots and stop speeding trains with grace and beauty. These cartoons didn’t just revolutionize superheroes, they also changed the way the industry looks at animation in general.