The Last Mechanical Monster
April 25, 2015 3:23 AM   Subscribe

The Mechanical Monsters was the second in a series of Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer/Famous Studios in the early 1940s. The Last Mechanical Monster is a webcomic by Brian Fies* that is a sequel of sorts (starting here, with a recap of the cartoon here), set over 60 years later as the now-elderly inventor defeated by Superman is released from prison and returns to his old lair and his old tricks... reconstructing one of his 'monster' robots (and with no Man of Steel in sight).

It's nominated for an Eisner Award (previously) for Best Digital/Web Comic, competing with previous winner Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover, Failing Sky by Dax Tran-Caffee, Nimona by Noelle Stephenson, and The Private Eye by Brian Vaughan & Marcos Martin.

*Feis previously won an Eisner (and a Harvey Award) for the personal family story webcomic Mom's Cancer (previously here), which was published as a book and taken offline, and has just returned, in weekly installments at gocomics
posted by oneswellfoop (28 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
THIS IS SO GOOD
posted by JHarris at 4:01 AM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love the Fleischer cartoons.
Even Japoteurs.
They're just so "big".

Also, I think it may be Superman Week on the Blue.
posted by Mezentian at 4:09 AM on April 25, 2015


This page, for instance. But it's all great.

It's also a great example of what people can do with a work once it enters the public domain.
posted by JHarris at 4:11 AM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoah, this is great.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:17 AM on April 25, 2015


It's also a great example of what people can do with a work once it enters the public domain.

Guys, we gotta Pinko Commie.
Off to the TPP re-education camp for you, Citizen.
posted by Mezentian at 4:20 AM on April 25, 2015


I'm re-education proof because my head is full of meaningless cartoon and computer game trivia! Ask for Meaningless Trivia at your local brain store today!
posted by JHarris at 4:29 AM on April 25, 2015


To Die:

Mezentian
JHarris
Norm (coffee house)
"I'm not telling you" (escalator)
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:03 AM on April 25, 2015


To Die:
"I'm not telling you" (escalator)
posted by Smart Dalek


E-pony.
posted by Mezentian at 5:25 AM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ear-worm alert! The OP music for the Fleischer Superman cartoons will stay in your head.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:54 AM on April 25, 2015


So when Superman changes out of his suit in the phone booth, does he just leave it there? Doesn't that get expensive?
posted by kenko at 7:38 AM on April 25, 2015


Easy, he super-squeezes his street clothes so that they will easily fit in a pocket...

Oh wait.
posted by localroger at 7:41 AM on April 25, 2015




The screenshots from the original cartoon at the beginning of the comic demonstrate just how gorgeous the old Fleischer cartoons were. THAT'S Superman, DC.
posted by charred husk at 9:24 AM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is great stuff. The 3D pages are a nice touch.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2015


The author's name is actually Brian Fies, not David Feis. But that's okay. Any publicity is good publicity. A word from the author:
"With a name like "Fies" I'm used to mangling. I truly don't care. People are reading the comic."
posted by Atelerix at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


yt comment: "Three quarters of a century have come and gone, and in an age of high definition digital effects, this animation still looks breathtaking, and it was all done with old-fashioned ink and paint." i like how lithe he is :P
posted by kliuless at 11:54 AM on April 25, 2015


I think foop might have gotten Brian Fies name confused with David Feis, the creator of Cow and Chicken. (I did say my head was full of trivia.) I don't suppose a mod could fix the text up there?
posted by JHarris at 12:48 PM on April 25, 2015


[Swapped in the correct name in the post.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thank you thank you thank you thank you, LobesterMitten... just what happens when I stay up to 3AM Local Time to post.

no, I won't hit edit to correct LM's name, I'm still non-name-functional
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:04 PM on April 25, 2015


This will sound a little weird, but so be it. One of the great things about the Fleischer Superman cartoons is that we see Clark Kent take his pants off. We are all familiar with the "open shirt to expose the S-symbol" transformation, but Fleischer went a step beyond and acknowledged that Clark needs to shuck is pants and shoes to become Superman. It made Superman more human.
posted by SPrintF at 3:43 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


The "Mechanical Monsters" cartoon was the first time anywhere that Clark Kent was shown going into a phone booth to change into Superman. Also, the Fleischer cartoons were the first place Superman was depicted in "free flight" - the comics before them just showed him making giant leaps from place to place. A lot of Superman canon created there.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


It made Superman more human.

He's like 10-20% messiah here.

Inflation's a hellova thing.
posted by Mezentian at 5:10 PM on April 25, 2015


See, this is the nightmare scenario that occurs when old cartoons go into the public domain. Thank God Disney has fought so hard to lengthen copyrights and prevent other terrifying debasements of intellectual property from occurring.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:31 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I would have enjoyed Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow a zillion times more if the movie's Mechanical Monsters homage had more screen time. The rest of the movie is okay, but you can tell the filmmakers poured most of their creative energies into doing an (almost) live-action remake of the Fleischer cartoon, and the plot kind of suffers after it moves past the single-engine propeller plane fighting giant robot action.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:51 PM on April 25, 2015


This is my favorite page so far. He's just so good, even with cosy little things.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:05 PM on April 25, 2015


Contemplates this one as a stand-alone poster.
Just an old man alone. With his giant robot. And his regrets.
posted by bartleby at 7:26 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Referring back to the "Mom's Cancer" reruns here, he is adding annotations here.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:22 PM on April 26, 2015


I mentioned upthread that "the Fleischer cartoons were the first place Superman was depicted in "free flight" - the comics before them just showed him making giant leaps from place to place." Well, it looks like, after almost 75 years, the comics are changing that back. No, I don't know how that effects the Movie Superman - and maybe I don't want to know.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:25 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


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