Details on the Superman Family Cartoon That We Never Got


Warner Bros. almost had an animated series in the works that would revolve around the Superman family; thanks to the success of “Rebirth” and Super-Sons. Now, Vinton Heuck, long-time animation artist/director; is sharing artwork that he had pitched to Warner Bros. Animation, looking to bring the Kent family to life in an animated form. Heuck was looking to use the help of the “crazy Silver age stories” and was bringing in Sean “Cheeks” Galloway who ended up doing a good amount of character designs for the Superfamily.

Newsarama sat down with Heuck to ask him questions about the show that Warner Bros. ultimately passed on:

Newsarama: Vinton, you and Sean Galloway worked on a pitch for a Superman Family animated series. Sadly it didn’t get picked up, but it is great to enjoy and think about what could have been. Can you tell us your pitch of what the show would’ve been about?

Vinton Heuck:  I came up with it while directing on season three of Young Justice. I drew some pitch art that was basically an animation friendly version of Superman: Rebirth, with Jon (a.k.a. Superboy) front and center. My angle was to combine these new storylines with a lighter tone inspired by all those crazy Silver Age stories I read as a young lad. Seeing for instance how Jon and his mom Lois would deal with his dad being turned into a Super-Merman was something I dearly wanted to see. There are so many dark, adult-themed DC stories I felt the company needed something that got back to its roots and was made for kids. The people at Warner Bros. Animation liked it and had me try out a bunch of talented artists to help design the look of it, and settled on Sean Galloway for me to pair off with and develop the final pitch for DC. Unfortunately, they passed, but I’m hopeful the success of Shazam! will help open the door for more fun, kid-friendly stories.

Nrama: For Superman Family you mapped out a great ensemble cast, including Kong Kenan, Jon Kent, Damian Wayne, Mr. Mzyzptlk and even Natasha Irons as Steel. Can you tell us about them?

Heuck:  I love the characters I grew up with like Mzyzptlk, and Steel and they were envisioned as their classic comic book counterparts. Damian Wayne was a natural choice based on the chemistry he has with Jon in their comic book adventures, the “Super Sons.” The female Steel is also an established character from the comics named Natasha. She is Steel’s niece and I thought it would be cool to see her having adventures with Jon as a slightly older female protagonist. It was also important to bring diversity to my project to reflect the world we live in and reach out to a wider audience. That is also why I included Kong Kenan. He is a relatively new character, but I loved the idea of China having its own Superman.

Nrama: Just to kind of give casual people perspective, how often do pitches like this get generated in house by the artists or directors and pitched to WB?

Heuck: I couldn’t tell you. For me personally, it’s very rare. I’m usually quite busy with my paid animation work and with my side passion projects like my new Kickstarter, Mabigon: The Blue Stones (shameless plug). I don’t get the bug to develop a pitch unless I’m inspired by something I feel brings something new or interesting to the table.

Nrama: So an animated series might be a no-no. Have you thought about pitching it to DC as a comic book series?

Heuck: Come to think of it, it’s not a bad idea! I’ll let you know how that goes if I get around to it.

Nrama:  What’d you learn from the Superman Family pitch experience, even if it didn’t ultimately get picked up?

Heuck: I learned that I’m pretty good at coming up with and delivering pitches. Who knew?

You can read the whole interview at Newsarama and let us know if this series would have been something you would have liked to see!