Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

The Arctic Giant


(1942 / 1943)

Notes: Paramountpresents a Max Fleischer cartoon, one of 17 early and impressiveSuperman cartoons.
Story: Bill Turner and Ted Pierce
Animation: Willard Bowsky and Reuben Grossman
Music: Sammy Timberb
Director: Dave Fleischer

Summary: Looking for prehistoric fossils in Siberia, an archaeologicalteam discovers a “huge monster” frozen in ice. The”Giant” is a tyrannosaur, but about four times largerthan an actual one and sporting plates down its back. A refrigeratedfreighter brings it back where it can be put on exhibit at Metropolis’sMuseum of Natural History. On the phone, a “professor”tells “the chief” of the Daily Planet of the dangersof potential thaw. The Chief therefore tells Lois Lane to haulover to the museum for this story. While Lois tours the facility,an oil can on a ledge near the generator vibrates into the turbine. The temperature rises, ice melts, and while everyone else runsfrom the museum, Lois hides and witnesses the reanimation of theanimal. A “riot squad” shoots to no avail. The animalrampages down the streets Godzilla-like. Clark Kent converts,saves Lois from museum wreckage, repairs a broken dam, and restoresa suspensionbridge. Before the dinosaur can destroy a baseballstadium, the Superman lassos its legs with a bridge cable. LoisLane tries to photograph the creature’s face but is eaten. Supermansaves her from the mouth of the tyrannosaur and pins the creature’sneck to the ground with a telephone pole. The animal is chainedand displayed at the zoo.

Commentary: I haven’t tracked dinos in comic books. Clearly there’s notmuch for this cartoon to borrow from in the previous films, soone presumes dinosaurs are at this time enjoying popularity inthe comics. This one looks pretty dorky, unfortunately. Besidesthe inappropriate plates down its back, its eyes are not saurian,its pear-shaped body forces it to lumber, and it has four fangsinstead of the tyrannosaur teeth.