Superheroes can be a dark and brooding lot, even when they’re in cartoon form. That may be one reason that DC Nation’s fanciful, animated shorts grabbed so much attention when they started airing in March on Cartoon Network. (Both DC and Cartoon Network are owned by Time Warner, which owns CNN.)
Interspersed with the full-length “Young Justice” and “Green Lantern” cartoons, the shorts bring an off-kilter charm to DC Nation’s Saturday programming block: Baby Superman crawling faster than a locomotive, Chibi-style Teen Titans, a Claymation Joker (created by Aardman Animations of “Wallace & Gromit” fame) and a particularly zany Plastic Man.
“The DC library is so vast and cool that we always want to introduce people to new characters or maybe characters they wanted to see animated,” said Peter Girardi, senior vice president of series and alternative animation at Warner Bros., who likens the shorts to a mini film festival. “We reached out to tons of studios and creators. We said, ‘Hey, rather than us tell you some characters to use, why don’t you just tell us the characters you always wanted to play around with?’ The tougher part is they have a minute and 15 seconds.”