Bruce Timm's Favorite Scene From Superman: The Animated Series Is Maybe Its Most Brutal

Bruce Timm helped make the DC Animated Universe what it is today, and did so by essentially making kids' cartoons for adults. It started with "Batman: The Animated Series" ("TAS" for short) back in 1993, which took the best parts throughout Batman history — from both the comics and movies — wrapped them up in an art deco, film noir package, and added as many adult themes and emotionally rich storylines as possible without riling up the Fox Kids censors too much.

This wildly successful show made Timm a superstar at Warner Bros. Animation, who'd tapped him to reinvigorate Superman in the '90s following his work on "Batman: TAS." This resulted in "Superman: The Animated Series"; an impressive reinterpretation of the DC hero that, like Timm's Batman effort, managed to condense the best parts of the Superman canon into a new vision for its titular character. It might not enjoy the same legendary status as "Batman: TAS" but it's recalled fondly by many a '90s kid.

And just like Timm's Batman series, "Superman: TAS" succeeded by refusing to talk down to its young audience. While it featured a much lighter tone overall, it still managed to bring some emotional weight and genuine dramatic tension, with storylines that often ventured into pretty dark territory for what was ostensibly a kids' show. That was perhaps most obvious when Timm and his team started introducing characters from Jack Kirby's Fourth World, including Darkseid, the sinister god of the extra-dimensional planet, Apokolips.

Bruce Timm is a big softy

In an interview with World's Finest, Bruce Timm said his goal was to "provoke a strong emotional response for the audience," admitting that his favorite moments are, "the emotional ones ... guess [he's] just a big softy." When asked about his favorite moment from any of the series he's worked on, would you believe he picked one of the most distressing events from his Superman show?

"Apokolips... Now!" is a two-part story that ran towards the end of the show's second season. It depicts Darkseid's attempt to rule Earth before he's repelled by Superman and Orion, with the help of heroic police officer Dan Turpin. Unfortunately, before Darkseid calls off his siege of Earth, he casually kills Turpin on his way out, sending Superman into a frenzy before the episode closes with Turpin's funeral and the famous line, "In the end the world, didn't really need a Superman. Just a brave one." And that series of upsetting events just so happens to be Timm's favorite moment, which he told World's Finest was, "the 'Ragnarok' of 'sob scenes'" that, "fires on every emotional cylinder":

"The shock of seeing Turpin annihilated/Superman going berserk/Lois can't even watch/Superman's fury spent/the cemetery based on Jack Kirby's final resting place in Thousand Oaks/the Rabbi singing that gorgeous Kaddish/star-spangled avengers, super-spies, African princes, various comics professionals and even Luthor pay their last respects/sad but proud cops/Toby comforting a stoic but clearly destroyed Maggie Sawyer/the last few family members leaving the funeral as a soft wind blows/Superman's gentle good-bye to his friend/the last silhouetted shot as the day ends/the one-two sucker punch end titles, 'Not the end...' and 'Long Live The King'/all scored with impeccable good taste by Kris Carter....What's Not To Love???!!! I swear to God I'm choking up just thinking about it ..."

Emotional storylines are Timm's speciality

Bruce Timm has always had a penchant for seeking out as much emotion from his stories as possible — even venturing into melodramatic territory in an effort to seemingly make his audience break down. Back in the days of "Batman: TAS," he oversaw many a tear-jerking storyline, from a particularly stirring retelling of the death of Dick Grayson's parents to one of his personal favorite moments from the 1998 episode "Over The Edge."

The episode, which is part of the "New Batman Adventures" run, saw the death of Batgirl at the hands of the Scarecrow, played out in particularly harrowing detail as she falls from a building directly onto the hood of a car carrying her own father. And as Timm told, "That whole bit where we get to kill Batgirl, it was kind of fun! Because we got to play with peoples' emotions." Lovely stuff!

In reality, these kinds of storylines were what separated Timm and his team's shows from others, elevating what would have been a fun series of kids' cartoons to the celebrated depictions of the DC characters they are today. Sure, they might have struggled to get a lot of their more adult ideas past the Fox censors, but they still managed to take their shows beyond where any other cartoon of the time dared to go. In the case of "Apokolips... Now!," the team behind "Superman: The Animated Series" also threw in a heartfelt tribute to comic book legend, artist and writer Jack Kirby. If all the death and heartache didn't do it for you, this pretty much guaranteed that any comic fan was going to shed a tear.