Thursday, July 27, 2017

DC Special Plastic Man

Stretching things a bit, with a look back at Plastic Man...

...with the important reprints of DC Special #15 (November-December, 1971) under the editorial watch of E. Nelson Bridwell, and a cover by Dick Giordano, recapping a few important events in Plastic Man's life up to that time, featuring the stellar work of Plastic Man creator, Jack Cole.

Police Comics #1

First up is the origin of Plastic Man from Police Comics #1 (August, 1941) by writer and artist Jack Cole (though as you can see, Plastic Man was NOT the main feature of this comic at the time; instead, Quality Comics seemed to think Firebrand would be the break out character).

But, Plastic Man started as small time hood Eel O'Brian having a job go wrong on him, Skizzle Shanks and the rest of his mob, will the boys leaving the Eel behind at the Crawford Chemical Factory after he got dosed with acid.  Eel escaped the police pursuit, and ended up in a monastery, where the monk nursed him back to health.  Eel also found he now had elastic skin, and make himself a rubber costume to go after the gang who abandoned him, and turn them over to the police. 

Police Comics #13

Plastic Man was officially working for the law by the time of Police Comics #13 (November, 1942), also by Jack Cole, when he met up with Woozy Winks for his first appearance, in "The Man Who Can't Be Harmed".

Woozy saved the life of drowning Zambi the Soothsayer, who used his mystical powers to make Woozy invincible to harm.  Woozy flipped a coin to decide what he would do with this life (though he didn't tell the readers the result, he did start a life of crime, kidnapping sculptor Homer Twitchel, and breaking his work, all to make the pieces of Mr. Mire worth more.  To stop Woozy, Plastic Man had to join him as Eel O'Brian, and commit a crime spree just to get Woozy to trust Eel (so Plastic Man could stop Mire).  It did work, but police Captain Murphey wanted the now reformed Woozy (whom Plas guilted into doing good) to help Plastic Man catch the Eel (not knowing they were one in the same!).

Plastic Man #17

Next up is the "Plastic Man Products" story from Plastic Man #17 (May, 1949), where writer Joe Millard and artist Jack Cole had Plastic Man deal with the criminal who wanted to sell items....made of Plastic Man!

Enterprising Willie blackjacked a man to steal from him, and Plastic Man pursued (not sure if it was Willie).  Willie got upset, but found a factory that was making substandard plastic, and decided to make products out of this cheap material....and use Plastic Man as the promotional hook of the items.   The various items broke soon after use, with citizens (including Woozy) coming after Plas for the faulty items.  Plastic Man had to get Willie arrested for his original crime to stop him (and get his name cleared as well).

Plastic Man #26

With Plastic Man #26 (November, 1950), there was a Woozy Winks solo story by Joe Millard and Jack Cole, with Woozy facing off against "Bladdo The Hypnotist".

Woozy Winks was upset about not being able to work with Plastic Man or the FBI all the time (as Woozy had no training), so....Woozy set out to make a detective agency for himself, being found by a client who owned a radio station who was being ripped off by Bladdo (who was using his talents to steal from his radio show listeners), so Woozy was hired.  Bladdo then hypnotized Woozy to confess to his crimes, but as Bladdo went to check up on Woozy, Bladdo got arrested (as Woozy was just too dumb to get convicted, even confessing to the crimes!).

Plastic Man #25

Last but not least, was the Golden Age story from Plastic Man #25 (September, 1950) called "The Magic Cup" by Bill Woolfolk and Jack Cole.

This time, Woozy stopped escaped mental patient King Oberon from committing suicide, so the king rewarded Woozy with "a magic cup" that would give Woozy 3 wishes.   Woozy, who was not working with Plas or the FBI on a case, wistfully wished to be involved on the case, with Plastic Man showing up soon after to have Woozy be a substitute driver on a heist (to allow Plastic Man and the police to catch the rest of the gang who was trying to rob Dearmont Chemical Co.).  They almost caught the thieves, but the criminals took Woozy as a hostage to escape.  At their hideout, Woozy wished Plastic Man would find him, and Plas did, defeating the crooks.  Woozy then told him of the "magic cup" and that he must have used two of his wishes.  Plastic Man berated his chum for believing in this wish nonsense, and left to take the crooks in.  Woozy, feeling depressed, wished he could at least get credit for helping Plastic Man catch the crooks (which then was heard over the radio in an interview with Plastic Man, with Plas giving Woozy credit for his assistance).  This depressed Woozy more, realizing he now used up all three of his wishes!  

This great collection of Jack Cole Plastic Man stories happened between DC's first two 10 issue Plastic Man series (the first in the 1960s when DC got the rights to Plastic Man and his cast of characters, the second in the mid-1970s, when Plastic Man was also an animated cartoon star!)...and Plastic Man has a current DC Rebirth, working with Metamorpho, Phantom Girl and the second Mr. Terrific in the upcoming title, the Terrifics!

No comments:

Post a Comment