This year is Plastic Man’s 75th anniversary in comics, and May 14, 2016, will be the exact date marking Plas’ first appearance in Police Comics #1 all those years ago. In honor of this momentous milestone, not to mention Jack Cole’s artistry in creating such a completely original and obviously enduring character, I’ll be sharing the various retellings of Plastic Man’s completely bonkers origin story (and a few extras, here and there) throughout the week.
One of the things I like about Plastic Man’s origin story is just how quotable Cole’s original 1941 story is, both visually and written. Later creators have obviously loved being able to pay homage to both of these elements in their own work, and who could blame them? Believe me, this won’t be the last time you see Eel O’Brian getting cheeky while shouting, “Great Guns! I’m stretching like a rubber band!”
First up we have a condensed version of Plastic Man’s origin as published in Adventure Comics #467, written by Len Wein, with art by Joe Staton and inks from Bob Smith!
And I seriously just noticed that the shadowy men of D.I.P. in the last panel are also dead ringers for past versions of the Chief!
As an added bonus, here are the Plastic Man entries from Who’s Who in the DC Universe — both the original 1986 run-down and the 1990 update.
You can see how hard writer Phil Foglio (with art by Hilary Barta) was dragging Plastic Man over toward a more wacky and literally mentally unstable version of Plas (a version I’m on record as not being a huge fan 0f), and how much of the 1986 entry (art by Joe Staton) was jettisoned post Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Tomorrow … the origin of Plastic Man!