Of the various incarnations and interpretations of Plastic Man throughout his 75 year history, I have two favorites; the first is Jack Cole’s original run, and the other is Kyle Baker’s wonderful 20-issue series.
I tend to read and re-read Plastic Man stories on a regular basis (surprise!), but Baker’s too-short run is probably the one I come back to the most. Even just while preparing this post, I ended up reading a couple of issues before I could stop myself. Through a combination of humor, unexpected emotional depth, and a clear understanding of what makes the character click, Baker created a Plastic Man that could have — SHOULD have — served as a template for a new, modern Plas.
In his first issue, Baker (writer and artist for the series) lays the groundwork for the story arc and gives readers his own version of Plastic Man’s origin. All of the major beats are still there, but he also adds Nancy, Eel O’Brian’s best gal and a new character who ends up being important to the overall story. I keep wishing she was still part of Plas’ regular cast, a “Plastic Man family” that has unfortunately languished since the series ended in 2006.
And so far, this is our first quote of those infamous lines — “Ya putrid punks!” and “Adios, Eel!”
Is it any wonder this is one of my favorite runs? There’s just so much to absorb, both in terms of the art and the script, that it’s a series that rewards a second read. And a third. And a fourth …
Tomorrow … the origin of Plastic Man!