Celebrate 75 years of Plas with … the origin of Plastic Man! (part 1)

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!

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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.

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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!

Where’s Plas?!

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I mean, seriously, where has he been?!

  • from Adventure Comics #478
  • Martin Pasko, writer; Joe Staton, artist; Bob Smith, inker

It’s Woozy Wednesday!

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Panel from DC Comics Presents #39

Martin Pasko, writer; Joe Staton, artist; Bob Smith, inker

Plastic Man and Batman: A long-term bromance

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I’m telling you guys, Plastic Man and Batman are like, total bros.

And why not? Sure, there’s the modern idea of Batman wanting to keep an eye on powerful friends and foes alike, but the two also have something in common — they’re both orphans. I don’t think this has ever really been explored in the comics (at least not explicitly), but I like to think Bruce looks at Eel and realizes how easy it could have been for him to go in that initially criminal direction. Instead of having a mansion, an incredibly dedicated butler and a bajillions of dollars to fall back on, Eel wound up in an orphanage when he was 10 years old, alone and with no one to rely on but himself. You tell me which outcome happens more often.

I also like to think that Batman sees the hope for redemption in Plastic Man, which is why he’s tried so hard to support, cajole and browbeat him over the years and through various iterations. Like the Joker, Eel was a crook who was doused with a toxic mix in a chemical factory while trying to dodge the authorities. The difference is that Eel woke up in the care of people who owed him nothing, but still gave him a chance because they saw the potential for good in him. Powerful stuff, and enough to make Eel instantly change his ways and become a hero. A hero, I might add, who enjoys being a good guy, in stark contrast to a certain pointy-eared vigilante.

Besides, look at that smile on Batman’s face; you just know he totally digs hanging out with his old pal Plas!

Where’s Plas?!

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from World’s Finest #273

Martin Pasko, writer; Joe Staton and Bob Smith, artists

Catching up with Plas

Posting has been irregular here lately (sorry ’bout that — blame life), so here are some quick Plas-centric items to wrap your mind around!

• I swear, I’m not going to start swiping everything from Firestorm Fan, but Shag did share this great image by Gregg Schigiel. Can we have a Muppet JLA, please? Why don’t we get this started? It’s time to get this started!

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• Speaking of that Shag guy, he and partner-in-crime Rob Kelly (of the amazing Aquaman Shrine) co-host Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, and they finally got to Plastic Man! Woo-hoo! For what it’s worth, I agree with the guys’ assessment: The image of Plastic Man on the cover (by George Perez) is fantastic; the static (boring, dull, uninspired) image on the entry page less-so.

I’m a little surprised, considering interior artist Joe Staton did a much better, much more imaginative, job depicting Plas in the pages of Adventure Comics and The Brave and The Bold. Take a look and see what you think. (And while you’re at it, be sure to give the Who’s Who and Fire & Water podcasts a listen!)

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• Look, guys, I go to Target fairly often, and I’ve never seen this Plastic Man figure! And, boy, do I want it. I really like that it’s kind of a bendy, and that it looks both like Plas and Otto the Autopilot from Airplane! (clip slightly NSFW). And I can think of one person who’ll be happy to see that Martian Manhunter!

Go check out Toyrrific for the original post and pictures!

Where’s Plas?!

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OK, I gotta admit — this one might be a little easy.

from Adventure Comics #474

Marv Wolfman, writer; Joe Staton and Bob Smith, artists

Eeyow! It’s Christmas!

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Originally published Dec. 25, 2013

Have a merry — and safe — Christmas, everyone!

Page from The Brave and The Bold #148

Bob Haney, writer; Joe Staton and Bob Aparo, artists