Sunday, November 10, 2013

Number 1469: Plastic Man...not who he appears to be

We’re beginning a theme week. I’m calling it Week of Quality, because the comics featuring during my four postings will all be from the Quality Comics line of the 1940s.

Our first story from Police Comics #19 (1943). We are reminded that Plastic Man is more than a secret identity for public enemy Eel O’Brian. While appearing as Plastic Man Eel has a whole other face. It’s only when he relaxes his facial muscles that it returns to Eel’s face. Most Plastic Man stories don’t involve anything about Plas’ secret identity, so unlike some superdoers who are constantly having to protect their secret identity, Plas apparently doesn't worry about it all that much.


Haddock said...

Wow... this seems to be a mix of Phanton, Superman, Mandrake ...

Kirk said...

Love that Plastic Man and friends are rescued by the Goodyear blimp.

I'm a bit confused as to whether Plastic Man is just keeping his newfound friends criminal pasts from Woozy, or keeping his own as well. Doesn't Woozy know Plastic Man is Eel? Also, I seem to remember that Woozy himself once flirted with the criminal life, in the very first story he appeared in, back when he was "protected by nature."

Daniel [] said...

I'm glad to see any of Jack Cole's Plastic Man, but I was especially interested to see a story, well into the series, that referred to his prior identity.

The sense of justice that is conveyed in Cole's work is at times screwy. Here, we have five men placed in an equivalence set. It's hard to evaluate one of them, as so little of his story is given. But, of the remaining four: one is a wanted criminal who has been making amends by fighting crime; one is a thief in hiding who simply failed to make amends; one killed a batterer in order to save his victim; and one has been killing or trying to kill innocent people up until a few minutes prior. (If Plastic Man felt that he had no right to arrest even the scientist, then whom could he arrest?)

BTW, although we see that Plastic Man's original nature wasn't completely forgotten, the same doesn't seem to have been true for Woozy Winks.

Pappy said...

In these Golden Age stories there wasn't as much of the obsessive continuity we find nowadays (or at least that I've noticed). As each story was a "one-and-done", except in cases where a really good villain might come back, I notice there was a sort of sliding scale of what history of the character to include, and if it fit the plot, fine, and if it didn't it was sometimes ignored.

In the case of Woozy, who was a criminal when Plas first encountered him with some sort of supernatural power, I think that origin just got ignored later on. It wasn't really necessary for how the character was fit into the strip.