Thursday, 1 September 2011

Happy Birthday Plastic Man

Plastic Man was a comic that grabbed my imagination as a kid as the main character could stretch his body into any imaginable form. His adventures were known for their quirky, offbeat structure and surreal humour and the drawings were fantastic in the true sense of the word. The artwork was similar to Wally Woods' drawings for Mad magazine in the 50s and 60s and as a kid who spent a lot of time convalescing and reading comics, Plastic Man was wonderful escapism.

Plastic Man was a crook named Patrick "Eel" O'Brian. Orphaned at age 10 and forced to live on the streets, he fell into a life of crime. As an adult, he became part of a burglary ring, specializing as a safecracker. During a late-night robbery his gang was surprised by a night watchman. During their escape, Eel was shot in the shoulder and doused with a large drum of unidentified acid. He escaped to the street only to discover that his gang had driven off without him. 

During his short convalescence at a monastery, he discovered that the acid had entered his bloodstream and caused a radical physical change. His body now had all of the properties of rubber, allowing him to stretch, bounce, and mold himself into any shape. He immediately determined to use his new abilities on the side of law and order, donning a red, black and yellow (later red and yellow) rubber costume and capturing criminals as Plastic Man. He concealed his true identity with a pair of white goggles and by re-molding his face. 

Plastic Man turned 70 this week. Many Happy Returns!

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