Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, April 16, 2022


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Yes, it's Plastic Man!  Created by Jack Cole, Plastic Man began as Patrick "Eel" O'Brien, a crook and safecracker who, along with three confederates, attempted to burgle a chemical factory.  Surprised by a night watchmen, the four tried to escape, but O'Neil was shot in the shoulder and was doused with a vat containing a strange chemical liquid.  When O'Neil got out of the building he found his three fellow-crooks had abandoned him.  O'Neil then fled on foot and -- between the gunshot and the chemical bath -- exhausted, he passes out in the foothills.  He is found by a monk who determines there is good in the wounded man and cares for him.  While recovering, O'Brien discovers that the chemical that spilled on him had radically changed his body, turning him into a plastic man, able to stretch and contort his body.

Determined to reform, O'Brien transforms himself into the crime-fighting superhero Plastic Man.  He is soon joined by a comic sidekick, Wolfgang "Woozy" Winks.  

Jack Cole had been hired by Lev Gleeson as an editor and  to revamp Jack Binder's Golden Age Daredevil character. working with legendary The Spirit creator Will Eisner.  Cole created Plastic Man for a backup story on Police Comics #1 (August 1941).  Plaz soon became a hit because of Cole's sense of humor, artistic ability, and experimentation with both text and graphics.  Plastic Man's career has continued to this day as a member of th Justice League.  

Cole was also known for his cartoons for Playboy, many of which have become classics.

Cole mysteriously committed suicide on August 13, 1958.  He was 43.  The reason for his suicide remains unknown.  Cole had left a suicide note for his wife, but the coroner ruled that the note was too personal and refused to enter it into evidence.  Cole also wrote a suicide note to his friend Hugh Hefner, but gave no reason for his action.

Meanwhile, we still have his legacy of Plastic Man.  And it is a marvelous legacy.


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