The Unforgettable Jack Cole

« What are you mumbling about? »
« Oh, nuthin’! … just that 
my false teeth get loose 
an’ make a lot of noise! »

Today marks the one hundred and third anniversary of the enigmatic Jack Cole (December 14, 1914 – August 13, 1958) a man embodying, in equal parts, hilarity, talent and torment. Just when everything seemed to be going his way, he took his own life in 1958, for reasons still surmised about. His widow was the only one to know, and she took her secret to the grave.

Let’s move past this morbid stuff and concentrate on the man’s creative legacy, shall we?

Police25A
Cole’s cover for his Plastic Man story « The Rare Edition Murders » (originally called « The Bookstore Mystery », judging from the cover art) cleverly ties in the mag’s other features. And they do need to be mentioned: Flatfoot Burns by Harvey Kurtzman, The Darson Twins by Jack Keller, The Spirit by Will Eisner (or his talented ghosts), Manhunter by Reed Crandall… This is Police Comics no. 25 (December 1943, Quality.)
Police27A
Routine, the same old grind… another issue of Police Comics, another splendid Jack Cole cover. This is Police Comics no. 27 (February, 1944), featuring Plastic Man in « Woozy Winks, Juror », and tales of Dewey Drip, Flatfoot Burns, Destiny, Manhunter, Dick Mace, The Human Bomb, Burp the Twerp (by Cole), and of course The Spirit. Sounds potentially entertaining? Read it here, then: http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=37421
Police72A
Cole’s Plastic Man, one of the timeless wonders of comics’ Golden Age, a character only his creator truly knew how to handle properly. This is Police Comics no. 72 (November 1947, Quality.)
Police76A
Another vivid (what else?) example of Mr. Cole’s boundless inventiveness, featuring his flagship creation, Plastic Man (and rotund sidekick Woozy Winks). This is Police Comics (1941-1953, 127 issues) no. 76 (March 1948, Quality.)
Web-of-Evil5A
« You mean this guy had nine slugs in his chest and still choked the other one to death? » Web of Evil no. 5 (July 1953, Quality.)
WebofEvil6A
Web of Evil no. 6 (September 1953, Quality.)
ColeElongatedHandA
This lovely watercolour ran in Playboy Magazine‘s August, 1955 issue. It’s titled « The Elongated Hand ».
JackColeCabinA
« Like they say in the travel folders, Miss Duncan – ‘Getting there is half the fun’ ».
Playboy Magazine, August, 1956.

Versatile, wasn’t he?

– RG

7 thoughts on “The Unforgettable Jack Cole

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