Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 10

« Ghosts! Haunted house! … wow!
I’m glad we don’t have to investigate
around a joint like
that! »
— Woozy Winks… who else?

How about some Golden Age Plastic Man Hallowe’en goodness? I thought as much. All this and Woozy Winks too!

This lovely splash opens Murder in Maniac Mansion, from Police Comics no. 17 (March 1943, Quality), edited by John Beardsley. Script, pencil and inks by Jack Cole.

Never mind the trick– treat yourself and read this sprightly ol’ comic book right here: http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=14584

Mr. Cole’s splashy splash from another spooky Plas yarn, The Ghost Train, from Police Comics no. 23 (Oct. 1943, Quality). Read it here: https://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=37425

The supremely versatile Jack Cole could always be counted on to inject a bit of sinister ambiance (or over-amped sensuality, depending on his mood) to mix up the generally humorous proceedings of the stretchy exploits of the former Patrick “Eel” O’Brian. At times, things got pretty grand-gignolesque, as in the following case.

This is Police Comics no. 26 (Jan. 1944, Quality). Cover art by Jack Cole.
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble. This is Plastic Man no. 33 (Jan. 1952, Quality); cover pencils by Jack Cole, inks by ‘Burly’ Sam Burlockoff.

By the 1950s, Jack Cole had moved on to other pastures and projects, but Plastic Man kept right on stretching, one of the few superheroes flexible enough to withstand the horror boom. But not without a few alterations to fit the times, as evidenced by the following pair of samples.

This is Plastic Man no. 38 (Jan. 1952, Quality); cover art by Alex Kotzky. You have to appreciate that boney Monk Mauley hung on to his lucky belt even as his pants lost their corporeality. That’s commendable dead-ication! (sorry); Oh, read all about it: https://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=30201
This is Plastic Man no. 43 (Nov. 1952, Quality); cover pencils by Dick Dillin, possible inks by Chuck Cuidera.

It must be stated that, even without the masterly Jack Cole, Plastic Man clearly brought the best out of the rest of Quality’s admittedly admirable bullpen, so his adventures remain worth reading… which is certainly not the case with most subsequent revivals, with the exceptions of DC’s 1976-77 mostly-ignored Ramona Fradon run and Kyle Baker‘s award-winning 2004-06 outing.


6 thoughts on “Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 10

    • gasp65 October 14, 2020 / 16:21

      Ben — what a splendid choice and such an dazzling visual treat! I hadn’t read that one yet, as I’m slowly making my way through DC’s Plastic Man Archive Editions… and this appears in volume 8, the last one they released. So I made an exception and peeked ahead… I must say, Plas looks great as a striped tomcat!

      Liked by 1 person

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