Death Be Not Plastic

Jack Cole’s Plastic Man is justly remembered for its balls-to-the-wall absurdist humor, but the great cartoonist wasn’t averse to exploring darker themes as well. In fact, his horror and true crime stories are legendary for pushing the thematic and visual boundaries of those genres to their limits.

Even Plas himself wasn’t immune to Cole’s darker impulses. The following story, which originally appeared in Police Comics #94 (Quality Comics, September 1949), opens with a scene of Plastic Man choking in a gas chamber – a horrific sight made even more unpleasant by the hero’s pliable body writhing in its death throes.

Yucks aplenty, right?

Everything turns out alright in the end, of course, but Cole ensures that both Plas and the reader sweat it out for a few pages before resetting the status quo. Here’s “Plastic Man Turns Killer.”

The story and art are by Jack Cole.

2 thoughts on “Death Be Not Plastic

  1. I love all the little touches in the art. That radio announcer nearly swallowing his microphone, the goon jumping out of his pants, and still being out of them two panels later.

    It’s strange to see a Plastic Man who isn’t constantly cracking jokes. I guess Scipio wasn’t kidding when he said Plas was the straight man back in the day.

  2. Scipio did indeed hit the nail on the head regarding Plas. Not quite sure why no other modern creator has attempted the same approach, since that’s how Plastic Man was portrayed at his most popular.

    Guess I have to chalk it down to the fact that Cole was a genius and just about all of his successors aren’t …

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