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Plastic Man #1
written and illustrated by Kyle Baker
DC Comics, 32 pages

Plastic Man #1
Kyle Baker
Kyle Baker was born in New York. He is the author and illustrator of seven books including You Are Here, Why I Hate Saturn and The Cowboy Wally Show. His cartoons have appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Mad, Guitar World and National Lampoon.

Kyle Baker Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

Who's the stretchy super-hero who's almost indestructible and has a sense of humor more outlandish than Robin Williams? Plas! Damn straight. Plastic Man, the pliable prankster of the comic book scene, has been around for over 60 years and now takes the forefront in his own ongoing series published monthly by DC Comics.

Plastic Man was created way back in 1941 by Jack Cole and appeared in Police Comics #1 published by Quality Comics. The idea of a super-hero who's sole power was stretchy malleability that allowed him to take any rubbery form may have seemed crazy back then, but Cole matched it by giving the character an equally wacky sense of humor. DC Comics purchased the property after Cole's death in 1958, but didn't release their first Plastic Man comic until 1966.

Since then, Plastic Man has bounced around the fringes of the DC Universe, appearing here and there in short run series and even having his own animation/live-action children's show staring comedian Michael Bell which ran from 1979-1981. Fans of the Plastic Man Comedy / Adventure Show were equally pleased to see the character emerge into the famous Super Powers toy line from Kenner, getting his own action figure in 1986. Of course, despite his own cartoon series, he had yet to cross into the actual Justice League cartoon.

But on the comic book scene, Plas never could quite hold his own title. Faring a little better than the ill-fated Ambush Bug, the pliable one seemed a one-joke creation that never got much respect.

That is until 1998 when a newly retooled JLA comic introduced him as not only the team's comic relief, but their secret weapon. Since then, Plastic Man has been rubbing elbows with DC's big guns, from Superman to Wonder Woman and even taking on Batman himself. This led to a renewed interest in the character, a DC Direct Plastic Man action figure and a limited release JLA figure by Harsbro.

With the rise of the character's popularity, a solo comic naturally seemed like the best course of action. But how do you make this title unique when so many others have tried? Harvey and Eisner Award winning artist and writer Kyle Baker was brought in to bring a new tone to the character. Having honed skills on the highly successful graphic novels Why I Hate Saturn and The Cowboy Wally Show, Baker's surreal style was a perfect match for Plastic Man's humor.

Issue #1 features a retelling of the character's origin mixed with a new tale pitting him against his criminal past. Plas himself is typically goofy and his sidekick, the tacky-shirt wearing Woozy Winks, is ever ready to assist him, whether he knows it or not. The artwork style reflects the overall humor, but still maintains a tone that the modern day Plastic Man fans will enjoy. The cliffhanger ending certainly will bring fans back for next month's installment. Plastic Man reflects the flexibility, energy and potential of comic books and his legacy stretches.

Copyright © 2004 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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