Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Plastic Man is a DC Comics superhero (originally published by Quality Comics). He was created by Jack Cole and first appeared in August 1941 in the first issue of Police Comics. His power is to stretch and shape his body to any form he wants.
Plastic Man had been a crook named Eel O'Brian when he fell into a vat of acid. He was saved by a mysterious order of monks who cured his penchant for crime. The acid bath gave him the ability to change his shape. He wore dark glasses and a red and yellow costume as flexible as his body. Whatever shape he took, the colors remained the same, so there would be a red-and-yellow chandelier over a table full of plotting gangsters, or a red-and-yellow abstract painting hanging on the wall, but the villains never catch on until it is too late.
Cole's art was striking for its bright "cartoony" quality, with Plastic Man stretching across panels, going around the corner and up the street, wisecracking all the way.
Plastic Man later acquired a sidekick called Woozy Winks, a doofus who was originally magically endowed with the power that nature itself will protect him from harm. That eventually was forgotten and Woozy became simply a dumb but loyal friend of Plastic Man. Woozy Winks was largely based on the comedy routines of Lou Costello.
Cole's stories were noted for good humour mixed with considerable deadly violence. The character had a longer publishing life than most created in the Golden Age of Comic Books lasting until 1956 when DC Comics acquired the content of Quality Comics and the comic was terminated.
The character has been intermittently published by DC in various series. Julius Schwartz noted that if he had been aware of Plastic Man being available, he would have used him as a supporting character in The Flash series instead of creating the Elongated Man. He also has been a member of the Justice League.
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