Stretching the Form: Celebrating Plastic Man
May 14, 1941 saw the release of a new anthology called Police Comics, from a publisher known as Quality Comics. It starred a guy in a sheer pink blouse named Firebrand, but it was one of the backup features that would become Quality's biggest hit. You already read the headline, so you know I'm talking about Plastic Man. The book also introduced Phantom Lady, who would later be known for the way her costume was drawn, and the Human Bomb, who stuck around for a long time by hanging out with cooler heroes. But Plastic Man was in a league of his own. From that first story, which tells his origin, the work of writer/artist Jack Cole elevated Plastic Man above almost everything that was happening in comics at the time. Even at Quality, which had uncommonly good art for the era, Cole's work stood out like it was from the future.