Fans of Jack Cole's Plastic Man should do themselves a favor and seek this book out. These one-panel gags foreshadow the work Cole would do for Playboy in the 1950's. The line art, is of course, extraordinary but his experiments with ink wash really leap off the page. Cole's gals are breathtaking. As Art Speigelman noted, "Cole's goddesses were estrogen souffles who mesmerized the ineffectual saps who lusted after them." I admit that I too was mesmerized flipping through the pages of this book. The gags are sometimes weak but Cole himself admitted that after having drawn comic books for so long he had to re-learn the art of the one-panel gag. Fortunately, this period drawing gags for the Humorama line helped him develop the talent needed to become Playboy's pre-eminent cartoonist in the early days. Alex Chun did a good job in condensing Cole's life down to a few pages. Which means more room for Cole's art!
A few things to note. The book says Quality Comics later became DC Comics, however, when Quality folded they were actually purchased by DC and absorbed into their line-up. The editorial review above states that Playboy was Cole's last professional gig before his untimely death but in actuality he created the syndicated newspaper strip Betsy and Me in the final year of his life. It was being published in nearly 50 papers at the time of his death.
This is the softcover version of the same (ALMOST!) hardcover book released by Fantagraphics in 2004 (if memory serves me correctly). There is VERY little difference in the two versions, each having ALMOST all of the same cartoons, in ALMOST the same order. I probably wouldn't have bought the softcover if the product description had disclosed this fact. BUT, since it was so cheap, I'll just gift it to a friend. They changed the cover, but left the title the same. Fantagraphics just trying to sell more books?? Or, just an "oversight" by the folks here on Amazon? Either way, IF you already have the hardcover version, save your $$$$. BUT, if you don't, by all means purchase this great book. It's a real gem for the price!
On another note, I wish Fantagraphics would give Cole a similar treatment as they did for Gahan Wilson by publishing ALL of his output for Playboy (in an absolutely amazing 3-volume set). Now THAT would be something to own, ALL of Cole's cartoons that appeared in Playboy in one deluxe volume!!! (Hint, Hint, Fantagraphics!!)