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silly putty fellow
on December 13, 2010
A long time ago the voice over guy used to say this to open the episodes: "From out of the pages of DC Comics comes the world's newest and greatest super-hero: Plastic Man! He can spring. He can stretch. He can fly. He can bounce. He can change his shape. And... he can even dance..."
Because of that sense of silly so inherent in Plastic Man, not many people realize just how friggin' powerful the guy is. He's just about invulnerable and his ridiculously malleable rubbery form can shape shift into anything. That is serious, serious mojo. Imagine if petty crook "Eel" O'Brien hadn't decided to switch sides and become a crimefighter? The Elongated Man and Mr. Fantastic have got nothing, compared to Plastic Man's tool box. Really, other than the most powerful of supers and supernaturals out there, who can take Plas down?
Of course, creator Jack Cole set the tone from jump, establishing Plastic Man as a humorous character, and this perfectly transitioned him into Saturday morning cartoons. I used to love watching him on Saturday mornings so long ago. His world was topsy-turvied some to make him even more accessible to kids. Plastic Man, in his cartoon, is a fully deputized government agent, receiving his assignments from the smoking hot Chief. He flies around in a plane that resembles his costume. Plas also has his two friends to help him/get underfoot in his various missions. Southern blonde bombshell Penny has a thing for Plas (although, early on, Plas seems oblivious to this). Penny is there probably mostly to offset certain assumptions. I mean, our guy strolls around in a red leotard, know what I mean? But Plas and Penny eventually do get married and have a kid, Baby Plas. Meanwhile, his sad sack Polynesian sidekick, Hula-Hula, sounds and acts and even kinda looks likes Lou Costello. Hula-Hula was one of the minorities the show had to choose from the network's list. Else, we maybe would've seen Plas's long-time comic book pal, Woozy Winks.
THE PLASTIC MAN COMEDY ADVENTURE SHOW, man, this show was so much fun when I was a kid. I did sort of think it'd be asking too much for the high muck-a-mucks to release a DVD set which also collects the segments featuring Baby Plas, the Plastic Family, Mighty Man & Yukk (a particular favorite!), Fangface, and Rickety Rocket. Anyway, part of the fun used to be trying to figure out which item on the screen is actually Plas in disguise (you always looked for that tell-tale red color; it's the only thing that kept him from being the perfect chameleon). Plas's rogues gallery is pretty wild, too. The Weed. Half-Ape. The Clam. Disco Mummy. That heinous genie of the lamp, Badladdin. They all fall in perfect for the cartoon's trademark broad humor. Plastic Man and slapstick go together like Saturday mornings and cartoons. But, one of these days, someone will write a dark, dangerous Plastic Man story and eyes will be opened. If Plastic Man were a villain, he'd be one scary mother. Oh, if only Alan Moore were still writing comics.
PLASTIC MAN - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION has the entire 35 episodes on 4 discs and with the following bonus material: "PLAS-tastic: A Brief History of Plastic Man" is a retrospective exploring the backstory of Plastic Man from his comic book origins to his move from Quality Comics to DC and his various incarnations on television (00:14:07); and "Puddle Trouble," the unaired pilot episode commissioned in 2006 for a new Plastic Man animated series that never materialized (00:10:06). The animation for this pilot is sorta like that in DEXTER'S LAB.