Real Name: Edward O'Brien
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Affiliations: Woozy Winks
Silver Age Justice League of America
Enemies: Abba and Dabba, Amorpho, Black Widow, The Bounding Bandit, Captain Rivers, Cauldron, Concrete, the Crab, Robber Barron, Dazzla, Dr. Ameeba, Dr. Doser, Dr. Dratt, Dr. Erudite, Dr. Quomquat, Dr. Slicer, Dr. Volt, Eight Ball, Elektra, the Fiend of a thousand faces, Phony Fink, Gargantua, Granite Lady, Green Terror, Hairy Arms, the Hypnotist, Invisible Raiders, Iron Fist, the Japanese Beetle, Killer Crossbones, King of Crime, Jets, Leader, the Lava Man, Madam Brawn, the Mangler, Merlin the Wizard, the Mime, Mirror Man, Mr. Aqua, Mr. Fission, Mr. Happiness, Mr. Hazard, Mr. Morbid, The Moon Wizard, Mother Goose, Needles Noggin, the Owl, Penetro, Pogo Flinch, Professor Dimwit, Professor Sparks, the Purple Viking, Raka the Witch Doctor, Reflecto, Riverman, Pike Ronan, Rubber Man, Sadly-Sadly, Scowls, Serpina, Clarence Skidd, Skullface, Cyrus Smythe, Snout Sniggers, Spadehead, the Spider, Serena Sloop, the Stealing Hands, Stretcho, the Swami, Thrilla, Tricky Toledo, the Vanishers
Known Relatives: Unidentified parents (both deceased), Baby Plas (son,
but only in the cartoons); Penny (wife, only in the cartoons)
Silver Age (D.C. version) Kyle (son)
Aliases: Plaz; Eel (nickname while a crook)
Base of Operations: Unknown
First Appearance: Police Comics #1 (Quality Comics, August 1941)
Powers/Abilities: Able to alter his shape to virtually anything. Able to stretch and contort like rubber.
History: Edward "Eel" O'Brien was orphaned at the age of ten, leaving him alone in the world. He tried to work hard and get along, but felt that people kept pushing him around, until finally he decided he would not take it any more, and would push back. He became a petty criminal until the fateful day his gang decided to rob the Crawford Chemical Works. Shot by a guard in the middle of the crime, he struck a vat of chemicals as he fell and was drenched by them. Badly injured and abandoned by his fellows, he fled the the scene into the nearby mountains, where he eventually passed out. He awoke to find himself in Rest-Haven, a monks' retreat, and learned that the holy men had found him, and had taken care of him; even after the police arrived hunting for Eel and the monks had learned their patient's true identity, they had protected him, keeping his presence a secret from the authorities. These acts of kindness proved a turning point for Eel, causing him to re-evaluate his world view, and in time the monks managed to heal not only his body but also his mind. While recovering he was stunned to discover that his body could now distort and stretch into almost any shape, and he decided to use his new abilities to fight crime and atone for the wrongs he had done. He soon used to capture the gang who had left him behind, donning a rubber costume and altering the shape of his face so his old partners would not recognise his costumed persona. Enjoying the feeling of doing a good deed, and feeling penitent for the wrongs he had done, he decided to continue to fight crime as the superhero Plastic Man, a name one of the gang called him when describing him to the police. His friend and ally is fellow ex-con Woozy Winks, who had his own power, which was that he was protected from harm caused by any natural source..
Comments: Created by Jack Cole. After starring in Police Comics for several years (through to its cancellation in 1950 with #102), Plastic Man finally got his own title in 1943 - it enjoyed a lengthy run, lasting fifty-two issues before finally cancelling in 1955, the year before D.C. Comics bought the rights to all the Quality characters and titles. He was the last of Quality's superhero characters to cancel (unless you count Blackhawk, not strictly a superhero)
Nearly the first of the stretching characters (he was beaten by Thin Man), he was revived in 1966 in House of Mystery #160, when Dial H for Hero's Robby Reed transformed into him. Even though several others (Mr.Fantastic, Elongated Man, Elastic Lad) had jumped on the stretching bandwagon in the meantime, his brief return sold well enough for him to come back properly in his own title which ran for 20 issues (but in two, ten issue runs, a decade apart).
The D.C. Comics version of Plastic Man has undergone some slight, mostly cosmetic, alterations. In particular these are:
his real name is now Patrick O'Brian (in JLA #51 - current series - Plastic Man tells the group that his name is Patrick O'Brian, and that he earned the nickname "Eel by "being a skinny kid that could crawl through nooks and crannies")
his occupation is said to be "full-time superhero", though in various scenes in the JLA comic he is shown running a security firm, possibly a private investigative agency
he is now a member of the JLA
his son's name is said to be Kyle, apparently fathered with a woman named Angel. Plas and the boy are currently estranged.
he is based in Gotham City, the same city Batman works from.
his powers have expanded somewhat - in addition to his elastic abilities, he is immortal (proven to be so after a recent JLA arc in which he sat underwater, discorporated, for thousands of years) and also has a limited immunity to mind control (also proven in a recent JLA storyline).
Plastic Man was the star of his own cartoon on 22nd September 1979, when Ruby-Spears Productions made a cartoon which premiered on ABC. In it, Plastic Man had a child, Baby Plas. Michael Bell provided Plastic Man's voice. There were 19 episodes:
The Miniscule Seven
Plastic Mummy Meets Disco Mummy
The Diabolical Dr. Dome
Wham-Bam! Beware of the Clam!
The Horrible Half-Ape
The Maniacal Computerhead
Doctor Duplicator Strikes Again
The Kitty Katt Caper
The Dangerous Dr. Dinosaur
Empire of Evil
The Terrible Five Plus One
Plastic Man Meets Plastic Ape
The Crime Costume Caper
The Royal Gargoyle Foil
Each episode was split into several smaller stories (not all of which featured Plastic Man) - these were Plastic Man, Baby Plas, Fangface, Mightyman and Yukk, and Rickety Rocket.
Thanks to Rob Barba for all the information about Plastic Man's D.C. Comics revamp.
Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
any other elastic superhumans.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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