Right now I should be drawing Amethyst or at least working on the script for my next upcoming DC project (that I can’t mention yet) but instead I am going to blog about Plastic Man. Yes!
I grew up reading mostly Marvel Comics and was a true Marvel Zombie. However, if you looked at a stack of books I bought during that time (mid to late 70’s) you would find one odd ball non-Marvel book. Plastic Man. DC relaunched Plastic Man in 1976 with issue #11 (it picked up where the first DC series from the 60’s got cancelled) and I was inexplicably drawn to it. Perhaps it was just the overt goofiness of the character (one of my defining characteristics as well) or the charming artwork of Ramona Fraden or maybe it was just the fact I thought it was a first issue collector’s item but I bought it and read it multiple times.
Every since that time, drawing Plastic Man was one of my dreams. (It’s really sad how frequently I am drawn to characters that don’t sell and no else cares about) Sometimes dreams do come true. Around 1999 when I couldn’t pay Marvel or DC enough to hire me (see the debacle known as Takion for the reason) I got a surprise call from old friend Tony Bedard ( I had worked with him at Valiant) or perhaps I called him begging for work. He offered me a Plastic Man story in the Plastic Man 38 page Special #1 and I was in heaven (not just because it was paying work but because it was also a “dream job”) Yes, God does work in mysterious ways.
I got to ink the job myself as well which then turned a 10 page story into a 20 page paycheck! My wife and child were happy and so were my bills. It was also and still is one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever worked on. The story allowed me to be silly, irreverent and very imaginative and I guess therein lies the appeal. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and others have defined boundaries and are closely watched by their editorial supervisors but Plastic Man is wide open and no one is ever watching all that close. I will always look back fondly on that job (even though I could do it much better now) and I will continue to look forward to a time when I get to draw Jack Cole’s fantastic creation again.
Check out these two pages from the story and believe it or not the word balloons are on the art! (man, I must be old).