Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review: Plastic Man Archives Vol. 2

Collects Plastic Man No. 1 and the Plastic Man stories from Police Comics Nos. 21-30 (cover dates Summer, 1943- May, 1944).
Jack Cole's artwork and story ideas are greatly improved here in Vol. 2 of these DC Archives. Cole's almost cartoon-y artwork is in sharp contrast to the levels of violence portrayed in these issues. 
I love how much fighting and killing occurs, and how Plastic Man sorts of shrugs his shoulders in a matter of fact, business as usual manner. The covers and splash pages are extremely creative, and it's apparent that Police Comics' co-headlining feature, The Spirit by Will Eisner, had a profound impact on Cole. It's kind of funny, because The Spirit seems to garner a lot of respect from modern day comic book fans, while Plastic Man has been relegated to the dust bins of history. Plastic Man was much more popular "back in the day" than The Spirit
Another thing that I love about these comics from the '30s and '40s are the fashions and living conditions of the time. The phones have separate receiver and mouthpieces. The cars all have bulbous fenders and grills. Every gangster wears a suit, zoot or otherwise, and have stylish hats to boot. I love the slang and other lingo of the time. This stuff is just a lot of fun to read. I won't be on board for any more volumes in this series, though, for the usual reasons. Time, money, and space. I am really trying to get back to basics in my collecting habits, and remembering what it is I truly love about comic books. This stuff is fun to read but doesn't fit in with my "big picture" for my collection.

My recent visit to the Motor City Comic Con got me thinking about convention visits of the past. I used to bring books with me and try to get autographs. My favorite out of all of these is my copy of MARVEL MASTERWORKS: The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4, which I got signed by John Byrne at the Mid-Ohio Con in 2004 and by Chris Claremont at the Motor City Con in 2008 or 2009.
It's like having Lennon and McCartney signing a copy of Abbey Road.

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