Scott's Classic Comics Corner: A Hidden Cole Mine

This time around, I’m highlighting Jack Cole Plastic Man reprints from the 60s and 70s.

Jack Cole is a comic book genius. In this day and age, it’s easy to track down examples of his work. Until recently, however, it was a bit more difficult. Aside from purchasing the original books from the 40s and 50s, there weren’t many ways to get your hands on Jack Cole Plastic Man. Plastic Man reprints did, however, pop up from time to time, and here’s a list of where they appeared. If you’re like me, and still get a thrill from hunting down certain books, you may get a kick out of this list. As far as I know, this is a complete list of reprints from the 60s and 70s, but I’d be happy if someone could correct me.

In the early 1960s, Israel Waldman released three issues of his unauthorized Plastic Man series. Plastic Man #11 features a cover by Jack Abel, and 3 stories reprinted from Plastic Man #16. The next issue, Plastic Man #16, has a rather nice John Rosenberger cover and 3 stories from Plastic Man #21. The final IW/Super issue has a cool Andru/Esposito cover and 2 stories from Police Comics #95. The balance of the issues is filled out with a 1976 Spirit section and a Manhunter (the Quality Comics version) story.

I’ve spoken about DC Special #15 (November-December, 1971) before, but I cannot stress that this is a book that should be in everyone’s collection. It includes 5 classic Plastic Man stories, and is a great starting point for anyone looking to get a taste of Jack Cole.

If you thought that was the only place to get some Cole Plastic Man at DC, you are in for a treat. There are four other places to find Golden Age Plastic Man. I’ll begin with Batman #238, a wonderful 100-Pager. This issue features a very early Plastic Man story from Police Comics #14.

A few months later, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #149 featured a story from Police Comics #75.

The very next issue of Jimmy Olsen featured a terrific story from Plastic Man #20.

The final DC Plastic Man reprint was published a couple of years later in Detective Comics #441, with a story from Plastic Man #3. This is a particularly great issue, as you get some real Golden Age rarities along with a Manhunter chapter.

Finally, Alan Light included a couple of Plastic Man installments in his series of unauthorized black and white reprints from the mid 70s with reprints of Plastic Man #1 and Plastic Man #2.

So that’s it, if you’re the type who enjoys a challenge – try tracking down a collection of these books. It’s still pretty affordable but may take some effort.

For more comic book chatter, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent

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