Superhero Spotlight

Plastic Man


     Of all the heroes with the ability to stretch their body at will, there was an original: Patrick O’Brian, aka Plastic Man. Currently a DC hero, Plastic Man originally belonged to Quality Comics where he debuted in 1941’s Police Comics #1. Plastic Man was created by Jack Cole.

Patrick O’Brian was a small time crook who was shot during a botched robbery at a chemical plant. After being shot, his wound was doused with an unknown chemical. O’Brian later passed out and woke up in a mountain retreat where he was nursed back to health by a monk. The monk would go on to change O’Brian’s life for the better, as the monk turned the police away from O’Brian. This made O’Brian decide to change his life around and during his recovery, discovered that the chemicals that got in his wound gave him the ability to stretch his body in anyway that he wished.

And thus, Plastic Man was born. Plastic Man would aid the police and used his underworld connections to gather useful information. O’Brian would later team up with his sidekick Woozy Winks, and the duo would eventually join the FBI.

In 1956, however, Quality Comics went under and DC Comics would receive the character. In 1966, Plastic Man would make his DC Comics debut in House of Mystery #160 as one of Robby Reed’s identities. O’Brian would appear shortly after in 1968’s The Brave and the Bold #76 as an ally to Batman. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths story, Plastic Man made his first Post-Crisis appearance in Secret Origins #30 in 1988 and later received his own miniseries.

Under DC Comics, his origin was the same as his Quality origin, but with a few minor differences. In this continuity, O’Brian was still a robber who was shot at a chemical plant robbery, except instead of changing his life around, he attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge after discovering his new powers. When he was about to take his own life he met Woozy Winks, who in this continuity was a mental patient who was released from Arkham Asylum. Woozy convinced him to use his new found powers to get rich first stopping his old gang from committing a robbery. After foiling the robbery, O’Brian became Plastic Man.

Plastic Man would go on to aide Batman and the Justice League on occasions. During a variety of storylines, Plastic Man would join up with different teams including the Justice Society, Young Justice, and the Titans. Plastic Man would also be shattered on different occasions and return. Plastic Man would eventually team up with his son Luke who became the superhero Offspring.

During the Countdown to Final Crisis Storyline, Eclipso changes Plastic Man’s behavior making him a villain once again, and he was saved by Batman and Offspring. In the New 52 reboot, Plastic Man has made cameo appearances fighting alongside the Justice League and Mister Terrific. Currently, he has his own title written by Gail Simone.

Plastic Man would appear in several types of media outside of comic books including his own cartoon “The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Hour” from 1979-1981 voiced by Michael Bell. Plastic Man appeared in Batman the Brave and the Bold as a recurring character voiced by Tom Kenny. Plastic Man has appeared in Justice League Action voiced by Dana Snyder.

There have been several attempts to create a Plastic Man film however none of them have been successful. There is also a failed pilot for a Plastic Man cartoon created in 2006 however Cartoon Network passed.