Thursday, November 23, 2017

These Golden Age Reprints that I've acquired over the past six or so months (maybe even longer!) continue to make my ever-dwindling free time almost as fun as the days when I could actually buy comic books at the local flea market for a nickel each. (Though, as I've been told many-a-time, you just hadda wonder what kind of homes those comics came from ifyaknowaddamean...and Brad Kohler does!). Unfortunately is now outta business so I'll have to rely on Golden Age for any further reprint jollies, and sheesh who ever thought that here in the dank blah of the late-teens I could enjoy myself with a buncha old comic book and strip reprints, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and maybe a bowl of munchos just like I could looooong ago when such things were bound to send this adolescent blubberfarm straight into pure SUBURBAN SLOB HEAVEN!

PLASTIC MAN has been a fave read of mine ever since I was given a copy of Jules Feiffer's THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES for Christmas in 1971 (the Christmas which I still refer to as the infamous "Comic Book Christmas" just like 1976 was the "Record Christmas" and 1983 the "Sock Christmas"). Maybe it was that "Giant (hah!) Size" DC SPECIAL featuring old Plastic Man sagas that got my interest in the hero all revved up. Then again, it could have been the infamous Les Daniels comic book history entitled COMIX featuring a reprint of the by-then infamous "Granite Lady" story that done it. Don't quite remember, but whatever the case may be that malleable man was a top notch hero in my book, at least until I hit my mid-teens and there were more interesting things to do like peer at the pics of scantily dressed damsels on the covers of record albums.

It's interesting and perhaps quite confusing considering their copyright-mad reputation that DC let a good portion if not all of their Quality Comics acquisitions slip into the PD. I mean, ya gotta admit that those old Plastic Man, Blackhawk, Midnight and even Spirit sagas were pretty kulturally significant to more'n a few comic book fans and if anybody out there is buck-crazy it's the fine folk at National that's for sure! But I don't care because whereas the fancy-schmancy hardcover and slick paged PLASTIC MAN reprint series at DC has long ground to a halt (at least they got all of their Spirits reprinted for the snobbier than thou comics as aht crowd) now a whole slew of comic reprint dealers can make these titles available even if all they have to rely on are yellowing old beat up titles for source material.

True, Golden Age Reprints, like ecomicspace, don't always have the best comic books at hand and pages can be missing or marred by bleeding colors, but I think of all of the fun I had beck when I was twelve finding some ancient comic and treating it as if it were a special missive from a better world shot smack-dab into the drab existence I was being forced to lead! Personally I don't feel bad about the fact that some of the pages look as if they were spotted with petrified puke made by an asthmatic pudge back 1954 way because you should see some of the gunk that got into my own freshly-owned books, especially during the pollen-infested hefty booger days of spring.

I didn't get the entire PLASTIC MAN series that Golden Age Reprints is offering, but I bought a few that I thought would fill in some of the more glaring gaps in my Plastic Man psyche. Stayed away from the earlier and more famous Jack Cole-era ones since I have a good portion of those via the DC reprints...for now my moolah went towards the oft-ignored post-Cole issues that were being done up right before Quality dumped their comic line. I did this not only for historical "studying" purposes but because hey, I'm always hot for a good mid-fifties superhero romp done up at a time when these comics weren't exactly sellin' up a storm like the horror and war titles of the day. Gotta stick up for the underhero, y'know.

So I got a nice batch of PLASTIC MANs from the Comics Code cusp and hey, these aren't anything to huff and puff in self-righteous indignation over. The artwork sure ain't Cole's but that Cuiders guy who took over managed to capture a lotta the original spirit. The sagas might be more serious now but they're still humorous enough in that slide aside way that the various DC revivals I've read never really could capture. The comedic "Woozy Winks" solo sagas were still going strong and they manage to retain the silliness of the originals and like, I don't care what hurricane some of these books survived they sure sate the inner fanabla in me just like they probably would you!

Quality definitely was grinding to a halt during this time since #64 (November 1956, the last of the Quality line) reprinted two Cole-era sagas which even a pre-adolescent fanabla could tell ya was "End of Era Time". Too bad DC didn't make better use of the guy because like, this was right when the Silver Age was gettin' in gear with the revived Flash and Green Lantern and you'd kinda think that Plastic Man woulda fit in swell with them. It's been said that Julius Schwartz at DC wasn't even aware that the company now owned the rights or else he wouldn't have OK'd the creation of the cheap knockoff known as The Elongated Man, but given just how megaloponian DC is who could blame him?

Nice selection of long-ignored yet top notch reads I got here but what's THIS????? A PLASTIC MAN comic from January 1964, one that was put out by the shady beyond belief Super Comics line that Bill Shute has written about in these "pages" on more than a few occasions?!?!?!? I guess that these sneaks were either unaware just like Schwartz was that DC owned the rights to the Quality line or better yet were operating so far away from the taproot that they knew they could get away with it, but nevertheless an issue of PLASTIC MAN actually appeared under the Super Comics label a good two years before the character's grand return to the comic racks under the DC imprimatur. The cover is up to date professional for sixties standards (even if, as usual, the action on the front doesn't exactly match that in the mag!) which I'm sure woulda fooled more'n a few Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kiddies out there anxious to part with their precious twelve cents (and don't laugh since as I've said many-a-time Brad Kohler used to think that those Marvel monster reprints of the seventies were first run if only from the super-hero-esque action-packed covers!). At least Super, perhaps in an attempt to show that they weren't exactly neophytes when it came to comic book history and fandom, included reprints of some other Quality era favorites like the Spirit as well as Quality's Manhunter who I understand actually had a feud with the DC version created by Jack Kirby once it was discovered that there were two heroes under the same banner with the same moniker! I guess that the Quality version was so under-the-radar back then that the usual litigious National Periodical people didn't even know it existed until it was way too late!

Hey you sophisticated New York rich kids who like to go "slummin'"...don't head out for the Lower East Side or Harlem in your shabby chic clothes to mingle with the hoi polloi. Just say home, crack open a few cans of Moxie, settle back while the Seeds blare away on your cheap set and read a whole stack of these wild Golden Age comics! You'll get a more accurate idea of how the other half (or at least MY half) really lives and not only that but you might even survive the day without getting raped!

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