Thursday, June 13, 2013


I watched the most recent ADVENTURE TIME episode the other night - more great work from Ako Castuera and Jesse Moynihan - and thought about how Plastic Man is the spiritual forefather of Jake the Dog. Okay, you can stop reading now. I can actually feel you not caring through my computer screen! The episode, ONE LAST JOB, explores Jake's past as a criminal. You know who else started out as a criminal? That's right! Plastic Man. And of course he was the first superhero to stretch and change shape the way Jake does. The connection isn't intentional, but I like it. It comforts me! What sad straws I cling to for an illusion of order in our troubled world. Above, Plastic Man turns himself into a milk carton to advertise milk cartons. Buying all these old comic books has made me consider what kind of comic book stories I was drawn to as a kid. I liked the lighter superheroes, I guess, the ones with some humor - Plastic Man, the Metal Men, Captain Marvel... what? Are you still reading this? Don't you have something better to do? Because I don't. DON'T GET ME WRONG! I read lots of "edgy" Marvel comic books, too, not just square old DC, and I liked some of the "darker" DC characters, like the Phantom Stranger... ah, but revisiting this stuff... so Batman and the Phantom Stranger have teamed up to fight a persecuted religious sect (!) that has taken over Gotham City. And a hypnotized Robin causes cobblestones to fly up magically from the street and bonk people in the noggins. And Batman says, as I have previously reported on twitter, "THOSE COBBLESTONES... HAVE BECOME... CLOBBERSTONES!" Ha ha, yes, that's DC's idea of "dark," I guess. But let me say that the Plastic Man story I bought, an issue of POLICE COMICS from 1946, still feels really fresh and new, while Marvel's "sophisticated" and "allegorical" WARLOCK comics from the 1970s, for example, come off as pompous and silly, at least the couple of issues I have here. In fact, the "darker" the Marvel comic, the more overwrought and ridiculous it seems to me now, while I can still get a non-ironic kick from the Metal Men and the Atom teaming up. And yeah, the Metal Men were lighthearted, but they sure got melted and blown up a lot. I can't think of any superheroes who died as often as the Metal Men. Okay, go about your business and leave me alone with my thoughts.