Originally created for Quality Comics by Jack Cole, Plastic Man had the ability to alter his body into any form he needed. After a cameo in Super Friends, Ruby-Spears Productions put him in his own Saturday morning cartoon series airing from 1979 to 1981. While this set doesn’t actually contain the “complete” animated adventures of Plastic Man, the 35 episodes contained herein are the from the first season when the show was known as The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.
In these cartoons Plastic Man (Michael Bell, who Super Friends watchers will recognize as Zan the Wonder Twin) appears to be some type of government agent assigned missions by a woman known as the Chief. He travels the world battling villains and is aided by the bad luck-inducing Hula Hula, a Hawaiian fellow based on Lou Costello. Considering how often he gums up the works, it is surprising Plas would continually work with the guy. Also on the team is Penny, who has a crush on Plas though he is oblivious because he is into the Chief. However, it will pay off for Penny because in the second season she is married to Plas and they have Baby Plas. Although those adventures aren’t collected here, you can see what Baby Plas looks like because the last three cartoons feature the opening credits for the second season, known as The Plastic Man – Baby Plas Super Comedy Show.
Fans who remember The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show will likely be disappointed to find only the “Plastic Man” adventures. The series also featured cartoons starring Mighty Man & Yukk, a tiny superhero and his ugly dog; Fangface, a werewolf who solved crimes with a group of teenagers a la Scooby Doo; and Rickety Rocket who was similar to Speed Buggy.
Told in either 22-minute or 11-minute segments, the stories are all basically the same with Plas saving the day. What’s interesting is he doesn’t always pick the most expeditious form to change into to solve things. As an adult, the lack of conflict and surprise could be overlooked if the humor was funny enough, but it isn’t. Plastic Man is much better suited for very young children.
The collection contains two special features, though their locations are incorrectly listed on the liner notes. “PLAS-tastic: A Brief History of Plastic Man” (14 min) appears on Disc 1 and is an informative piece about the character, but the television series gets minimal coverage. It also deals with a pilot that didn’t get picked up and the character’s appearance on Cartoon Network’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold. “Puddle Trouble” the aforementioned pilot, developed by Andy Suriano and Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob Squarepants), is closer to the spirit of the original comic. It’s actually pretty amusing so it’s surprising no one went ahead and made a series out of it.
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