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    Whence Came

    Plastic Man?

    Golden Ager or Not?

    by Michael Hutchison

    This was my response to a recent inquiry in the rec.arts.comics.dc.universe news group about Plastic Man's status

    For a while, the opinion of DC Editorial was that Plas had been "ret-conned" to be a "new" hero…meaning a character who debuted in the current heroic age launched by the appearance of Superman. But there is evidence that he's still a character from the 1940s (meaning, active in the 40s onwards to today due to his inhuman nature).

    Here is all the evidence:

    FACT: Roy Thomas dramatizes the effects of the Crisis in All-Star Squadron #60. A photograph of the entire ASQ is shown before and after the ramifications of the Crisis rewrite. Afterwards, the Freedom Fighters (including Plas) are replacing the characters who were wiped out. HOWEVER, even this photo isn't 100% accurate, as Green Arrow and Speedy are still shown. Thus, Plas could have been removed along with them.

    FACT: Plastic Man by Phil Foglio, 1988. Establishes a modern origin for Plas, along with his bizarre cartoony view of the world. GIVEN THAT, this whole mini seems questionable as evidence. (In fact, all of Foglio's DC work has that quality of not being quite 100% DCU…rather like Ambush Bug.)

    FACT: Zero Hour, 1994. Publishes the much-maligned (and rightly so) timeline that has Metamorpho, the Doom Patrol and the Metal Men all appearing before Superman. In it, Plastic Man appeared "8 years ago" (if memory serves). Elongated Man appears "9 years ago".

    NOTE: I am the world's biggest Elongated Man booster, as anyone will tell you…and even I have trouble with Plastic Man appearing a year after Elongated Man did!

    FACT: Plastic Man joins the JLA, and is the ONLY one of the new members to be accepted heartily into the pantheon. It seems that now DC is trying to make Plastic Man a "mythic" character, in accordance with his high level of recognition amongst the general public. Now he appears in action figures, statues, bookends, etc.

    FACT: Grant Morrison makes two Golden Age references for Plastic Man. In one, Wildcat talks about Eel O'Brien (questionable as to whether this is saying he's a 1940s character) and more recently Plas talks about his good friend the Red Bee (who died decades ago, which permanently establishes Plas' age…at least, until someone contradicts that).

    FACT: The recent "DCU 2000 Secret Files" has a timeline which distinctly rewrites the Zero Hour timeline. Now Metamorpho, the Metal Men and the Doom Patrol are post-Superman, and Plastic Man is nowhere to be seen in the year after Elongated Man appears.

    Without specifically saying so, all signs point to Plastic Man's Golden Age origins being reasserted.

     
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