Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plastic Man by Dick Wood

Quality Comics' Plastic Man stopped running all-new issues with a bang as #44 (Jan/1954) came out all-reprint. After that, only the stories listed here were new. With #53 (Apr/54) the title went all-reprint again until it ended with #64 (Nov/56).

I couldn't say who the inkers were. I don't think I've ever seen Charles Nicholas inking himself elsewhere, so I can't tell if he's inking himself here as the GCD states. At least a few of the covers, like #47 here and #51, are pencilled by Nicholas.

These stories can be read at the Digital Comic Museum.

Plastic Man Stories Written by Dick Wood

Mar/54#45 Plastic Man vs. the Inhuman Brutepencils: ?
 [Lotus Lantern]p: ?
May/54#46 Plastic Man Meets the Spiderp: ?
July/54#47 The Fiend of a Thousand Facesp: Charles Nicholas
Sep/54#48 Killer Crossbonesp: Nicholas
Nov/54#49 The Fiendish Mastermindp: Nicholas
Dec/54#50 Trio of Tyrannyp: Nicholas
Jan/55#51 The Incredible Sleep Weaponp: Nicholas
Feb/55#52 The Indestructible Wizardp: Nicholas

Dick Wood's comic book scripting career stretched from "The Claw" in Daredevil for Lev Gleason to Star Trek for Gold Key.

palstic Man 47 cover pencilled by Charles Nicholas
He did a few stories in the Forties at Quality; he was their most prolific writer for a period in the mid-Fifties, after William Woolfolk left.  He wrote the bulk of Blackhawk 1953-55, T-Man 1954-55, Web of Evil 1953-54, GI Combat 1954-56, the final issue of Doll Man in 1953, and the odd romance story. He didn't write any Plastic Man stories (that I've seen) before these.

Wood's most distinctive stylistic quirk lies in his interjections. "Great Scott" turns up in a number of these Plastic Man stories, but what writer didn't use it in the Golden and Silver Ages? "Great Thunder" is used a couple of times here, but that's still not exclusive to Wood.

"Oomph" and "Ooomph" tie together a number of these stories. Villains call Plastic Man "Stretch," "Stretch Boy," and "Rubber Boy."

And then come the true Woodisms. "Suffering cats" is used in three stories, "Suffering mummies" and "Suffering rockets" turn up once apiece. "Thunderation" and "Shades of the Kremlin" are typical. And "Great horrors" he uses much in Web of Evil. One that he uses only twice here is "Suffering Hannah."

Taking out some Gold Keys, I find that interjection used in Man from UNCLE 4 (Jan/1966), along with "Great Hannah." With UNCLE 8 (Sep/66) comes "Great galloping Hannah," "Great cats," and "Suffering gosh." That style of speaking isn't taken from the TV show! Dick Wood is one of the more easily identifiable comic book writers.

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