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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Superhero Sunday: Quite a Stretch

Over on Facebook, someone came up with the idea that we should all change our profile pictures to a cartoon character from our youth. I don't always participate in these games, but I thought this one sounded fun, so I chose Plastic Man from The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Hour.
In DC Comics, criminal Patrick "Eel" O'Brian was wounded during a robbery, and, in super-powered-origin fashion, a vat filled with a mysterious chemical spills into his wound. Nursed back to health by monks, Eel reforms his criminal ways (mostly) and discovers that the chemical has given him the ability to mold his body into any shape at will. Embarking on a series of hilarious and surreal crime-fighting adventures, Plastic Man's career as a superhero was of a decidedly lighter tone than, say, Batman.
The 1979-1981 series was a spin-off of the popular Super Friends cartoon (which featured DC Comics A-listers Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.) It skipped over the Eel O'Brian origin story, but maintained the wise-cracking tone of the comic book stories - well, as much as network execs were comfortable with on a Saturday morning cartoon.

In 2006, Plastic Man almost made a return to television in an unaired pilot for Cartoon Network. With animation reminiscent of Ren & Stimpy, this cartoon was a bizarre and hilarious romp. Cartoon Network passed on it. (Which shows that just because you work around cartoons doesn't mean you have a sense of humor.) Through the magic of the internet, here is that unaired pilot in its entirety featuring comic Tom Kenny as the voice of Plastic Man:

Cartoon Network has redeemed itself (somewhat) with the new Batman-centric cartoon series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which - like the comic book series after which it was named - features Batman teaming up with other characters in the DC Universe, including Plastic Man (again voiced by Tom Kenny).

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