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DC is taking Plastic Man into an adults-only David Cronenberg body horror angle with Halt & Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell & Alex Lins

A Justice Leaguer falls apart in Plastic Man No More, starting this September

Plastic Man No More
Image credit: Alex Lins/DC

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For more than 80 years, fans have known what to expect when it comes to DC’s Plastic Man. A longtime hero, occasional Justice League member, and star of multiple animated series (including his own Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, which ran for two seasons in the late '70s and early '80s; no, really), Plastic Man — Plas to his friends — has been a reliable comic relief character and source of no shortage of mirth for decades… which makes the new direction the character is taking in his next DC comic book series all the more fascinating.

“I don’t know about you, but when I think about Plastic Man, I immediately think of David Cronenberg,” Christopher Cantrell (TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, Marvel’s Iron Man and Doctor Doom) says about Plastic Man No More!, a new series he’s writing for DC’s Black Label imprint. “There is an element of body horror to his story that I have always found fascinating. And I also found myself wondering recently — How would Plastic Man actually die? What would that look like? Is he immortal? And then I thought of the long and particularly nasty way real plastics and petroleum products break down when and if they finally do. That’s how I learned about depolymerization and the chemical process of ‘unzipping,’—from a particularly morose afternoon on the ol’ Internet, picturing what might happen to Eel if his entire cellular structure started to give way.”

Alex Lins will illustrate the four-issue series with additional art from Jacob Edgar and colors from Marcelo Manolo. The story for the series centers around Plastic Man after a Justice League mission goes wrong, leaving the man formerly known as Patrick “Eel” O’Brien to deal with a cellular collapse that might not only affect him, but his son, as well.

“Alex Lins will illustrate the series with additional art from Jacob Edgar and colors from Marcelo Manolo. But why don’t you give us some more idea of what to expect from the series, Mr. Cantwell?

“There are many superhero stories that play with the metaphor of our own inability to control our physical bodies,” the writer explained in a statement from DC. “Plastic Man provided a way to take that allegory even deeper. How we look in the mirror and see one thing, then see a photo of ourselves and don’t recognize the person at all. How we all break down over time. What’s this strange itch? Why is this sagging? Why does this hurt now? Is my face permanently going to look like this? Or get even worse? With all these questions in the story comes a real and profound fear of aging, and yes, what lies beyond that — dying. And when someone like Plastic Man is suddenly looking at the end of the road, and now reflecting on his legacy, he begins to wonder: was he ever taken seriously by anyone? Did he even take himself seriously? The character also has a history of neglect and failure when it comes to personal relationships. So quite catastrophically, Patrick O’Brien suddenly finds himself desperate, asking WHAT NOW? HOW DO I FIX THIS? ‘THIS’ being his very body, his very cells, as well his connections to the people he loves. And just WAIT until you see how horrifically and hilariously Alex Lins and Jacob Edgar have rendered this referendum on our vanguard ultra-bendable former-criminal-turned-hero-guy.”

Convinced yet? Maybe a gallery of interior art from Lins (and Edgar) will help.

The first issue of the series will feature covers from Lins, Michael Allred, Chris Samnee, and Tyler Boss, and hit shelves on September 4. Take a look at those covers below, and then think about asking your local comic book store to order you a copy.

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Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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