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Thursday, April 14, 2005

EC - Plastic Sam (Heath)

Plastic Sam!
art by Russ Heath, story by Harvey Kurtzman
Mad #14 (1954)

Russ Heath only drew two stories for EC, one war story for FRONTLINE COMBAT and this parody story for MAD. It looks like on this story Heath pretty much stuck close to Kurtzman's layouts for the artwork, so there's not as much Heath evident as most of his work. It's still an interesting version of Kurtzman's work, and it might have been interesting to see what it would have looked like if they'd continued to collaborate and had more of Heath's own personality come out in the work, like with the other MAD artists.

This story is obviously one of the many parodies of other comic, in this case Quality Comics PLASTIC MAN, still being published at the time but far off its heyday when creator Jack Cole was working on it. The opening caption is kind of interesting, as it mentions the fading of super-heroes like Flash, the Sub-Mariner and Captain Marvel, referring to them as "that fast-dying race of freaks".

That pretty much sets the tone for the story, which is kind of mean-spirited but pretty funny, with some nice sight gags.


Mark Evanier mentions that the previously posted about FOUL PLAY collection of stories from and bios of the major EC artists by Grant Geissman is out and very good looking. I'm looking forward to getting my copy.

5 comments:

  1. Hi
    Does anyone know how I could obtain a copy of the Plastic Sam story? I remember it from my childhood and would love to show it to my own kids. The 1954 US edition containing the story (no 14) would be too difficult to find and too expensive to buy, however Plastic Sam must have been reprinted in the UK, which is where I bought my copy. Even a colour photocopy/JPEG would do. Can anybody help, please?
    Best wishes
    Graham

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  2. If you can find the DC published reprint series of 10 years back, TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU MAD, which reprinted three issues of MAD in colour each issue, "Plastic Sam" is in #5. The classic b&w MAD paperbacks were also reprinted a few years back, "Plastic Sam" should be in the edition of SON OF MAD from that series (ISBN 0743474961). Those are probably the two most readily available reprints.

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  3. Hi Bob
    That's tremendous. Many thanks for an unbelievably swift response. I'm on the case - wish me luck!
    Graham

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  4. Anonymous5:43 am

    Hi Bob
    Just to let you know that, thanks to your help, I tracked down Plastic Sam in a very reasonably-priced reprint of Son of Mad. I bought it on eBay and couldn't wait to read the story again. It still makes me laugh after all these years. My two boys really enjoyed it as well.
    Once again, I'm very grateful for the time and trouble you took to point me in the right direction. I hope I can return the favour some day.
    Best wishes
    Graham

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  5. You're more than welcome Graham. Glad to have been of help, and great to hear your sons enjoyed the story too.

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