Kyle Baker's reworking of the stretched-out DC hero Plastic Man combines the best of MAD Magazine, Tex Avery cartoons, political satire, and balls-out Animaniacs-style mayhem.
Kyle Baker is one of the most versatile comics creators working in the business today. My gateway to his work was his side-splitting Why I Hate Saturn, a decidedly adult graphic novel. Since then, I've sampled his histories of slave revolts, family comedy collections, and many other works with wildly varying artistic and narrative styles.
In the Plastic Man books, Baker invokes the maddest, wildest spit-takes of comic and cartoon history, with silly plotlines that had me spraying water out my nose -- Plastic Man and his FBI girlfriend borrow Superman's time-machine to take Abraham Lincoln (who turns out to be John Wilkes Booth in clever disguise) back in time, end up bringing a dinosaur to civil-war America, where the maddened saurian squishes a Klan rally -- and that's just the set-up.
The artwork owes a debt to MAD's Sergio Argones and Will Eisner, by way of the Incredibles' stylish palette, dipping into Tex Avery for the spit-takes. Every layout has hidden gags for the attentive reader. This is what underwear pervert funnybooks should be like: self-reflective, over-the-top, and political.
Vol 1: Plastic Man: On the Lam,
Vol 2: Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits
Graphic novel history of Nat Turner's slave revolt
Kyle "Why I Hate Saturn" Baker's new collection
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