Thursday, February 10, 2011

All-Protoplasman Color Cavalcade #1

I have not really discussed Big Bang Comics much on this blog, and that is something I regret. It's actually just a quirk of timing rather than a lack of interest; I was more than happy to ramble about Big Bang stuff from 1996 to 2007. That pretty much concluded when Big Bang went into dormancy after a brief return to self-publishing. However, I'd like to get back to talking about what was and is one of my favorite comic books of all-time.

A good place to kick off this renewed coverage is by telling you about All-Protoplasman Color Cavalcade #1. This comic is presented as a co-production of Big Bang Comics and Comicfix, and is a print-on-demand publication. It contains all of the Protoplasman stories which ran in the short-lived Big Bang Presents anthology book in 2006-2007. The big difference this time is indicated in the title - stories that were originally printed in black and white are now in COLOR! (as originally intended all along)

Protoplasman is a character influenced by Jack Cole's version of Plastic Man. In keeping with Big Bang tradition, that's just a jumping-off point for an alternate take on a ductile detective. You can see glimmers of Plas, but Protoplasman and his supporting cast veer off into some decidedly different directions (with nods to other Cole stories).

Gary Carlson turns in some fun scripts that are more offbeat than just standard superhero fare, but not out-and-out jokey either. No, there is some darkness and subversion mixed in with the zaniness, and it is certainly in the spirit of Jack Cole's body of work. Mort Todd's artwork is enjoyably cartoony, but doesn't shy away from the violence and occasional grossness of the proceedings.

Considering the poor fortunes of Plastic Man himself in recent decades, you could say Protoplasman is one of the less commercial efforts from the Big Bang Gang. Perhaps; I do know I would snap up a Carlson/Todd Plas comic in a heartbeat. But don't go worrying about such matters, since Protoplasman is a distinct character and more than just a carbon copy. All-Protoplasman Color Cavalcade #1 is eminently worthy of your funny book dollar!

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