Jack Cole (artist)

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Jack Ralph Cole (December 14, 1914 - August 13, 1958)[1] was an American comic book artist and Playboy magazine cartoonist best-known for creating the popular and highly influential superhero Plastic Man.

He was posthumously inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1991[2], and the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1999.[3]



Early life and career

Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Cole — the third of six children of a dry goods-store owner and amateur-entertainer father and a former elementary school-teacher mother — was untrained in art except for the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning correspondence course. At age 17, he bicycled solo cross-country to Los Angeles, California, an adventure he recounted in his first professional sale, the self-illustrated non-fiction story "A Boy and His Bike", in the Boy Scouts of America magazine Boys' Life in 1935. By that time, he was back home and working at a factory job for the manufacturer American Can while continuing to draw at night.

In 1936, having married childhood sweetheart Dorothy Mahoney soon after graduating high school, Cole moved with his wife to New York City's Greenwich Village. After spending a year attempting to break in as a magazine/newspaper illustrator, Cole in 1937 began drawing for the studio of the quirkily named Harry "A" Chesler, one of the first comic-book "packagers" who supplied outsourced stories to publishers entering the new medium. There, Cole drew such features as "TNT Todd of the FBI" and "Little Dynamite" for such Centaur Publications comics as Funny Pages and Keen Detective Funnies. He produced such additional features as "Circus", "King Kole's Kourt" (under the pseudonym Geo. Nagle), "Officer Clancy", and "Peewee Throttle" (under the pseudonym Ralph Johns).

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