Finishing up our look at the three Plastic man stories reprinted in PLASTIC MAN #63 in 1956 after the advent of the Comics Code, and how they were edited and modified to pass muster so that they didn’t destroy the moral foundations of society’s youth the way the original printings had. Here’s the final story, which first appeared in PLASTIC MAN #25
For the most part, this particular story, featuring the liquid villain Mr. Aqua, made it through the gauntlet largely unscathed, with the main exception being the ending.
The Grand Comics Database credits this story to writer Bill Woolfolk and artist (and Plastic Man creator) Jack Cole.
So far, so good. No need for any edits.
Here we get the first incredibly minor change: in panel 3, Plastic Man declares that Mr. Aqua’s victim is “gone” rather than “dead” as in the original.
Same sort of thing here in panel 6–rather than Mr. Aqua telling his creator Duncan Groat that Groat needs to “die” as in the original, in the later printing, he says that Groat has to “go”. Very little difference, but apparently an absolutely necessary change.
Nothing to see here.
Okay, now we come to the nitty-gritty. In the revamped story, Woozy Winks somehow spills Mr. Aqua out of a pitcher he was hiding in, ending his rampage in a manner that doesn’t make any sense. And that’s because, in the original, Woody more horrifically accidentally drinks Mr. Aqua! Plas’s balloon in Panel 5 is changed to a balloon from Woozy explaining how Mr. Aqua was spilled. In Panel 6, Woozy’s mouth has been redrawn so that he’s not slurping up the last bits of the villain and his dialogue is changed and edited down (including changing GULP! to ULP!) and in the last panel, the punchline to the whole story is stepped on as Woozy says that water would simply remind him of Mr. Aqua rather than making him feel like a cannibal. Te interesting thing here is that, even in the edited story, I think it would be clear to most readers what had actually happened–so while delicate sensibilities may have been spared, the censors really weren’t fooling anyone but the youngest and most gullible readers with this stuff.