Chuckle-related responsibilities fell to his sidekick, Woozy Winks, and the colorful cast of crooks,criminals and super-weirdos populating his books. In fact, Plastic Man had one of the most entertaining roster of one-shot nemeses and ne'er-do-wells in the entirety of the Golden Age, although none of them really turned into an ongoing menace they the Joker did for Batman, Luthor did for Superman or a guy with a brick who dressed like a bat and called himself Brickbat did for prisoner superhero 711. Remind me to write that guy up, as a matter of fact.
|That's the same way I manage to get dates.|
Phil Sanders, wanted by the Feds and guilty of more crimes than you could cram on the back of a cereal box, manages to elude the authorities and Plastic Man for two solid years, despite an active manhunt going on 24 hours a day. His successful laying-low and his highly desirable status with law enforcement notwithstanding, Sanders decides to try his hand at picking up an acting gig advertising for a "sad character" with a face which "must break [the] hearts of [the] audience!"
Knowing that acting gigs pay pretty well and figuring that theatrical makeup may disguise him from his pursuers, Sanders aces the gig easily. When his director gives him tips to weaponize his hangdog expression, however, Sanders - now dubbed Sadly-Sadly - uses his unconscionably woeful face to deprive sympathetic citizens of their wealth.
|Cry, and you cry alone. Laugh and you get arrested.|
He sure does! In short order, Sadly empties out an armored car, steals a luxury sedan, and not only gets away with rare gems but encourages a crowd to beat Plastic Man to death as he makes his escape. And yet this is still less grim than almost anything on the racks today.
Plastic Man plays dead just long enough to delight Sadly, attending the open-casket funeral and breaking character so as to indulge in happy celebration. Which is when Plastic man slugs him in the fucking face so hard that it paralyzes his face muscles and makes it impossible to "play sad" any longer. I SAID Plastic Man didn't have a sense of humor, and this is what I meant.
Still, looking back, it's amazing to imagine that there was a time when superheroes were so simple and whimsical that a really sad person could make an effective villainous foil. I guess if they can come up with a cosmic entity who's so sad that he breaks the multiverse and kills countless trillions, then they'll have something they consider worthy of hanging their hat on.