Plastic Man had been a crook named Eel O'Brien when he fell into a vat of acid. He was saved by a mysterious order of monks who cured his penchant for crime. The acid bath gave him the ability to change his shape. He wore dark glasses and a red and yellow costume as flexible as his body. Whatever shape he took, the colors remained the same, so there would be a red-and-yellow chandelier over a table full of plotting gangsters, or a red-and-yellow abstract painting hanging on the wall, but the villains never catch on until it is too late.
He later acquired a sidekick called Woozy Winks, a doofus who was originally magically endowed with the power that nature itself will protect him from harm. That eventually was forgotten and Woozy became simply a dumb but loyal friend of Plas.
Cole's stories were note for their humour mixed with considerable deadly violence. The character had a longer publishing life than most created in the Golden Age of Comic Books lasting until 1956 when DC Comics acquired the content of Quality and the comic was terminated.
The character was has been intermittenly published by DC in various series. Julius Schwartz noted that if he had been aware of Plastic Man being available, he would have used him as a supporting character in The Flash series instead of creating the Elongated Man. He also has been a member of the Justice League.
The character's other media presence has been limited to a guest spot in the television series Super Friends and then his own TV series called The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.