Cartoonist Jack Cole, who created Plastic Man, became a master gag cartoonist for Hefner's then-young PLAYBOY magazine, and finally topped his off his career by fulfilling his long-held dream of drawing a syndicated comic strip. The strip, BETSY AND ME, was popular -- but sadly short-lived.
After completing two and half months of dailies, Mr. Cole suddenly and, for reasons which may only have been known to him, committed suicide. More here in an article by Jack Yanc for the Tucson Weekly, and there is a link to JACK COLE AND PLASTIC MAN by Art Speigelman with Chip Kidd.
The style of the comic strip BETSY AND ME, as different from his illustrative gag cartoons and comic book work as could be, detailed the life of a young married couple, drawn in, as Ron Goulart aptly describes in his HOGAN'S ALLEY article, "reminiscent of the drawing in the UPA animated cartoons." Lots of good sample of the strip are at that link. Go peek.
A book of the comic strip BETSY AND ME is scheduled this November.
With the first volume of a new TERRY AND THE PIRATES collection, Mark Evanier's bio of Jack Kirby, along with SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A BIOGRAPHY by David Michaelis (look at that killer cover below), Fall 2007 is a great time to spend those long autumn evenings in the study, soaking up great cartoony works. And I'm not even mentioning some of the other items like a new POGO collection, or the next WALT & SKEEZIX.
Big hat tip to Tom Spurgeon over at Comics Reporter.