The way Alan Moore and I worked, when we created these characters for his Awesome Universe reboot, was via the phone. He’d have a bunch of ideas; some well thought out and others still in a raw state, which he’d describe to me. I’d start sketching as we spoke, throwing in ideas as they came to me. Since almost all the characters were knock-offs of existing golden and silver age icons, the trick was to catch the flavor of the original while adding some new and interesting angle; be it a different costume or power or hairstyle or whatever.
For this guy, Alan didn’t have anything solid in mind except that he wanted a PLASTIC MAN type. I suggested that, since these characters were supposed to have originated in the early 1960’s, we could base his stretching powers on the polymer industry, which during that era was mixing up new molecular structures to create exotic plastics and “space-age” materials. POLYMAN was the natural name and his costume design was based on a molecular grid.