Ralph Dibny a.k.a. Elongated Man was created in TheSixties to be a CaptainErsatz of ComicBook/PlasticMan because the people at Creator/DCComics didn't realize that they technically already owned Plastic Man. In a way, this makes him the first [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] LegacyCharacter not to share a name with the character he was inspired by. He first appeared in ''"The Flash''" #112 (April, 1960). His wife and partner Susan "Sue" Dearborn was introduced in #119 (March, 1961). Notably, he was the first SuperHero to drop his {{Secret Identity}} and marry his {{Love Interest}} (in her first appearance, too!).

A close friend of the (second) [[ComicBook/TheFlash Flash]] in whose series he appeared often. He got his own series in the backpages of ''Detective Comics'', lasting from issue #327 to #383 (May, 1964-January, 1969) with several new stories appearing in the same magazine during the [[TheSeventies 1970s]], though at irregular intervals. The series formula was to have Ralph and Sue traveling the globe, investigating crimes along the way. Don Markstein, a comic book historian, described them as a superhero version of [[Film/TheThinMan Nick and Nora Charles]].

Ralph also joined the Franchise/{{Justice League|of America}} in [[TheSeventies 1970s]]. Along with Sue he was an important part of the [[ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational League's more comedic period]]. Sadly, he's remembered today more for the fact that his wife was both raped AND murdered in ''ComicBook/IdentityCrisis''. He died shortly afterwards in ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' while trying to find a way to resurrect her (at least he brought down an evil sorcerer and a major demon in the process). [[spoiler:Sadly, the demon escaped later, despite the trap seemingly being absolutely inescapable]]. They have both reappeared as ghosts since, with the ability to possess people for short periods of time, à la Deadman.

They've recently, after many years, finally reappeared in two separate comics from DC. They've been in ''{{ComicBook/Convergence}}: Justice League of America'', a two-part book that focused on the Detroit League and had the Dibnys alive, married, and very much in love. In the main DCU, Ralph has appeared under another name: [[spoiler: Big Shot in ''ComicBook/SecretSix''. Sue has reappeared in the same book as well]].

He appeared in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'' as a member of the newly-expanded League, and in ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold Batman: The Brave and the Bold]]'', where he spent his time lamenting ComicBook/PlasticMan's fame.

The character appears in the fourth season of Creator/TheCW's ''Series/{{The Flash|2014}}'', portrayed there by Hartley Sawyer. This iteration of Dibny is a fast-talking private investigator who, upon gaining his stretching ability, joins Team Flash in their crimefighting and investigation against Clifford [=DeVoe=].
!!This character provides examples of:
* AddictionPowered: He drinks a lot of Gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. The drink can apparently increase flexibility in most people who drink it, but you have to go to serious overdose levels to get actual stretching abilities, which can then be maintained by regular drinking of the normal product. A significant section of the human population is allergic to gingold extract, and thus unable to take advantage of the herb's special properties.
* {{Adorkable}}: Ralph's general schtick compared to other heroes like Flash and Batman, or even the wackier Plastic Man. It's a big part of why Sue fell for him.
* AwesomeByAnalysis: An excellent detective, Ralph once figured out that an item presented to him as Doctor Fate's helmet was a clear forgery by Felix Faust, based off nothing more than a lack of visible fingerprints on the mask.
* BadassBoast: "ComicBook/PlasticMan's the clown. I'm the ''detective''."
* BewareTheSillyOnes: After his wife's death, Felix Faust and Neron try to manipulate Ralph into giving them access to [[DoctorFate Doctor Fate's]] helmet. Both villains have proven more than capable of taking on the entire assembled Justice League, but Ralph plays both for fools for months.
* BirthdayEpisode: A number of ''Elongated Man'' stories were set on his birthday. As her regular birthday gift for Ralph, Sue would customarily craft an elaborate mystery for him to solve. An issue of ''Justice League Quarterly'' continued this tradition.
* TheBusCameBack: In [[spoiler: ''ComicBook/SecretSix'']] For [[spoiler: ''both of them'']].
* CaptainObvious
* {{Contortionist}}: Elongated Man is not, but he was inspired by the Indian Rubber Men, who are famous practitioners of the contortion arts.
* CrusadingWidower: To the point that TheSpectre, the literal Wrath of God, offered Ralph the chance to avenge his wife's death on her killer. Ralph refused.
* DarkerAndEdgier: In ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', Ralph falls back on his detective roots, begins drinking, and becomes obsessed with resurrecting Sue. [[spoiler: All but the first was part of a ruse to [[OutGambitted out-gambit]] Felix Faust and Neron.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Naturally, he and Beetle get along well during crossovers between the JL ''International'' and ''Europe'' team.
* {{Foreshadowing}}
* FunPersonified: At first he was just another hero, but as time passed he became a jokester (Plastic Man went through the same process at the same time), specially during the late 80s. But then [[spoiler:[[DroppedABridgeOnHim Sue got killed - and worse, while she was pregnant.]]]]
* GreenLanternRing: Ralph's shapeshifting can be surprisingly versatile, especially considering that unlike Plastic Man Ralph cannot ''truly'' shapeshift, only elongate himself in various ways.
* HappilyMarried: To Sue. They have shared a log relationship that many readers considered a breath of fresh air in an era when comics were becoming darker.
* LockedRoomMystery: His specialty, according to ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo''.
* NiceGuy
* NonIdleRich: Both he and his wife are rich, yet they go around solving crimes. Both are based on the main characters from ''Film/TheThinMan'' detective movies.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: He's actually a very efficient [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLAer]] and its second best detective after Franchise/{{Batman}}.
** Batman has stated that [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter Ralph is the superior detective]]; Batman himself is "merely" the world's foremost criminologist, while Ralph favors deductive reasoning.
* OfficialCouple: In 70 years as a married couple in comics, Ralph and Sue have never once strayed.
* PersonalityPowers
* PowerPerversionPotential: Not in the obvious way. Ralph once gave a brute Gingold, then tied him in knots - and then threatened him by reminding him what would happen [[BodyHorror when the Gingold wore off]]. Yikes!
* PluckyComicRelief
* RubberMan
* SadClown: Ralph is fully aware that stretching doesn't put him on the same level as most of the other members of the Justice League, and throughout the 70s and early 80s especially worried that he would let others down as their weakest member. This trait has largely vanished following ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths''.
* SelectiveObliviousness: His trademark thing is to move the nose when he notices a mystery. He says that his wife find it adorable. Everybody tells him that it is so grossly disgusting... including his wife.
* ShapeShifterShowdown: With ComicBook/PlasticMan.
* ShapeshifterWeapon
* SomethingPerson
* SpiderSense. His nose twitches when he "smells" a mystery.
-->'''Flamebird''': ComicBook/GreenArrow says you just made that up to get publicity.
-->'''Elongated Man''': ...[[NonAnswer Do y'know he has a bald spot]]? That's why he wears that little hat.
* ShooOutTheClowns: Has not reappeared in the ComicBook/{{New 52}} [[spoiler:until the later period of experimentation before Comicbook/DCRebirth. If he's back on the bus there remains to be seen]]
* SuperSerum: Ralph got his powers by drinking a substance called "Gingold". He had to drink it regularly.
** Retconned into the Gingold (which, by the way, he discovered in ''soda'') activating his metagene (somehow). Pure gingold extract turned out to be quite harmful to anyone but him.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler: In ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo,'' he tricks Neron and Felix Faust into trapping themselves in the Tower of Fate when they kill him before he can break the binding spells keeping them there.]]
* TheyFightCrime
* UglyGuyHotWife: According to Sue, he's a 7. Note that she was a DeadpanSnarker. However, according to Ralph in ''ComicBook/IdentityCrisis'', Sue was only ever attracted to ''him'' and not the more conventionally attractive and powerful superheroes like Barry Allen at a party.
* VitriolicBestBuds: With the third [[ComicBook/TheFlash Flash]], Wally West. While the two were definitely friends, Ralph loved to poke fun at Wally by comparing him to Barry Allen (the second [[ComicBook/TheFlash Flash]]).