Ralph Dibny a.k.a. Elongated Man was created in The Sixties
to be a Captain Ersatz
of Plastic Man
because the people at DC Comics
didn't realize that they technically already owned Plastic Man. In a way, this makes him the first Silver Age Legacy Character
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 Super Hero
to drop his Secret Identity
and marry his Love Interest
(in her first appearance, too!).
A close friend of the (second) 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 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 Nick and Nora Charles
Ralph also joined the Justice League
. Along with Sue he was an important part of the League's more comedic period
. Sadly, he's remembered today more for the fact that his wife was both raped AND murdered in Identity Crisis
. He died shortly afterwards in 52
while trying to find a way to resurrect her (at least he brought down an evil sorcerer and a major demon in the process). 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, ala Deadman
He appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
, where he spent his time lamenting Plastic Man
This character provides examples of:
- Addiction Powered: 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.
- Captain Obvious
- Contortionist: Elongated Man is not, but he was inspired by the Indian Rubber Men, who are famous practitioners of the contortion arts.
- Fun Personified: 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 Sue got killed - and worse, while she was pregnant.
- Green Lantern Ring: Ralph's shapeshifting can be surprisingly versatile.
- Non-Idle Rich: Both he and his wife are rich, yet they go around solving crimes. Both are based on the main characters from The Thin Man detective movies.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He's actually a very efficient JLAer and its second best detective after Batman.
- Personality Powers
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Put on a Bus: The last appearance Ralph and Sue had were as Black Lanterns, and were killed off fairly early in the series. Following Flashpoint neither of them have appeared or been mentioned anywhere.
- Rubber Man
- Shape Shifter Showdown: With Plastic Man.
- Shapeshifter Weapon
- Something Person
- Spider-Sense. His nose twitches when he "smells" a mystery.
: Green Arrow
says you just made that up to get publicity.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Has not reappeared in the New 52.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Sue, in Identity Crisis.
- Super Serum: 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.
- They Fight Crime
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: According to Sue, he's a 7. Note that she was a Deadpan Snarker.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With the third Flash, Wally West. While the two were definitely friends, Ralph loved to poke fun at Wally by comparing him to Barry Allen (the second Flash).
- Widower Hero