Who's Who
ID Crisis!
Elongated Man™ Chronology

This is an incomplete list of Ralph's appearances…beginning with the first:

The Flash #112
"Case of the Elongated Man"
The Flash is being shown up by a new superhero, the Elongated Man. The Flash, disliking the attention the media pays to the new guy, suspects that he's actually behind a rash of robberies. The Flash finds EM on the scene when some vases are stolen, but Elongated Man tells Flash his secret identity and origin. Together, they capture the real thieves and become the best of friends.
The first appearance of our favorite stretchable sleuth!
Detective #329
July 1965
"Puzzle of the Purple Pony"
I don't own this one. I'd like to, if you'll sell it to me
No review available!
Detective #333
Nov 1964
"The Robbery That Never Happened!"
Sue encounters a jeweler who asks her to verify that he's holding a $100 bill. She says yes, and he explains that a customer handed it to him earlier insisting that it was a ten and it did indeed appear to be at the time. Ralph is intrigued by this and pre-empts their dinner plans to investigate. At the jewelry store, he discovers the owner robbing his own store! Ralph trades fisticuffs with him, then follows the man to find him making a drop…which is picked up by a hypnotist! The hypnotist had put the store owner under his spell.
According to the lettercolumn, Sue's hairstyle was patterned on Shirley MacLaine's! The lettercol also reveals that Infantino's inking of his own pencils in previous stories did not go over well, so the current stories were inked by Sid Greene. I must say, it's a great team-up. The next string of stories are notable for Ralph's competent use of his abilities. The numerous instances of straight, highly-muscular limbs being used in combat against his opponents are the way I always envision Elongated Man; it contrasts against the many, many artists who show him with spaghetti-like arms and tying knots in his kneck for no reason.
Detective #335
Jan 1965
"Break Up The Bottle-Neck Gang!"
Ralph helps police track an elusive gang. The spin on this issue is that he borrows a little kid's "Elongated Man" costume to trick the gangsters.
If you ever needed a story to demonstrate Ralph's combat skills, this would be a prime example. In addition to some wonderful elongated fisticuffs (including an entire page in which he clobbers three goons in one punch), Ralph demonstrates such abilities as cracking his knuckles so that they stretch several feet, elongating his ear into an assailant's face and taking hundred meter strides. It also shows that he can snap his body as fast as shooting a rubber band; in some ways, he can travel faster than the eye can see. In my opinion, many of these panels could be framed for a Carmine Infantino museum.
Detective #344
Oct '65
"Peril In Paris"
On a trip to Paris, Sue suddenly begins speaking fluent French…despite never learning French. Ralph is tracking thieves who stole some expensive perfume when Sue arrives, claiming to be a member of their gang.
This story reveals numerous fun facts, including Ralph's stretching limit (about 1000 yards, although this may just apply to his arms), his ability to speak French, his French name (L'Homme Etendu) and his popularity in France. It also shows how Ralph can outwit gun-toting enemies by stretching so thin that he's an impossible-to-hit target. We can assume that Sue learned fluent French since this story.
Detective #348
Feb '66
"My Wife, the Witch"
Ralph and Sue arrive at a hotel on a stormy night and have to stay in a "haunted room." While Ralph takes the car out for servicing, Sue finds a book on witchcraft and begins casting spells which actually work. She asks Ralph to pick up some items so she can cast the last spell; at the store, Ralph foils a robbery and captures the gang…except for their absent leader. Ralph surmises that the witchcraft book was left in the room (which was rigged so that the magic spells appeared to work) so that Sue would send him to the store at the time of the robbery. This leads him to deduce that the gang's leader is actually the hotel manager, who wanted to ditch his gang and leave with their loot. In the end, Sue reveals that she was going to use the last spell to make herself beautiful for Ralph.
A few old stereotypes. Sue is portrayed as very curious and so superficial that she thinks Ralph wouldn't love her forever unless she's the most beautiful woman on Earth. Of course, Ralph was portrayed as much more handsome back then, and Sue wasn't quite as stunning as she's portrayed today. Still, if I were a middle-class midwesterner like him (and I am), I'd thank my lucky stars that an East Coast debutante would give me the time of day. And we're not even going to discuss the fact that looks shouldn't be that important.
Detective #353
July '66
"The Puzzling Prophecy of the Tea Leaves"
Sue visits a gypsy whose prophecies come true. Ralph's sense of curiousity leads him to get his own tea leaves read, which foretell his solving a robbery at a certain jewelers. EM indeed foils the crime…and the gypsy reveals that she is actually the daughter of a nasty business man who once ripped off Ralph Dibny! She's been secretly repaying the debts to those her father cheated; since Ralph now has tons of money, she figured he'd enjoy a good mystery more than simple repayment.
Once again, Infantino shows off Elongated Man's impressive combat skills. As for the story, I'd sure like to know more about the financial dealings Ralph had with this man; if I ever get to write an EM series, this is one thing I'll revisit for sure!
Detective #355
"Title Unknown"
Zatanna enlists the help of Elongated Man to help find her father, Giovanni "John" Zatara.
NO REVIEW AVAILABLE. This continues Zatanna's search for her missing father, which began in Hawkman #4, The Atom #19 and Green Lantern #42, and concludes in JLA #51 (also featuring EM).
Detective #360
JLA #51
Feb '67
"Z - As in Zatanna - and Zero Hour"
Ralph and the other four heroes who assisted Zatanna in her search for Zatara are summoned to the Secret Sanctuary by Zatanna, who reveals how she created duplicates of the five heroes to finally help her find her father.
Detective #361
Detective #426
Aug '72
"Trail Of The Fadeaway Footprints"
Ralph and Sue, out of gas in the middle of the Mohave Desert, encounter a dripping wet frogman (as in "scuba gear-wearing", not an actual Frog-Man) dying of a bullet wound! Stumbling upon a ghost town, they uncover radium thieves.
The art is inconsistent, and I'm not too fond of Sue's fringe leather jacket, but it's a decent story.
JLA #100
Aug '72
"The Unknown Soldier of Victory"
EM is an invited guest during the JLA's 100th meeting, where they are joined by the JSA (on Earth-2) and told of a threat to Earth that can only be averted by a device used by the Seven Soldiers of Victory. A mysterious entity known as Oracle sends the assembled JLA/JSA into the past to retrieve the Seven Soldiers. Dr. Fate, the Atom and Ralph retrieve the Crimson Avenger from the ancient Aztecs.
This is Ralph's first meeting with the JSA (at least, it was pre-Crisis, when it was a lot more difficult to meet them!) and probably his first time-travelling experience.
JLA #102
Oct '72
"and One Of Us Must Die"
The JLA, JSA and Seven Soldiers of Victory return from the past and defeat the Iron Hand.
Ralph has a cameo.
Detective #430
Dec '72
"The Haunted Studio Mystery"
Ralph and Sue visit a bankrupt studio which is selling off its properties. Before that happens, the head of the studio has hired lookalike actors to recreate the famous scenes from each movie…but EM deduces that the "actors" are really thieves planning to abscond with the priceless film treasures.
Bad, bad, bad. Most of the story focuses on scenes from movies parodying real movies. They aren't funny. They aren't interesting. I don't know what the point of it was. And the "clue" that gets Ralph's nose twitching is so unintriguing that Ralph would have to have a mental problem to suspect that something's up!
JLA #105
May '73
"Specter in the Shadows"
Elongated Man is inducted into The Justice League of America! Elongated Man involves the JLA in a strange mystery. Putty Men (controlled by T.O. Morrow) are stealing useless items, such as the frames of famous paintings. He disguises himself as a putty man to track down their hideout
Elongated Man is inducted into The Justice League of America! I just had to say that again.
JLA #106
July-Aug '73
"Wolf in the Fold"
Red Tornado joins the JLA. This is actually a plot by T.O. Morrow to destroy the JLA. If they aren't eliminated within 28 days, his super-computer predicts that he will disappear to right some kind of cosmic balance.
No comment
Detective #436
Sept '73
"Sign of the Two Fingers"
Ralph returns from purchasing a puppy (Frazier) for Sue to find her kidnapped. Ralph is blackmailed into thieving for the kidnapper, but he figures out where Sue is and springs her. The joke is that Ralph thought he was being clever but he misunderstood what he thought was a clue and actually finds her by pure luck.
Memorable for the scenes of Ralph holding an invisible dog's leash and for his being imprisoned in a bottle. Ralph demonstrates the ability to squeeze through a pinhole (and I thought a keyhole was rather far-fetched).
JLA #107
Sept-Oct '73
"Crisis on Earth-X"
Ralph and other Leaguers, on their way to Earth-2, end up on Earth-X assisting the Freedom Fighters against the Nazis.
Most definitely not in continuity.
JLA #108
Nov-Dec '73
"Thirteen Against the Earth"
Ralph continues the fight on Earth-X. He, Sandman, Uncle Sam and Black Condor destroy a computer built behind Hitler's face on Mount Rushmore.
Most definitely not in continuity.
JLA #109
Jan-Feb '74
"The Doom of the Divided Man"
EM and the other JLAers fight multiple Eclipsos.
No comment.
JLA #110
March-Apr '74
"The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus"
The JLA investigates the murder of a Santa Claus.
Sue also appears.
JLA #111
May-June '74
"Balance of Power"
The JLA battles the Injustice Gang of the World, organized by Libra. Libra, in the process, robs each character of half his powers.
No comment.
JLA #112
July-Aug '74
"War with the One-Man Justice League"
Attempting to get their powers back, the JLA reprograms Amazo and must engage him in battle.
No comment.
JLA #113
Sept-Oct '74
"The Creature in the Velvet Cage"
The JLA and JSA fights Sandy, Sandman's old sidekick, now a monster.
No comment.
JLA #114
November December '74
"The Return of Anakronus"
Ralph and the rest of the JLA rescue Snapper Carr and his family from a kidnapper.
No comment.
JLA #116
March '75
"The Kid Who Won Hawkman's Wings"
Ralph and the rest of the JLA battle the Matter Master.
No comment.
JLA #117
April '75
"I Have No Wings and I Must Fly"
The JLA copes with Hawkman's return and an equalizing plague.
Ralph appears only briefly. Due to Hawkman's retcons, this may be retconned.
JLA #118
May '75
"Take-Over of the Earth-Masters"
The JLA fights the Adaptoids.
Ralph appears only briefly.
JLA #119
June '75
"Winner Takes the Earth"
Ralph also falls to the Adaptoids, before the JLA fights back.
No comment.
Detective #449
July '75
"The Mystery Man Who Walked On Air"
Ralph wakes to find an old man walking by the window of his Key West Hotel…and they're on the ninth floor. He follows the man and finds him flying like a bird, swimming like a fish and disappearing into a wall. Ralph reveals the man's true identity: the Flash! It turns out that this mystery is actually a surprise for Ralph's birthday.
This is, I believe, Sue's first "birthday mystery" for Ralph. Sue used Ralph's JLA signal device to contact the Flash, as she doesn't know that he's Barry Allen.
JLA #120
July '75
"The Parallel Perils of Adam Strange"
Ralph and the rest of the JLA are transported to Rann.
This may possibly be Ralph's first visit to an alien planet.
JLA #121
Aug '75
"The Hero who Jinxed the Justice League"
Ralph and the rest of the JLA attend Adam Strange's wedding on Rann.
No comment.
Detective #453
Sept 1975
"Case of the Reverse-Pickpocket"
Sue takes all of Ralph's money for a shopping trip, yet Ralph later discovers that his wallet is full of cash. Deducing that he's been the victim of a reverse-pickpocket, Ralph captures a nearby man who turns out to be a renowned thief. However, the thief has been used by his therapist; the doctor hypnotized the thief into stealing for him, then had him plant money on Ralph so that he'd take the rap for the crimes.
Ralph demonstrates an aversion to girls selling cookies.
JLA #127
Feb '76
"The Command is 'Chaos'"
The JLA fight the Anarchist.
No comment.
Detective #456
Feb '76
"The Un-Stretch-Able Sleuth"
Sue has a hissy fit that she hasn't made the "10 Most Admired Women" list since she married Ralph. Ralph suggests she could become "Elongated Woman" if she weren't allergic to Gingold. He steps out for some air and discovers some thieves, but his gingold wears off in the middle of the fight and he's kidnapped by the gang.
You know, I can't believe that a debutante (basically, someone super-rich and pretty) would have ever made the 10 Most Admired Women list…especially since we can see the list and the 10 women on it have actually accomplished things!
JLA #128
Mar '76
"Death-Visions of the Justice League"
The JLA witnesses visions of their imminent deaths and resign.
No comment.
Detective #457
Mar '76
"Make Way For The Elongated Woman"
Sue must rescue her powerless husband from the gang which captured him. She shows up in one of his extra costumes…with his stretching ability! She explains that she ate some of his "special rubbertree bark" which gives him his powers in order to demonstrate that it works. The gang chows down while she gets the gingold to Ralph by dripping it through some floorboards. Ralph and Sue defeat the gang…and Sue reveals that she used some of her wealth to buy "collapsible stilts and accordian arms" to trick the criminals. Reading the paper later, Ralph points out that Sue may be ranked as #11 on the most-admired women list, but Ralph and Sue are on the list of "Most Admired Couples."
"Collapsible stilts and accordian arms"? I don't buy it. Why does Sue have to pose as Elongated Woman in the first place? She could have just arrived as herself. Bob Rozakis seems to be doing the old Silver Age "Come Up With A Cool Cover First" routine; unfortunately, his resulting plot just doesn't make sense. Also, the gang locks Sue in a room which she could escape in a second if she really had stretching powers. And returning to my complaint of last issue, I can't believe that a debutante has any reason to be on a list of admired women at all.
JLA #129
April '76
"The Earth Dies Screaming"
The JLA battles the parasite Nekron.
No comment.
Detective #488
Mar '80
"Minus One Miracle Car"
A prototype car is stolen from a test track.
This mystery is a bit implausible. I can't believe that Ralph could figure out the whole plot from the minimal clues available.
The Flash #252
August 1977
"Double Dose of Danger"
The Flash and EM try to capture the Chane Gang, a group of bank robbers who are in reality identical twins using advanced holography to simulate their gang. Ralph goes undercover as a hood/supervillain. He calls himself "The Molder" and demonstrates an ability to melt/stretch objects. "The Molder" melts a $34 million dollar SST plane and reduces the Flash to a melted puddle.
Sue demonstrates martial arts skills. Sue does not know that Barry Allen is the Flash, although Ralph does. Ralph gets a speeding ticket (and he speeds in a JLA issue, too); speeding may be one of his vices. Sue drinks champagne while Ralph drinks his Gingold (Ralph and Sue are very active social drinkers). Ralph disguises himself as a hood and smokes a cigarette as part of his disguise (hmm…quite a number of vices in this issue!).
The Flash #253
Sept 1977
"Don't Mess With The Molder"
It turns out that, due to EM's drinking a second dose of Gingold (and traveling at high-vibratory superspeed with the Flash while he did it), Ralph has developed a second personality: The Molder. This also seems to have externalized his power, so that he can stretch, distort and melt anything he touches. Barry Allen figures this out and uses a gingold-killing-fungus solution to change Ralph back.
This story is, like most Silver Age Flash stories, pretty far-fetched…but oh so fun! One wonders about the possibilities this story creates.
Detective #500
March 1981
"The final mystery of Edgar Allen Poe"
Ralph and Sue investigate a mystery surrounding a magazine printed by Edgar Allen Poe.
Truly an excellent example of a good detective story. It's well-researched, plausible and fun. The artwork by J.L. Garcia Lopez is enjoyably realistic and distinctive. Sue looks like Demi Moore and Ralph's facial expressions remind me of Colin Baker (the sixth actor to play Dr. Who).
The Flash #296
April 1981
"The Man Who Was Cursed To The Bone"
Ralph has disappeared tracking a series of crimes perpetrated by a travelling circus. Sue asks the Flash to find him. Flash tracks three circus performers who have been perpetrating the crimes, but it turns out that they have been stealing chemicals to develop a cure for the "Elephant Man"-esque member of their freak show.
A nice issue, ruined by an unbelieveable transformation from "Elephant Man" to handsome in only a few seconds. One of the ingredients in the formula is Gingold.
The Flash #300
Aug 1981
"1981 - A Flash Odyssey"
Barry Allen lies in a hospital bed, told by those he knows and loves that the Flash doesn't exist. Elongated Man and Green Lantern arrive to talk to him (Why these two would ever know Barry Allen if he wasn't the Flash isn't revealed!). When he recounts Ralph's life as proof that he is the Flash, Ralph claims that Barry just read Sue Dibny's new book, "My Life With Ralph Dibny." In the end, the whole reality is revealed to be a fiction of Abra Kadabra.
I don't believe Sue ever really wrote that book, as there was little truth to the other fictions created by Abra.
Brave and the Bold #177
Aug 1981
"The Hangman Club Murders"
Batman and Elongated Man track the Hangman as he eliminates the members of The Hangman Club, a charity benefitting ex-cons. At one point, the Hangman tries to hang Batman from Ralph's neck! Ralph and Bruce both deduce the killer's identity.
A good old-fashioned murder mystery! Ralph, in defense of his light-hearted approach to crime-fighting, quotes Lord Byron's Don Juan, canto 4, stanza 3: "…and if I laugh at any mortal thing, tis that I may not weep." Ralph knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, which may or may not be true in present continuity.
JLA #204
July 1982
"The Cut of the Cards!"
Elongated Man leads the investigation into random attacks on the JLA by the Royal Flush Gang.
I love the scene in which Ralph shifts his weight while riding the back of Black Canary's chopper. It's about time someone applied physics to Ralph's stretching.
JLA #205
Aug 1982
"The Final Hand!"
Elongated Man and the JLA finally take on the Royal Flush Gang.
Ralph falls to Queen when she impersonates Sue. Once again, his public identity is his downfall.
JLA #206
Sept 1982
"The Secret That Time Forgot"
Elongated Man and several other JLAers go up against the Demons Three.
25th Century kid Gardner Parker is revealed to be the offspring of one of the JLAers in this story. Of the Leaguers active in this story, Ralph is the most likely candidate. For more on this, go here.
DC Comics Presents #58
June '83
"The Deadly Touch of the Intangibles"
Superman and two ex-circus performers, Robin and Elongated Man, are doing a circus charity performance when it is disrupted by the thieving trio known as the Intangibles.
Elongated Man contributes…but it's hardly a great story.
The Flash #324
Aug 1983
"The Slayer and the Slain"
On his wedding day, Flash has an around the world super-speed battle with the Reverse Flash. Ralph is a member of the wedding party waiting for Barry to show up. The Flash kills the Reverse Flash a millisecond before he can murder Barry's bride-to-be.
It's unclear whether Ralph was best man or not. I must say, for a guy with a secret identity, having the world famous Elongated Man be your best man would be a dead giveaway that you're the Flash…especially when the Flash was Ralph's best man!
The Flash #325
Sept 1983
"Dead Reckoning"
The Flash deals with the after-effects of his killing the Reverse Flash. Ralph is among his friends who comfort him in his time of need, and he defends him to the media.
A cameo part.
The Flash #327
Nov 1983
The Flash, awaiting trial for the death of the Reverse-Flash, is summoned to the JLA satellite for a vote on the status of his membership. Ralph, one of the six members present, votes against expulsion (along with Firestorm and Green Arrow).
Most of the other members talk of law and justice, but Ralph's reasons refer to the murder of Flash's wife and the threat to his new fiance…obviously, Ralph would not find it unreasonable to kill in the defense of Sue's life. This issue features several JLA members who've been changed or eliminated by retcon, including Superman, Wonder Woman and the Thanagarian Hawkman II. In the original history, it is Aquaman, Hawkman and Wonder Woman who vote for expulsion. Superman is the tie-breaker.
The Flash #329
Jan 1984
"What is the Sinister Secret of Simian and Son?"
The JLA reaches a verdict. The Flash can stay in the JLA until his trial is over. Elongated Man apologizes to his best friend for making him go through the quorum ruling. The Flash announces that his membership is not his biggest concern at the moment.
EM has a small cameo.
Flash #35
Feb 1990
"Behold the Turtle"
The Flash has been captured by the Turtle, and EM is amongst a posse of Wally's friends assembled to track him down. Whilst most of Wally's friends muddle through and goof up, Ralph and Mason Trollbridge manage to track the Turtle's men to his lair.
This issue shows Ralph "face-molding" and reveals that it hurts to do it. Oddly, it didn't seem to hurt him in The Flash #252. Also, Ralph somehow makes his hair change color when posing as the Turtle's henchman! (I can assure you that that ISN'T one of his abilities!)
JLE #14
May 90
"You Oughta Be In Pictures"
An unnamed film fan gains the ability to become any character he sees on film, and accidentally runs amuck at the Cannes Film Festival (where he encounters the JLE).
Contains the scene in which Fire slaps Ralph and his head flies about 50 feet.
Flash #48
March 91

Ralph helps Wally and Chunk track down Wally's missing mom.
Ralph displays anger and disgust when he finds some teen-aged drug users.
Flash #49
April 91
"Savage Season"
Ralph is amongst Wally's friends who are all held hostage by Vandal Savage.
Two big problems here. One, Ralph isn't able to translate a very simple French phrase spoken by a little girl/android, despite being fluent in the language. (Let's pretend it was a noisy street and he wasn't able to hear the little girl.) Secondly, when the android's head explodes and releases gas, Ralph has enough time to shout a warning and bring his hand up to his mouth and cough a bit. And then he passes out. I'm sorry, but Ralph couldn't be taken out this easily if he wasn't just a supporting character in Flash's book! He could extend his head up about 100 feet. He could protect his face by completely wrapping his palm around his head. He could "snap" his body into the air as he's done on several occasions. He could run away with 100 yard strides. These are just a couple ideas. Even if a decade of crime-fighting hadn't made this a reflexive action, he obviously had some time to react.
Superman #65
Mar 92
"Head Man"
Panic in the Sky Second Strike
EM participates when Superman rounds up heroes to combat Braniac's WarWorld
Appears in a couple panels.
JLE #37
Apr 92
The JLE re-forms with Sue Dibny as co-ordinator and new costumes (designed by Paul Gambi) for Ralph, Power Girl and Dr. Light, just as an anarchistic art freak named Deconstructo begins re-shaping the matter of London.
This marks the debut of Ralph's current costume, and of Gerard Jones as sole writer of the JLE. His tenure saw many good EM stories, as Ralph is one of Gerard's favorite characters.
Adv. of Superman #488
Mar 92
"Counter Strike"
Panic in the Sky Third Strike
Braniac's ship attacks Earth
Ralph only has a cameo.
Action #675
Mar 92
"Divide and Conquer"
Panic in the Sky Fourth Strike
Superman's team attacks WarWorld
More cameos.
Superman:MOS #10
Apr 92
Tidal Wave
Panic in the Sky Fifth Strike
Superman's forces are forced by Braniac's mind-control devices to attack Superman.
Wow! Ralph takes on Superman in one panel! Cool!
Superman #66
Apr 92
Our Army at War
Panic in the Sky Final Strike
The assembled superheroes attack Brainiac.
EM cameos.
Adv. of Superman #489
Apr 92
Hail the Conquering Heroes
Panic in the Sky Epilogue
The heroes return from beating Brainiac.
EM cameo.

Back to the Dibny Dirt Main Page

This site's layout art was created
by the talented Rosaline Terrill