EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM DRANK GINGOLD SODA POP!
Ralph suspected that Gingold Soda was the reason for the contortionists'
flexibility. Reading over the ingredients, he found them to be similar
to most other soft drinks
except for the juice of the gingo, a fruit
from the Yucatan peninsula. He began processing the fruit juice in his
home lab until he'd distilled the essence of the fruit; then (and I think
this settles the matter of his qualifications as a scientist) he drank
it! There weren't any immediate effects, although he noted that it might
taste good with a peach schnapps. (Anyone out there know whether the drinking
age in Nebraska is 18 or 21?) However, his arms stretched one day when
he reacted to a falling flowerpot, and from there on he was able to stretch
as long as he took repeated doses of gingo elixir (more often referred
to as Gingold, although this is really the brand name of the soda pop).
Being a glutton for attention, he began dressing in a purple costume
and calling himself the Elongated Man. He traveled to Central City,
where he managed to foil a few crimes and rescue several innocents before
the Flash arrived on the scene. Then a rare vase is stolen from an inaccessible
museum, and the Flash suspects it is actually E.M. who could break in
to steal it. However, after the briefest superhero fight in comics history
(it happens IN BETWEEN the first panel, where Flash is running after
E.M., and the second panel where E.M. has already surrendered!), he
and the Flash team up to solve the mystery
and a new super hero
At the beginning of his career, Ralph announced his real name to the world
him the first superhero to do so. (Recently, many other heroes have become
casual about their identities. However, to this day, only one other hero
has openly unmasked in front of the media--Green Lantern John Stewart.)
Ralph's wandering took him to New York, where he crashed the boring
debutante ball of the vivacious young Sue Dearbon on the pretense that
there were jewel thieves inside. She was attracted to him because of
his sense of humor that flaunted the conventions of her stuffy upper-crust
family. He was attracted to her because
well, he's not an idiot.
Ralph and Sue's marriage happened almost overnight, with the Flash as
the best man.
After their wedding, Ralph and Sue spent much of their first year travelling
across America. Indeed, most of their life since has been one long vacation.
However, no matter where Ralph goes, he always seems to run into a mystery
to solve or a crime to thwart
much to the annoyance of Sue. At first,
she was almost shrewish in her complaining about his amateur sleuthing,
though nowadays she gets a resigned kick out of it.
Ralph developed a close friendship with Barry Allen, helping him to
solve numerous cases. He assisted the Justice League of America in its
early days and became friends with several other superheroes, notably
the Atom, Green Arrow and Black Canary (all were low-powered heroes
who relied on their wits). Ralph travelled in time with the Justice
League and Justice Society when they went searching for the Seven Soldiers
of Victory. He also joined Zatanna in her search for her father Zatara.
Finally, shortly after the League moved to their new satellite Headquarters,
Ralph was invited to join the JLA. He and Sue continued to globetrot in
his free time, invariably finding mysteries to solve. It is not known
how Ralph transported up to the satellite, since he has no place of residence
in which to store a transporter tube.
After the JLA satellite was destroyed in an alien invasion, Aquaman
(as the only remaining charter member) declared the League an unreliable
defense for Earth and disbanded the JLA. Aquaman formed a new JLA, with
membership depending on a hero's willingness to make a total commitment
to the League. Most of the League's "Big Guns" had personal lives that
prohibited such a major commitment. The only members able to remain
were Zatanna, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter
and Ralph, so long
as Sue was allowed to join. As the only married member, and the only
one without a permanent residence, this seemed reasonable.
Sue brought out the best in Ralph, and he was an even cheerier member
than before. The other JLAers compared them to Nick and Nora Charles
of the "Thin Man" films.
That summer, Ralph lost his best friend when Barry gave his life to defeat
the Anti-Monitor's energy cannon. His relationship with the new "Flash",
a self-interested womanizer, was bitter for a time.
After being evicted from their Detroit Bunker HQ, the JLA moved back
into their old Mountain HQ
and found it inhabited by a walking,
tentacled potato which Gypsy nicknamed Junior. Unbeknownst to them,
Junior was siphoning off their life forces bit by bit, until it finally
started sucking them dry. Sue returned to the Mountain to find Ralph
and the others in an almost desiccated state
and she managed to
hit the priority JLA alert before Junior sucked her dry too. The original
JLA members returned to defeat Junior and restore the JLA's life energies.
This was the first time that being in the JLA had almost killed Sue.
A few weeks later, during G. Gordon Godfrey's political attack on
Earth's superheroes, a superhero edict was issued by the president and
the JLA was ordered to disband. Ralph got into a fight with fellow member
Vibe, who refused to make up with Ralph and walked away from the League
(to be killed that evening by Professor Ivo). Ralph, dejected, muttered
that his wife had been asking him for a vacation and left.
Ralph wasn't invited to join the new Justice League that was formed by
Maxwell Lord later that month, and he was probably still on his vacation
Ralph and Sue travelled to England, where he and Batman defeated a
descendant of Doctor Moriarty and fullfilled every detective's dream:
to meet Sherlock Holmes! Still alive, and living in some remote mountain
monastary, Sherlock was visiting England for the wedding of the descendants
of Moriarty and Mr. Watson.
Ralph returned to Waymore for his 30th birthday, expecting the small-town-boy-made-good
treatment. Instead, his friends and relatives ignored his achievements
and overlooked his grandstanding, paying more attention to his brother
Waymore's new mayor! Finally, Ken spelled it out for Ralph
his life, Ralph had never tried to relate to people as a normal person
would. In talking about his life, Sue also confided that their early
marriage may have been just an escape for both of them
their relationship had grown into true love.
Ralph was invited to join Justice League Europe later that year. Metamorpho
even wondered aloud why Ralph wasn't the team leader, since he'd had the
most experience as a Leaguer of any JLE member. In the JLE, Ralph became
good friends with Dmitri (Rocket Red) and Buddy Baker (Animal Man), especially
after discovering that they were all married men. Ralph also finally bonded
with Wally West, the new Flash, and stopped mentioning how wonderful Barry
was in Wally's presence.
After Maxwell Lord was shot, the various Leagues were taken over by
a UN bigwig named Heimlech who started firing the League members he
considered useless. Ralph was one of the first to go. To add to his
embarrassment, Sue was kept on as the JLE's computer programmer!
After the stress of attacks by Despero and Dreamslayer, and the death
of Silver Sorceress, Ralph and Sue took time off to attend the European
Economic summit in Paris. The conference was disrupted by Eurocrime--a
collection of gimmicky criminals from European nations, each with a
power based on their national dish--no really!
Sue, meanwhile, met a charming man named Bito Wladon from the nation
of Modora. Although she knew that matched the description of the Green
Lantern arch-villain Sonar, she knew Sonar to be in an American prison.
Bito charmed Sue with his mature intelligence
which seemed even
more striking when compared to her husband's grandstanding antics. Ralph
and Sue began having serious marital problems as Sue wondered if her
marriage was just a childish decision.
The couple travelled with Bito to Modora, a 19th century village with
21st century technology. The populace seemed quaint
halted manner made it obvious that they were constantly under surveillance
by the master of sound, Sonar. Ralph discovered that Bito was the real
Sonar, yet Sue wouldn't believe him. Sue was still charmed by the opulence
of the Modoran castle and Bito's romantic overtures. Disgusted and heartbroken,
Ralph walked out on her to solve the Eurocrime mystery at the Economic
Upon discovering that Sonar was behind the disruptions at the conference,
Ralph covertly returned to Modora and challenged Sonar. At the same
time, Sue discovered the police-state nature of Modora and led the town
in an open revolt. Sonar fled and the Dibny's reunited.
The Justice Leagues re-organized again. Sue took charge of the JLE and
had new costumes made for Ralph, Power Girl and Dr. Light. Since Sue's
regular designer was unavailable, she had their costumes re-designed by
Paul Gambi, the Central City tailor who makes clothing for Flash's Rogues
Gallery. Sonar coerced Gambi into implanting spy equipment in the fabric.
This time, the UN re-settled the JLE in an historic English castle
filled with collectibles, antiquities and fine art. This
provides a keen insight into the mental processes at work at the UN.
Apparently, the British didn't want to spend the money demolishing it
themselves, so they figured they'd give it to a superhero group and
wait a week or two.
Ralph loved the castle
especially when a suit of armor began
walking around the castle on its own. Eventually, the suit of armor
revealed itself to be the ghost of the original lord of the castle,
A team of Modorans brought Ralph a hoversled and an invitation to
their new Elongated Man museum. Ralph and Sue returned to Modora, where
Ralph was mortally wounded by Sonar's old sceptre as it hung on the
wall of the museum. Sonar agreed to save Ralph's life if she would divorce
Ralph and become Sonar's consort. Sue agreed.
At the same time, Sonar used the Rocket Reds, Eurocrime, the Global
Guardians and other brainwashed metahumans to fight off the JLE and
take over the republics of the post-Soviet Union. Ralph, Sue and the
JLE managed to overcome Sonar
and this time, Ralph had the pleasure
of delivering a, ahem, "sound" punch in Sonar's face.
Sue is now more in love with Ralph than ever before
she gave up the chance to be queen of the Eastern Hemisphere for him,
he has no reason to doubt her love again.
Immediately after, Sue was captured by a gang of New Aztecs who threatened
her with death. They figured that capturing Sue Dibny and demanding the
presence of the JLE was a logical way to keep the League away
kind of thinking proves that members of the United Nations are secretly
Aztecs. The only importance of this incident is that it started Ralph
thinking about the dangerous situations he was facing more and more often
which caught Sue in the crossfire.
A week or two after that incident, New Druids attacked the JLI members
and burned down the JLE castle, thus fullfilling their secret demolition
contract with the United Nations International Landmark Demolition Subcommittee.
They shot Sue and Ralph with stun rays and left them to die in the burning
wreckage. Though the JLI got away without too much trouble, Ralph was
again confronted with the fact that Sue could die due to his League
membership. Ralph announced that he was taking an extended leave so
that he and Sue could return to their first love
The suit of armor (Duke Donald) decided to join them. No,
Ralph, as a Justice League Reserve Member, was called in to assist the
JL Task Force in defeating an American Neo-Nazi movement's attempt to
eliminate all of the "inferior" races from the face of the Earth. Ralph
was disturbed by the Nazi members, who, racist beliefs aside, bore a striking
similarity to the normal people he grew up with.
Ralph also assisted the League during the fight against the Overmaster.
Since then, Ralph has been spotted at many of the usual Earth-shattering
calamities. He was also seen at the memorial service for Hal Jordan.
And in Ralph Dibny's future
Possible future #1: Ralph and Sue will probably
have at least one child.
- When Waverider read one of Wally West's probable futures, he saw
a future where Wally had a young son. Wally muses that Elongated Man's
kid turned out okay.
- It's been revealed that there is a young boy in the 25th century
named Gardner Parker. His father, Thomas Parker, has told him that
he is a descendent of one of the Justice League of America members
who defeated Abnegezzar, Rath and Gast at Stonehenge. Out of all the
JLAers who participated in this case (especially when Superman, Batman
and Wonder Woman have been retroactively removed from JLA history),
Ralph is the only likely candidate. Here's the complete rundown:
- Ralph--Married, with good prospects for the future.
- The Flash (Barry Allen)--Has children living in the 30th century.
Possibly Gardner is a descendent of Impulse.
- The Atom--Now de-aged to 16 and a member of the Teen Titans.
Didn't have children with his first wife, but could upon reaching
adulthood again (Boy, does that sound weird.)
- Zatanna--A free-loving feminist now living in Seattle. Who knows?
Possible future #2: Ralph loses most of his hair and joins
Batman's 'Mankind Liberation Force", per Kingdom Come.
Possible future #3: As one of the Leaguers who defeated Professor
Ivo, and the one most likely to have children, it seems a good possibility
that his descendents will be assassinated by an Ivo robot programmed to
eliminate all Justice League descendents. (Although Legion of Super-Heroes
continuity has been restarted, and EM's insignia was not crossed off on
the robots' plating, this still seems a likely scenario.)
News from the United Nations
International Landmark Demolition Subcommittee
Plans are afoot to move Infinity Incorporated into a secret room in the
- This page is in no way associated with or endorsed by DC Comics.
Elongated Man, Batman, the Justice League and all related characters
are the property of DC Comics. TM & © 1996. Mention of these characters
in this document is without permission of DC Comics, but this non-profit
use is not intended to challenge DC's trademark rights or copyrights.
- All "Dibny Dirt" pages and their contents are © Michael Hutchison,
1996, except where previous copyrights exist.
Readers who want to learn more about Elongated Man are encouraged
to purchase the comic books. Permission is granted for non-profit
distribution of this document, provided all headers remain intact
and the original authorship is acknowledged. Any other use requires
the written permission of the author.