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Reasons why I like Elongated Man:

Dibny's leg caught in a door
Elongated Man's arm


Read any of those old Justice Leagues, or better yet, his individual mystery adventures in Detective and The Flash. Elongated Man hasn't taken himself seriously from day one! When I was a kid, and the League members were stolid characters who kept their minds on their work, Ralph would be stretching his nose, inserting his head into stern discussions, making light of the most complex situation, goofing around with his wife, etc… Nowadays, even Superman and the Martian Manhunter act so silly they don't need comedy relief, which could explain Ralph's disappearing into the background in recent years.

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One of the first things the Elongated Man did was tell the world his real name! This was unheard-of…perhaps a first in comic books history (I don't know that for certain). Even in his first appearance in The Flash #112, he introduced himself to The Flash as Ralph Dibny. Although I haven't read those early issues, I'm led to believe that this was before his marriage to Sue by a panel from Secret Origins #30, showing Ralph Dibny stretching at his wedding. If nothing else, having the Flash in costume as your best man is something of a dead give-away!

This, of course, puts Sue in the status of jeopardized, since (now let's all say this together) any arch-enemy wanting to get to him could strike through her! The big difference between EM and, say, Superman in this area is: WHAT ARCH-ENEMIES? While stopping hundreds of criminals over the years, Ralph has never acquired any enemies. Not a sausage. Bugger-all. He didn't even get to inherit any from his best friend, The Flash, whose death caused the greatest unemployment crisis amongst gaudily-dressed headcases in DC history. Massive hordes of gimmicky villains wandered the streets and spread to different cities, where they invariably met the resident hero and got the living $%&* kicked out of them because modern heroes just aren't as interested in nonviolent arrests as the Flash was. Of course, these guys never rob a bank in Bud, Wisconsin, or Redneckberg, West Virginia; Elongated Man is probably better off without an enemy who's too dumb to avoid the cities where billboards on the city limits read, Welcome to Allburg, USA, home of Scumkiller and the Knifing League.

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A happy family, apparently, is too boring for modern readers. To wit:

    E! Hawkman's been retconned so that he never married Shiera.
    E! The Flash's wife, Iris, was killed by Reverse Flash.
    E! Metamorpho's been forcibly divorced from Sapphire Stagg.
    E! Aquaman's wife Mera went insane and tried to kill him.
    E! Adam Strange cheated on Alanna and then she died.
    E! Atom got a divorce. Just as well; she'd be in jail since he's now 16.
    E! Red Tornado planned to marry Kathy and adopt Traya; then he became an air elemental and announced, "Screw you, puny fleshlings!"
    E! Green Arrow and Black Canary (after years of an "alternative lifestyle") broke up.
    E! The Phantom Stranger and Black Canary (after years of cheating on Green Arrow) broke up. Oh, that was a secret. Sorry. Forget I mentioned it.
    E! Barda Free has left Scott Free. That is to say, she left her husband, Mr. Miracle. Whether she's scott free is another matter!
    E! Jon Stewart was blissfully married to Katma Tui, so Star Sapphire butchered her.

…and all of their offspring have either been murdered or fallen into enemy hands.

Into this sad, depressing world shines only one ray of happiness: Ralph and Sue have the only lasting marriage of any Silver Age characters. They love each other. They've never cheated on each other. They've never split up (aside from a fake separation in Justice League Europe #s 46-50). He includes her in many of his adventures, and she's joined the League with him since 1984. And they support each other's decisions: she understands when he leaves to solve a mystery; in turn he's only quit the League on two occasions, and both times for her sake.

Ralph and Sue have obviously been patterned (at least, for the last decade or two) after Nick and Nora Charles of the "Thin Man" movies. This has provided a bombardment of snappy, screwball-comedy reparteé!

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One reason the Dibnies (Dibny's?) have survived as a couple is that they don't have a "typical" marriage. Now don't get me wrong; I love the traditional concept of marriage! But a comic book series survives on turmoil, and anyone who's happily married to a loving wife and has a nine to five job is doomed. His house blows up. Despero moves in next door and eats the neighbors. His wife gets replaced with a shape-changing alien spy.

Fortunately, the Dibnies don't live in that world. They've never owned a house; they've never held steady jobs. They tour America in a convertible solving mysteries, or they go on shopping trips around the world. While it may be unrealistic, it keeps parasites from sucking on Sue's spinal fluid in an attempt to make life more interesting for the readers.

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Every other JLA character has gone through major life changes in order to spice things up (more often screwing things up). Superman and Wonder Woman were completely re-started. Batman's had many retroactive continuity changes, bit-by-bit. Aquaman lost his hand. Green Lantern, Green Arrow and the Flash have passed on their legacies.

Lord knows what the hell happened to Hawkman.

Every day I live in mortal fear that Howard Chaykin's going to get his hands on Elongated Man. I don't WANT Sue killed off just to push E.M. over the edge. I don't WANT him to wear a black leather costume coated in razors. I don't WANT to get into the sexual exploits of a guy who can stretch any part of his body. I just want some more Ralph Dibny adventures with lots of mystery-solving and flirtatious banter.

I'm…ranting, aren't I?

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Thanks to that wonderful retroactive continuity, Ralph Dibny's been a Leaguer longer than any other superhero save two…and even they wouldn't apply except for some re-writing! Ralph was a member from JLA #105-261 (156 issues), then a member of JLE from issues #1-57 (57), plus a few guest appearances in other Justice League issues..making almost 220 appearances! He would be about even with Martian Manhunter and Black Canary.

However, in retroactive continuity Martian Manhunter never left for "New Mars", (since, in RetCon, Mars has always been dead, and he has to fill the retcon'd Superman's place) which adds over 130 appearances to his record, and Black Canary was retcon'd to fill Wonder Woman's place, giving her an extra 75 appearances. Still, that makes Elongated Man a more tenured Leaguer than the many ballyhooed "heavy hitters", who tend to join, then quit, then join a new League, then quit again, then get rewritten so they never were members to begin with!

Elongated Man's arm


I guess I just identify with a guy who dresses gaudily, craves attention and never gets any respect…although I sure wish I was married to a debutante with a fantastic sense of humor.

Elongated Man's arm


"The Mask"-like special effects, witty banter with a cute wife, joke-packed fight scenes, a mystery to solve…it'll never, ever get made, sure…but Hollywood could do a lot worse. What am I saying? Hollywood constantly does a lot worse.
Oh, and as for casting:
    E! Martin Short or Dana Carvey were my choices a decade ago. Now they're a tad too old.
    E!Jim Carrey?--Too obvious. (Lots of people say that! Heh heh.)
    E! Jerry O'Connell--He's young and handsome.
    E! Alexander Siddig--He's skinny and handsome.
    The best choice:
    E! Bruce Campbell--Of course! He's handsome, heroic and charming…the quintessential action hero. He's proven that he's an even better comedian. He may be a bit too hunky to play Ralph…but die his hair red and he'd do pretty well.
SUE--I'd choose someone who's elfin-cute with a sweet smile over some drop-dead gorgeous starlet with bosoms til Tuesday, but I don't have anyone particularly in mind. Here are a few possibilities:
    E! Jennifer Connelly--She's a brunette. Like Sue, she was educated in Europe and is quite intelligent. Unlike Sue, Jennifer Connelly is verrrry buxom, but I'd hardly throw her out of the running for that! :-)
    E! Courtney Cox--A dark brunette who bears a striking resemblence to Sue, and she has great comedic timing…but she's on Friends now, so her salary would be atrocious.
Do you have any suggestions for casting? Please e-mail them to me!

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  • 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.
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