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[The Elongated Man and his wife from Who’s Who]
Real Name: Ralph Dibny
Known Relatives: Sue (wife, deceased), Ken (brother), Jake (uncle), Jim (uncle-in-law)
Group Affiliation: Justice League
Occupation: Detective, adventurer
Base of Operations: Mobile
Hair: Red
Eyes: Blue
First Appearance: Flash v.1 #112, April–May 1960
Death: Killed by Neron (52 Week 42, February 21, 2007)
See Also: The Molder

(Yes, I know it’s an old costume. I’ll get a newer scan posted when I get a chance.)

Intrigued by the “Indian Rubber Men” he saw at carnivals throughout his youth, Ralph Dibny spent years trying to learn their secret. Eventually he noticed that many of the contortionists liked a particular soft drink called Gingold. He isolated the key ingredient—the juice of a little-known tropical fruit called the gingo—and distilled it. By drinking this gingold extract, Dibny gained the ability to stretch any part of his body to fantastic lengths.

World-Famous

Early in his career, he traveled to Central City, where a brief rivalry with the Flash became a lifelong friendship. The flamboyant Dibny never seriously hid his identity, craving the attention (and the fortune) that came with being the “world-famous Elongated Man.” He would have been very hard-pressed to keep his name secret after he married celebrity debutante Sue Dearbon.

Ralph and Sue have spent much of their time traveling the world, solving mysteries (Ralph cannot resist a good mystery) in small towns, sometimes settling down when Ralph has joined the Justice League. They spent a great deal of time in Paris and London, since they both worked with the European branch of the League (he as a hero, she as an administrator) from the beginning of the team to its end.

Crisis Strikes

Just over a year ago, Sue was tragically killed in the couple’s Opal City home (Identity Crisis #1, 2004). In his grief, Ralph quit drinking Gingold and gave up his powers.

Shortly after the Infinite Crisis, Sue’s grave was desecrated with the mark of a resurrection cult. Ralph investigated, hoping they might be able to bring her back. This led him on a quest for magic, guided by the spirit in Dr. Fate’s helmet. (52, 2006–2007) At the completion of the quest, the helmet was revealed as sorcerer Felix Faust in disguise... something that Ralph had known all along. His powers still active, he kept Faust busy until the devil Neron arrived, then goaded Neron into killing him. Without Ralph to release the bindings on the room, Neron and Faust were trapped. (52 #42, 2007)

Afterlife

[Ralph and Sue Dibny, Spectral Detectives]

Ralph and his beloved Sue have been reunited at last. Their spirits travel the world, investigating supernatural mysteries. (52 #52, 2007)

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Art

  • Elongated Man and Wife: Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #7 (February 1991) - Carmine Infantino and Bart Sears
  • Ralph and Sue: Afterlife Detectives: 52 Week 52 (May 2, 2007) - Keith Giffen (breakdowns) and Darick Robertson (thanks to Glen Cadigan for identifying the artist!)

Origin Tales

  • Flash #112 (April 1960): “The Mystery of the Elongated Man!” John Broome
  • Secret Origins #30 (September 1988): “The Home Stretch,” Gerard Jones

Profiles

Significant Silver-Age Flash Appearances*

  • Flash #112 (April 1960): “The Mystery of the Elongated Man!” John Broome
  • Flash #115 (September 1960): “The Elongated Man’s Secret Weapon!” John Broome
  • Flash #119 (March 1961): “The Elongated Man’s Undersea Trap!” John Broome
  • Flash #124 (November 1961): “Space Boomerang Trap!” John Broome
  • Flash #130 (August 1962): “Kid Flash Meets the Elongated Man,” John Broome
  • Flash #134 (February 1963): “The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero,” John Broome
  • Flash #138 (August 1963): “The Pied Piper’s Double Doom,” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #206 (May 1971): “Showdown in Elongated Town!” Cary Bates (Elongated Man Solo)
  • Flash #208 (August 1971): “Malice in Wonderland,” Len Wein
  • Flash #210 (November 1971): “A Tasteless Trick,” Steve Skeates (Elongated Man Solo)
  • Flash #212 (February 1972): “When Money Grows on Trees,” Len Wein (Elongated Man Solo)
  • 100pg Super Spectacular #22 (November 1973): “Riddle of the Sleepytime Taxi,” Gardner Fox (Elongated Man Solo)
  • Flash #252 (August 1977): “Double Dose of Danger,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #253 (September 1977): “Don’t Mess With The Molder!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #277 (September 1979): “The Self-Destruct Flash,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #296 (April 1981): “The Man who was Cursed to the Bone!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #300 (August 1981): “1981—A Flash Odyssey,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #323 (July 1983): “Run, Flash—Run For Your Wife!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #324 (August 1983): “The Slayer and the Slain!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #325 (September 1983): “Dead Reckoning,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #327 (November 1983): “Burnout!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #329 (January 1984): “What is the Secret of... Simian & Son,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #341 (January 1985): “Trial and Tribulation,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #349 (September 1985): “...And the Truth Shall Set Him Free!” Cary Bates (cameo)

Significant Legacy-Era Flash Appearances

  • Flash #35 (February 1990): “Behold the Turtle!” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #48–49 (March–April 1991): “Persistence of Vision” and “Savage Season,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #61 (April 1992): “The Old Wedding Dodge,” William Messner-Loebs (cameo)
  • Flash #87 (February 1994): “Christmas Rush,” Mark Waid (cameo)
  • Silver Age: Flash (July 2000): “Mystery of the Thieving Thunderbolt,” Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #209 (June 2004): “Fast Friends,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • Flash #214 (November 2004): “The Secret of Barry Allen, Part One,” Geoff Johns (cameo)

Series Regular In...

  • Detective Comics #327–383 (1964–1969)*
  • Justice League of America #105–258 (1973–1987)
  • Justice League Europe/Justice League International (1989–1994)
  • Elongated Man (4-issue mini, 1992)
  • Formerly Known As the Justice League (6-issue mini, 2003)
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League (6-issue arc in JLA: Classified #4–9, 2005)
  • 52 (2006–2007)

Notes

* The Elongated Man’s early Silver Age appearances in The Flash (through 1963) and most of his run in Detective Comics have been reprinted in Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man Vol.1, a 560-page black-and-white collection. See Silver Age Reprints for more.

Related Commentary

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