Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Who's Who Vol.VII: The Elongated Man (9/85)
I believe one of the first times I ever saw the Elongated Man, not to mention the whole of the Justice League (as opposed to "Super Friends,") was on George Pérez's magnificent cover to 1983's Justice League of America #217. I noticed this stretchy guy flinging his neck about in the background, and my response was, "oh, another one." Like most people, I never particularly liked super-heroes with that particular power set, and am never pleased when Martian Manhunter shows similar plying inclinations. What respect I have for Mr. Fantastic comes from his superior intellect, where I've had to unlearn decades of Plastic Man hate based on his cartoon show and lousy modern comic appearances. Turns out the Jack Cole originals are some of the best comics of the Golden Age.
Leading the discussion back to Elongated Man, I'm already fighting the urge for another tangent. Ralph Dibney's was an okay guy, and I liked Sue quite a bit. That doesn't change the fact that as far as I'm concerned, the only interesting thing Elongated Man did in 2 1/2 years of Detroit League service was to pown Vibe in his final outing. His time with Justice League Europe was similarly misspent-- the hero most obviously suited to be in a "funny" League that never pulled any laughs. When your non-powered, unadventurous wife outshines you simply by providing decent supporting work to other characters, you should have your hero card revoked. The only time Elongated Man ever worked for me was as a straight detective, but he was rarely shown in that light, and that was Plastic Man's original territory to boot!
Poor Elongated Man. So little love for you. Many heroes gain a soul with their passing, but even in death, Sue Dibney upstaged him...
Art by Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano