Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Top Ten Elongated Man Covers

It really must have sucked to have been the Elongated Man. Stretching heroes have been a comic book hallmark from the very beginning, so Julie Schwartz decided he needed one amongst his Silver Age revivals. Schwartz later admitted that had he known DC had already acquired and shelved the publishing rights to Plastic Man, Ralph Dibny would never have been born. Still, Schwartz had enough faith in the new Elongated Man to feature him prominently in the Flash and boot Martian Manhunter out of Detective Comics to give Dibny his own feature. However, the character never managed to expand from there, instead appearing throughout the Bronze Age as a marginal member of the Justice League of America. Despite fifteen continuous years in that book, I couldn't find a single cover image from that extended run worth running here. Ralph's powers made him the perfect character to fill up space way in the background, and I didn't see the point in choosing any one cover where only Ralph's outstretched head appeared. From there, Ralph became one of the least funny members of the JLI, had all manner of wrong done to his wife, pretended to become an alcoholic before committing heroic suicide, and barely managed to milk any cover action out of any of it.

10) DC Comics Presents #21 (May, 1980)

Nicely rendered, and an interesting application of Ralph's powers.

9)Elongated Man #1 (January, 1992)

Fairly weak, but it's the only first Elongated Man issue ever and has Sue Dibny in the foreground.

8) Detective Comics #343 (September, 1965)

There was a time when the Elongated Man could be treated as a threat to Batman and Robin. That time is long past.

7) Justice League of America #51 (February, 1967)

Although this is more of a Zatanna cover, it features most the heroes whose strips helped introduce her, including Elongated Man. Also, this was Dibny's first major JLofA appearance.

6) The Flash #134 (February, 1963)

Still playing the villain card, and already third man out on a three figure cover.

5)Wonder Woman #308 (October, 1983)

I love this cover because it's so random. Sure, let's have an Elongated Man guest appearance where he offers his own reaction to a bullets & bracelets situation. Wah? Also, the art and coloring here are phenomenal, and they show that sometimes you get a greater sense of contortion from less elongation.

4)Booster Gold #15 (February, 2009)

I was shocked to find that over fifty years of history, a cover produced just last year, two years after Ralph's death, was among the liveliest of his entire existence.

3) 52 #52 (May 2, 2007)

A somber impression is made with this painting, but Elongated Man still has to share space with mourners for the Question and Isis. Even in death, Elongated Man isn't allowed to carry a story.

2) Showcase Presents: The Elongated Man Vol. 1 (2006)

It may be a reprint of an interior splash, but nice cover images of Ralph Didny alone are very rare. Again, we have strong anatomy with only slight, unnerving distortion of the human form.

1)The Flash #112 (April, 1960)

The debut of the Elongated Man, and a pretty nifty cover besides.

Honorable Mentions:
Animal Man #16 (Great mood, and a mystery!)
Detective Comics #327 (New feature! Slight presence!)
Detective Comics #331 (Nice bright background color.)
Elongated Man #2 (Battling a host of sad bad guys.)
Elongated Man #4 (Boring design work throughout these covers.)
The Flash #138 (Generic.)
The Flash #252 (good bit, but tiny figure.)
The Flash #296 (Nice idea, rough execution.)
Formerly Known As the Justice League #1 (Cute[ish] sight gag.)
JLA: Classified #4
Justice League Europe #31
Justice League Unlimited #39 (Owned by a chimp? Ouch.)
The Shadow War of Hawkman #3
Wonder Woman #219 (Ralph's shooting a snuff film?)

DC Comics 75th Anniversary Iconic Cover Suggestions

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