Ralph Dibny a.k.a. Elongated Man was created in The Sixties to be a Captain Ersatz of Plastic Man because the people at DC Comics didn't realize that they technically already owned Plastic Man. In a way, this makes him the first Silver Age Legacy Character not to share a name with the character he was inspired by. He first appeared in "The Flash" #112 (April, 1960). His wife and partner Susan "Sue" Dearborn was introduced in #119 (March, 1961). Notably, he was the first Superhero to drop his Secret Identity and marry his Love Interest (in her first appearance, too!).
A close friend of the (second) Flash in whose series he appeared often. He got his own series in the backpages of Detective Comics, lasting from issue #327 to #383 (May, 1964-January, 1969) with several new stories appearing in the same magazine during the 1970s, though at irregular intervals. The series formula was to have Ralph and Sue traveling the globe, investigating crimes along the way. Don Markstein, a comic book historian, described them as a superhero version of Nick and Nora Charles.
Ralph also joined the Justice League in 1970s. Along with Sue he was an important part of the League's more comedic period. Sadly, he's remembered today more for the fact that his wife was both raped and murdered in Identity Crisis. He died shortly afterwards in 52 while trying to find a way to resurrect her (at least he brought down an evil sorcerer and a major demon in the process). Sadly, the demon escaped later, despite the trap seemingly being absolutely inescapable. He has reappeared as a ghost since.
- Captain Obvious
- Fun Personified: At first he was just another hero, but as time passed he became a jokester (Plastic Man went through the same process at the same time), specially during the late 80s.
- Green Lantern Ring: Ralph's shapeshifting can be surprisingly versatile.
- Non-Idle Rich: Both he and his wife are rich, yet they go around solving crimes. Both are based on the main characters from The Thin Man detective movies.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He's actually a very efficient JLAer and it's second best detective after Batman.
- Personality Powers
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Rubber Man
- Shapeshifter Showdown: With Plastic Man.
- Shapeshifter Weapon
- Something Person
- Spider Sense. His nose twitches when he "smells" a mystery.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Modern DC comics seem to have no place for even slightly humorous characters. Killing them in horrible ways seems preferable.
- Stuffed Into the Fridge: Sue, in Identity Crisis.
- Super Serum: Ralph got his powers by drinking a substance called "Gingold". He had to drink it regularly.
- Retconned into the Gingold (which, by the way, he discovered in soda) activating his metagene (somehow). Pure gingold extract turned out to be quite harmful to anyone but him.
- They Fight Crime
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: According to Sue, he's a 7. Note that she was a Deadpan Snarker.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With the third Flash, Wally West. While the two were definitely friends, Ralph loved to poke fun at Wally by comparing him to Barry Allen (the second Flash).
- Widower Hero