Monday, June 29, 2015

If I'm not mistaken... Ralph and Sue lived longer in JL 3000!

It all depends on this picture from Justice League 3000 #14. That's a flasback with (left to right) Ralph, Max, Oberon, Ice and Sue, showing a moment, way after the Super Buddies issues, sometime after Fire exchanged places with Ice at hell.
The story also states that Ice never saw Fire again, however,
a. that's not how Ice revived in the pre-Flashpoint continuity, as seen in Birds of Prey #105 (July 2007),
b. Fire and Ice reunited and teamed up in Justice League: Generation Lost (2010),
c. by the time Ice was resurrected in the pre-Flashpoint continuity (July 2007), both Ralph and Sue were dead and Max had turned evil.

If I'm correct and those are Ralph, Max and Sue, it means we have our first post-Flashpoint continuity in which they are still alive at the present time!!

And here is a cool picture of the whole gang. Just because:


Update: I've confirmed it at J.M. DeMatteis blog, CREATION POINT (actually, he did said so in an interview that I missed before I asked). By the way, that blog is really awesome, J.M. is incredibly cool and gives honest answers to about everything.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Steve García's 'Perception'

I just found this piece of art by Stephen García in his pinterest 'Super Silhouettes' page. He defines many comic book characters in one word.
I think he nailed the one thing that defines Ralph as character. I love how he looks like a detective in a suit. I think spandex should only come out when is action time in his stories.

Ralph Dibny rides a horse into a bar...


Convergence has been good to Elongateers (I'm coining that) everywhere. This new mention is from Convergence: Justice League of America #2.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dibnys revindicated!: An image says it all.



...And it's not this one...

Click HERE if you don't mid a bit of a spoiler (last image) for Convergence: Justice League of America #2,

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Secret of the DC Kaiju: A list of the Giant Monsters of the DCU

Everybody knows Jack Kirby made a big deal of awesome giant monsters for Marvel Comics, but what about DC? It turns out they are not as recurring but the the DC Universe features a great number of the type of fictional creatures that Pacific Rim popularized as 'kaiju'. Here are some of the best known:

Mr. Atom


We start with a giant robot built by a mad scientist. A bit silly-looking, but he fits the trope.
First appearance: Captain Marvel Adventures #78 (1947), "Capt. Marvel Meets Mr. Atom". Story by Otto Binder, art by C. C. Beck.

Brimstone

A huge, artificial intelligence with a humanoid body created by Darkseid to conquer Earth or something. He can generate fire and is incredibly strong.
I prefer the DCAU version.


First appearance: Legends #1 (November, 1986), "Once Upon a Time...!". Story by John Ostrander and Len Wein, art by John Byrne.

The Centre

It turns out the Centre is Dinosaur Island, has been here longer than us and it wants us out. That's good enough to gather the entire superhero community.

First appearance: DC: The New Frontier #1 (March, 2004), "Our Fighting Forces". Story and art by Darwyn Cooke. 

Chemo

Chemo is the most recognizable enemy of the Metal Men. So much that his popularity rivals theirs. He is not a mastermind like Starro, but when it comes to gigantic havoc makers, along Validus, he is go-to kaiju of DC Comics.
First appearance:  Showcase #39 (July - Aug. 1962), "The Deathless Doom!", story by Robert Kanigher, art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Construct

Some how he tends to be overlooked as a generic robotic villain, but not only he has the right visuals (ok, a bit too 70s), he has the perfect sci-fi story: "an artificial intelligence created from the electromagnetic spectrum broadcast from Earth, the Construct has an inherent hatred of humanity due to his lack of a physical body".
First appearance: Justice League of America #142 (May, 1977), "Return From Forever!". Story by Steve Englehart, art by Dick Dillin.

Faceless Hunters

Can't help but love how 50s they looked. I'm so glad they became a thing. They come from "Klaramar - a world revolving within an atom on the planet Saturn". How about that? 
First appearance: Strange Adventures #124 (January, 1961), "The Face-Hunter From Saturn". Story by Gardner Fox, art by Mike Sekowsky.

Firetrolls

These are some of the most recurring enemies of Aquaman. I think they qualify both as kaiju and invader races (I'll do a post on that later).
First appearance: Aquaman #1 (February, 1962), "The Invasion of the Fire-Trolls". Story by Jack Miller, art by Nick Cardy.

Giant Frogs

It's probably just because of the cover, but these guys get a lot of attention on the web. They never returned, but Jim and Rhonda Trent, the "scientists" from this silver age story, appear in a previous issue.
First appearance: Strange Adventures #130 (July, 1961), "War With The Giant Frogs". Story by Jack Miller, art by Nick Cardy.

Giganta


DC's resident 50 foot woman can actually grow bigger than that at will. If that wasn't enough, she used to be a gorilla.
First appearance: Wonder Woman #9 (June, 1944), "Evolution Goes Haywire". Story by William Moulton Marston, art by Harry G. Peter.

Ichthultu

I can't believe it's not Cthulhu. No seriously, I think it would have been more awesome. The Ghostbusters did it, anyway.
First appearance: Justice League, season 2, episode 39 (Original Airdate - November 15th 2003), "The Terror Beyond". Story by Dwayne McDuffie.

Imperium

Bruce Timm loves Lovecraft. Not surprisingly, when the White Martians became weird, awesome gooey things, their leader became a creepy, floating balloon with tentacles.
First appearance: Justice League, season 1, episode 3 (Original Airdate - November 17, 2001), "Secret Origins, Part III". Story by Rich Fogel.

Jimmy Olsen, the Giant Turtle Man

Yep, [among many other things] Jimmy Olsen became a Giant Turtle Man. 
Because silver age. 

And because stealing.
First appearance as Turtle Man: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #53 (June, 1961), "The Giant Turtle Man!". Story by Jerry Siegel, art by Curt Swan.
By the way, as awesome as it would have been, this is not Jimmy (or Gamera), but it the intention doesn't get more explicit than this.
First appearance: Justice League Unlimited, season 2, episode 3 (Original Airdate - September 24th 2005), "Chaos at the Earth's Core". Story by Matt Wayne.

Mageddon, the Anti-Sun

If you think Kirby was creative, check out this jewel from the mind of Morrison: "Mageddon is an ancient weapon created by a race of now extinct Old Gods. It is a huge (larger than the planet Earth) semi-sentient orb with a squid-like face that incites hatred and violence in life forms as it approaches the heart of a galaxy".
First appearance: JLA #15 (February, 1998), "Rock of Ages, Part Six: Stone of Destiny". Story by Grant Morrison, art by Howard Porter.

Millenium Giants

Meh. I really find them boring. If somebody can offer me a shot with all of them, maybe I'll put them.

M'nagalah

A kaiju based on cancer and all life comes from it. That's a happy thought.

Mogo

An entire sentient planet. Good thing he is a good guy. 

The Monster that fished for men 

Only four pages. Being on the cover goes a long way. These creatures were created by Jack Miller and Murphy Anderson. 

Mr. Nebula

This guy is as silly as it gets for the Justice League International. He is just like Galactus, only he wants to redecorate the planet.

Prometheon

As Kirby as it gets. A defense weapon that reacts to energy, created by an alien race that couldn't handle him.

The Rainbow Creature


As ridiculous as this monster looks, he has had a revival thanks to Grant Morrison and even Batman: The Brave and the Bold TV series.

Shaggyman

A creature that doesn't require food or rest and just wants to destroy anything that moves. There goes your average 50s monster film.

Solaris

Moore did a freaking planet, so Morrison had to top it with a sun (even if it is a small one). And since it can't get more epic than fighting the sun itself, Solaris makes a great foe for Superman. 

The Stone Sentinels of Giant Island

One shot characters that never returned. However, being brainchildren of Jack Kirby and with the story reprinted a couple of times these guys get a great reputation. The concept is pretty good: Mindless guardians left by an alien race to protect the island from the living. I think the island could still return with them.

Starro

Starro is silly and creepy at the same time. He became one of the most recurring enemies of the Justice League and one of the most recognizable giant monsters of the DCU.

Titano

Superman vs. King Kong on an even field. Titano is a landmark of the Superman mythos. They should make a graphic novel about it.  In the 50s, it could have been an interesting movie, now it would be tricky.  

Topo

...I think I prefer the regular size lovable octopus.

Ultra-Humanite (T-Rex)


A mad scientist on the body of a kaiju, two archetypes in one.
I don't think the albino gorilla is big enough to count in this list.

Validus

A human mutated in to a giant, super strong, invulnerable monster who can project "mental lightning". Along with Chemo, Validus is the most recognizable of the giant monsters of DC.

Volcano Man

A giant made out of lava. He is an enemy of the Challengers of the Unknown.

The World Wrecker

A jaeger gone out of control, thus becoming a giant monster. With a crowd of 7 controlling the robot from the head, this guy might have been one of the earliest examples of mechas.

Only appearance: Strange Adventures #50, "The World Wrecker", story by Otto Binder, art by Carmine Infantino, cover Murphy Anderson. The story was reprinted in "From Beyond the Unknown" with another Anderson cover.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Girls get Sue Dibny

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to marry Ralph Dibny. I’m actually not sure if that’s true, or if I just want to be Sue Dibny. Though her appearances in various Justice League International titles have kept her modern, Sue still possesses a certain air of old-fashioned glamour; you just know she talks like a heroine from a noir or screwball comedy. (It helps that her relationship with Ralph was famously based on Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man books/movies.) She’s always witty and self-possessed; even in the Silver Age she could banter with the best of them. 
On her own, Sue is brilliant, funny, brave, and forthright, whether she’s slugging a supervillain or putting the moves on the dashing (well…dashing-ish) Elongated Man. She’s the brains of the Superbuddies (okay, that’s a bit of a tallest hobbit situation, but still) and the heart of the JLE. She once encouraged an entire nation to rise up against their supervillainous dictator. And no one can wear an outrageous hat like she can!
That's from a post in Dimestore Dames, a column by Jessica, on the girl-wonder.org blog. Jessica focuses on many female characters in comics, who are all too often pushed aside in favor of male heroes and villains. She has gone as far as declaring that she wants to be Sue, be married to the Elongated Man and punch Hal Jordan in the face... Which girl wouldn't?


Don't read it. The picture is good, the content is just wrong, ha. ha.
Sue makes a great case. Modeled after Nora Charles, she had a defined, interesting personality from the start. However, after she joined the Justice League Europe, she also developed as a multi-talented woman. We already knew she has an amazing taste and was a great fashion designer, but her time in the league showed that she is also a great hacker, a leader and a top notch PR manager. Later, Gotham Knights #41 revealed she is also a great mystery writer and a talented amateur detective, rivaling with Batman and her own husband. Can Lois Lane pull all that? Didn't think so.

So, yeah, feminist girls should look up to this fine fictional lady.

CLICK HERE to read the full article. I fully recommend in order to understand about one of DC's most talented women.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The 6 Birthday Mysteries of the Elongated Man


"The Elongated Man's Other-Worldly Wife" (Detective Comics #332) started one of the earlier traditions of the Dibny: The birthday mysteries.Every year, around Ralph's birthday, March 21, Sue prepares a mystery for him to solve. She does so many of those that, at some point, the Daily Planet runs an entire section on them.

Some of his partners in crime include the Sue's uncle Jim, Flash, Green Lantern, Alfred Pennyworth, the entire Justice League International and his last was going to be Green Arrow.

Since Ralph turned 55 on Tuesday, in order to keep the celebration going, I decided to make the list of birthday mystery stories.

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY I

Detective Comics #332 (October 1964), "The Elongated Man's Other-Worldly Wife" - Ralph discovers that Sue is the beautiful leader of an alien invasion. Written by Gardner Fox, with art by Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene.
This is the one that started the tradition. Epic art, Carmine is the master of design Sue looks incredible as an alien queen. This is by far, her most elaborated scheme.

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY II

Detective Comics #350 (April 1966), "Green Lantern's Blackout" - Hal can't remember that he is the Green Lantern, so, since Ralph and Sue are in Coast City, Pieface recruits him to save the day.
This birthday Ralph got a very memorable present from Sue (and Paul Gambi?).
Written by 
Gardner Fox, with art by Carmine Infantino.
Somehow, this one has a dark feeling, a bit hardboiled for an Elongated Man story.


BIRTHDAY MYSTERY III

Detective Comics #375 (May 1968), "The Face That Stopped Clocks" - In Wayside City, a man can stop clocks by staring that them. Even though Ralph is expecting Sue's mystery and his nose doesn't twitch, he agrees with her to follow him. 
Written by Gardner Fox, with art by  Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos.
Out of all the DC superheroes of the 60s, the Elongated Man feels the most like a sitcom of that era. This story is just like watching Bewitched, The Dick Van Dike Show or My Favorite Martian

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY IV

Detective Comics #449 (July 1975), "The Mystery Man Who Walked On Air" - Sue spots an old man walking on air outside their hotel room in Key West, FL.
Written by 
Mary Skrenes, with art by Dick Giordano.
I don't know if its the 70s, or the "old man", but the only thing missing is a scary monster to make it a Scooby Doo story.

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY V


Justice League Quarterly #6 (January 1, 1992), "Take My Wife--Please!" - Sue goes missing in Seaside City and the Ralph gets help from the Justice League International to find her.
Written by Mark Waid, with art by Eduardo Barreto, this is often considered the best birthday mystery by fans. Personally, I have to agree; this one feels like Ralph and Sue take the JLI gang on a roller coaster of mystery, keeping both the Giffen-DeMatteis line of humor and the silver age vibe of the Elongated Man stories. 
Ralph is perhaps the only silver age superhero that kept his mid-60s spirit, this feels like a celebration of that.

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY VI


Identity Crisis #1 (June, 2004) - "Chapter One: Coffin" - Ralph thinks Sue is only going to get him a magnifying glass he saw in Belgium, but at their Opal City home, she has a bigger surprise and a mystery set with Green Arrow on board... We end on a sad note...Written by Brad Meltzer, with art by Rags Morales.
It's controversial... I'm not touching that one with a 60-feet pole.

And that was the last one. Hopefully, the new DC horizon will bring us many more.
 


THE END

OR IS IT? (Update: 06-30-2015)

Nope, it wasn't. And that's great news.

BIRTHDAY MYSTERY VII (or VI b)


The pic is from Justice League 3000 #12 (feb 2015), and it shows the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold of what I like to call "Earth-Bwah-Ha-Ha" (hey, the term kind of got a blog laugh from J.M. DeMatteis), a continuity in which the events after I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League are completely different from what was published by DC. This means that Identity Crisis, Countdown, 52 and all the stories that turned the lives of Ralph and Sue, along characters like Maxwell Lord, Blue Beetle and Rocket Red into deaths and tragedies didn't happen. Instead, we get a number of extra birthday mysteries for Ralph, including the one Blue Beetle is talking about in the picture.  

In this continuity, sometime after the events of  I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, disappear when the Super Buddies were having a surprise party for Ralph and wake up some 3000 years in the future. This means that, although they didn't plan it, their disappearance became the 7th published birthday mystery, and, since Ralph obviously didn't find them, we can assume it's the only one he never solved... 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

HAPPY 55th BIRTHDAY, RALPH!




Actually, according to Mark Waid's excellent Justice League Quarterly #6, that's on March 21 (along with Dick Grayson). However, the date on the cover of The Flash vol. 1, #112, his debut issue, is May 12, 1960, which means that the character is 55 years old. He could be my old man!


Ralph was created by editor Julie Schwartz as a supporting character for the FlashLegend has it, that he would have been named "Plastic Man" if his creator, the legen-- wait for it... dary editor Julie Schwartz knew DC had the rights to that name. Which makes sense, since he liked to make new characters with old names.

At first, only after Iris herself, he was one of the most recurring character in the pages of The Flash. He met the Flash, saved the world from a number of alien invasions, got married to Sue, gave away his secret identity, met Kid Flash and fought some rogues. However, after a while, he moved with his wife to the pages of Detective Comics, where they became comic book versions of Nick and Nora Charles, traveling throughout US and the world in a convertible and solving mysteries in every town. 


In his first appearance, his detective skills were so fine that Flash couldn't beat him up to the crime scenes.
They both had to share the "man of the year award".
Left: Eventually. Ralph got his own adventures in the pages of Detective Comics.

Some time later he joined the Justice League of America, which later became the Justice League International.


Ralph and the Justice League of America.

Ralph and Sue with the Justice League International.

Some of his best accomplishments include solving the murder mystery of Edgar Allan Poe, teaming up with the Flash to prevent 3 alien invasions, defeating the Felix Faust and Neron team-up, becoming one of the earliest members of the Justice League and teaming up with Batman, Robin, Slam Bradley and Sherlock Holmes to fight Edgar Moriarty.


Unlike most superheroes, Ralph makes his own luck. He created his own super powers by formulating the "Gingo elixir", from the extract of an indigenous fruit from the Yucatan Peninsula (ie, "made in Mexico"). He also trained himself until he became one of the best detectives of the world, made a fortune as an entertainer and married a beautiful girl from New York's high society. He is also a close friend of DC's best, from Clark Kent to Ted Kord, he knows them all.

Another big difference with most superheroes is that Ralph is laid back and a bit of a class clown. Oddly enough, his humor tends to come from his observations rather than his making odd shapes with his body; if Plastic Man is Jerry Lewis, the Elongated Man is Jerry Seinfeld. This takes after Nick Charles, and as in his case, humor is just a side of Ralph's sharp mind. When he is not solving mysteries he is learning languages, like French, Interlac or Kryptonian.

Ralph and Carter are about to get busted by Wonder Woman.

One of the earlier traditions of the Ralph Dibny mythos (since "The Elongated Man's Other-Worldly Wife", Detective Comics #332) is that around his birthday Sue would prepare a mystery for him to solve. She has done so many of those that the Daily Planet ran an entire section on them. Some of his partners in crime include the Flash, Green Lantern, Alfred Pennyworth, the entire Justice League International and his last was going to be Green Arrow. (
For more information about Ralph's "birthday mysteries", click here)

And it looks like DC is giving him a birthday mystery. Just like Sue not right on his birthday, but around it, as we have the 
Convergence: Justice League of America story going on.


They are back!


I wish a nice come back for my all-time favorite DC character. 


For more information about Ralph's "birthday mysteries", click here