Friday, March 25, 2011

The Many Names of Randolph W. Dibny

For a superhero with no secret identity, the Ralph has many aliases. I thought it might be fun to make a list:

  • Randolph William Dibny - His birthname.
  • Ralph Dibny - This is the way he formally introduces himself.
  • The Elongated Man - Originally a secret identity, this is his name as a superhero and as an entertainer. He often introduces himself as "the World-famous Elongated Man.
  • The Molder - A temporary alter ego he adopted when an expirated gingo elixir messed with his mind.
  • The Stretchable Sleuth - Informal nickname.
  • The Ductile Detective - Another informal nickname.
  • The Malleable Marvel -  You guessed it: yet another informal nickname. 
  • L'Homme Étendu - The way people call him in France.
  • El Hombre Elástico - "Elastic Man", the way some Spanish speaking countries call him.
  • El Hombre Elongado - The way the other Spanish speaking countries call him.
  • Rafael Rivas - For some reason, some Spanish publishers changed his name to that.
  • Homem Elástico - The way Portuguese speaking countries call him.  
  • ゴム人間 ("Gomu Ningen": Gum Man or Gum Human Being) - Ralph's manga name! (That's Japan). This was discovered by Bcbdla from the DC Comics Message boards.
Here are a couple of scans India Ink made from Chip Kidd's book. I think the art was done by Jiro Kuwata, although I suspect that I'm wrong. As noted by India Ink himself, and hinted by the portrayal of Billy Warner and his prize, the Elongated Man story might be an adaptation, reprint or (even better) tie-in of 'tec #335 "Breakup the Bottleneck Gang!.
  • Elastoman - Can you guess? That's right, it's German.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Some people write his surname "Dibney". He was meant to be called "Ralph Disney", but Julius Schwartz had a cold that day.

I gotta check if Sue has special names for him. As for her, she's Susan "Sue" Dearbon Dibny, she briefly used the alias "Elongated Woman", people often call her Sue "Dearborn" and I guess that she'd be Susana Rivas in some Spanish translations (am I right?).


  1. Before I get to my comment, I just want to note that my comments don't appear right away--it's been taking about 24 hours for them to appear on your blog--so it pays to be patient.

    I was just posting on the Marvel Masterworks/DC Archives messageboard about a text feature that appeared in an old Jimmy Olsen Giant. The feature talks about the different foreign editions of DC comics back in the 60s.

    For Elongated Man, the editor says that he's known as El Hombre Elastico in Mexico. I wonder is that how you knew of him? Or did you encounter him as Elongated Man first?

    You don't identify which countries label Ralph El Hombre Elastico and which label him El Hombre Elongado. Is Elastico mainly used in Latin America--and Elongado elsewhere?

  2. I changed back to no moderation. I thought about it and I'll only activate back if I get a nasty comment. I'm not sure that we should get debates here (if that ever happens).

    I started collecting original editions in '99. From 1991 up until then. I used to read Mexican editions from Grupo Editorial Vid. At first I hated not to read the original stuff, but looking back, the translations were pretty fair. Way better than the work done in movies and TV (move translators even mess titles). They were done by J. G. Holguín, who also wrote great columns and trivia quizzes. Save some gluing problems in their 92-94 trades, the printing quality was actually superior to that of DC. Holguin decided to end the tradition of rechritianizing characters with Spanish names (such as Rafael Rivas, Bruno Diaz, Ricardo Tapia, Comisionado Fierro and so on), which started with the dubbing of the '66 Batman show.

    Wen it ame to Ralph, he decided to use his American name, but for some reason, kept him as el Hobre Elástico. Which is how I fist learn about the character. He was kind of a familiar face always in the background, mostly rom the Word without Superman, Panic in the Sky and the JLI Who's who entry (they were published as bonus features of the Batman and Superman titles). I din' pay him any attention and didn't have access to much information about him. It was weird to learn that he was the Elongated Man and not Elastic Man, although I don't remember when did I round out. Probably Fromerly Known. When I started, I had a bit of a shock learning that the Justice League looked little like it does in Super Friends, but those instantly became "the comics JLA" to me. Then JLA changed, an reassembled. By the time of Super Buddies I was like "Yeah, I remember those guys, those were the JLA when I started". I think that I first learned the Elongated man had a long tradition with the JLA from the JLA: Realworld reference.

    I ended up liking the Elongated Man name because it fits better Ralph's funny complexion. He's this thin, tall man with a long neck and a bit of an odd personality and lifestyle, who comes to your town, starts nosing around and ends up solving a mystery. I love the concept.

  3. I think it's Spain that call him Hombre Elongado. And Rafa Rivas is an Editorial Novaro thing.

    I googled around and find German and Portuguese names. I hope people from those and other countries tell us their version of the story.

    One of our recurring visitors is from Peru, I hope he has something to say.

    Oh, and I've been meaning to ask you. Can you list yourself as a Follower of this blog (it's on the right, below the small Bolland JLE pic). I think it might increase the googability of this site.

  4. Oh great. I don't mind the time lag, if you need to go back to moderating the comments.

    These are great comments about Spanish editions and I would like to quote you on my thread about comics around the world--over on...

    --if that's all right with you, and I will put a link to this blog when I do that.

    But I will wait for your response one way or the other.

    The name El Hombre Elastico makes it sound like he must be related to Elastic Lad--aka Jimmy Olsen. I wonder what name the Spanish editions used for this character.

    Back in the late 60s, I was very confused by Elastic Lad/Elongated Man. They both wore similar magenta uniforms. They both had red hair. And they both had the same powers.

    Yet there seemed to be no relation between the two at the time. But later I think it was established that the same elements were in Jimmy's elastic serum and Ralph's gingold formula.

    And it's worth noting (as you have elsewhere) that Elastic Lad preceded Elongated Man. So for all those who say Ralph was derivative of Plastic Man, that's not necessarily true. It's just as likely that Ralph was derivative of Elastic Lad.

    But really, they are all original characters.

  5. Sure, go ahead. I'll appreciate that link too. Oh and please, don't forget to mark yourself as a follower of this blog --------->

    I think that it's more likely that Ralph was more like a permanent Elastic Lad than a copy of Plas.

  6. o.k.

    =>India Ink (aka An Ear In The Fireplace)

  7. In terms of characters who were almost like Elongated Man, there was also this character who appeared in Detective Comics 310, back in 1962, when it was edited by Jack Schiff (well before Julie Schwartz took over that title).

    I've never read the comic--I should try and track down a cheap copy--but just by looking on the cover, "Rubber Man" looks a lot like Elongated Man. It almost seems like they stole his look. I wonder what Schwartz thought about Schiff doing that.

    The story seems to be that Bat-Mite has taken two ordinary circus people--an india rubber man and a strong man--and given them extraordinary powers to bedevil Batman and Robin.

  8. Yes, I've read that issue, the resemblance is uncanny. The story is just like you described it.

    Remind me to do a post about all the Elongated Man's brothers: Elastic Lad, Elasti-Girl, Elongated Woman (fake), Stretch Dude (Bart Simpson), Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man, Elstigirl/Mrs. Incredible, the 'tec 310 guy, Rubberband man, Malleable Man, The Elongated Evildoer (fake), Poly-man, Dalsim, the Martian Manhunter, Stretch Armstrong (an his villains), Offspring, Elongated Kid (new character), Luffy.

  9. I don't know if you've ever seen the book Bat-Manga, but I was looking at some of the Japanese covers reprinted in there and a few of them show Elongated Man. I don't know what the story is on this and the book doesn't give out any information. But I posted about it on the Marvel Masterworks/DC Archives forum. And I put up some pics of these covers on that thread

    It's one of those mysteries that gets my nose twitching.

  10. You got me fascinated abut that. So Ralph is big in Japan, huh !? I found those covers. I really hope those are original adventures.