For an early silver ager featured in the companies flagship title (Detective Comics, mainly during most of the 60s), the Elongated Man has a terrible record in other media: not a single TV, radio or movie appearance during the 20th century! His first guest star role came with Justice League Unlimited, a popular series produced by Bruce W. Timm and the late and great Dwayne McDuffie, that featured a version of the League with 52 members operating from a satellite Watchtower. Ralph guest starred in:
He also made several non speaking cameos:
- This Little Piggy
- Dark Heart
- The Once and Future Thing Part One: Weird Western Tales
- Shadow Of the Hawk
- The Great Brain Robbery
I can't help but wonder how come Mr. Piven bothered to participate in such a small role. I'm glad he did, though. The portrayal was very proper: he's a funny guy, but closer to Jerry Seinfeld than Jerry Lewis. I love that at least once he gets to save the day and I think it was funny that it was one of the biggest threats the Justice League ever faced (Mordru the Merciless, an evil wizard from the 30th Century) and that we still don't get to see exactly what he did.
|Ralph's design for Justice League Unlimited.|
The powers look fantastic with that design and animation; very neat. Too bad there was no scene to showcase him fast stretching (he's supposed to be able to do it at "rocket speed", according to Flash #119) or making giant fists.
We don't get to learn much about his background in this version of the DC Universe; however, he mentions that he's mainly a detective, and he's just called Ralph by his co-workers, which means that this animated version doesn't use a secret identity either. He's seen talking or collaborating with characters he usually associated with in the comics, specially in the last two decades: Batman, Flash, Metamorpho, Fire and Booster Gold. He also mentions that he has been around longer than the Flash; now, since this cartoon is in the same continuity of Superman: The Animated Series, it means that he started working as a ductile detective some time before the Speed Demons episode, most likely, during the first season of that series.
The sad part is that, in this series, there's no nose twitching and we don't get to see him solve a mystery. I love that series, but I wish they could have had episodes featuring the Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Zatanna and Firestorm before making the change from Justice League to Justice League Unlimited.
A great thing about this appearances is that it also got him an action figure. The made him with the enormous chest that characterizes other characters in the series, but I still think it's fantastic. Mattel (which still has to get cracking with the long over due DC Universe Classics Ralph figures!) has also made a variant with the red uniform from the late 60s and 70s.
"The squeaky wheel gets the grease, my friend". As you can see from the video I posted at the top, that's a line from the show. I think Elongated Man's fans should go by that motto to get DC and Warner to do stuff with him.