Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"A Long Talk With A Long Guy: The Elongated Man Tells All"

I don't even remember how I ran into it, but I found an unexpected and unexpectedly good Elongated Man fanfic story, written by Michael Hutchison and ilustrated by Christian Moore and the Brothers Grinn for Fanzing in 1999. Here's the link:
The story is told as an pretend interview between a Fanzing writer from our reality and Ralph Dibny (how meta!). In it, Ralph origins are explained in detail, making a lot of sense in parts that even Mark Waid was able to make it seem natural. Surprisingly, it doesn't rely on retcons (well save the Zee part).  It features a brand new story within it and lots of small misadventures.

Ralph's enthusiasm about Inda Rubber Men is finally explained in way that makes sense. Incidentally, a way that I've thought myself before reading this story: Ralph's research on entertainers with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome was a thesis project.

The origin of Ralph's fortune and the nature of his fame are also greatly enlightened. It's clear that Hutchison is an expert on the details that I've been exploring in this blog about Ralph's life in the early Flash issues, like the point in which he revealed his secret identity.

There are some details that didn't satisfy me much, though. Ralph spends way too much space talking about a made up media obsession about his sexual endowments and intimate life with Sue, which I'm sure would be a somewhat recurring joke for late night shows, but not as bad as it's proposed in the story. And I don't believe that Ralph would be the type of guy who would throw more wood to that kind of fire. Instead, I believe it would have been nicer to see some JLA gossip.

Ralph portrayal was spot on. He's funny and clever (I liked that he mentions that he belongs to Mensa), yet a very normal guy. His dialog was missing about nine Seinfeldesque observations for my taste, but it's still excellent.

"A Long Talk With A Long Guy" is an ingenius and clever piece of fanfic and it's must for any Elongated Man fan. Michael Huchinson is a very talented writer and DC should buy and adapt this story using a similar format (I'd like it as a Lois Lane / Ralph Dibny interview presented as a Daily Planet online article).

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