Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Elongated Man and Wife: Embargoed?!

As I mentioned before, the Dibnys had a brief period of hype from 2003 to 2004; however, since 2007 they have been making less and less appearances. I'm talking comics, animation and action figures. For a while, I have been suspecting that the respectable DC powers that be were avoiding him, and now I just learned something that seems to back that. Brian "Pendragon" Isaacs posted this at his blog:
"I got a chance to talk to Scott [Neitlich, AKA Toy Guru, from Mattel] at New York Comic Con about when, we the fans will be seeing Ralph in action figure form. If DC Comics has anything to say about it, it’ll be never.
"For those who don’t know, or can’t tell, Scott himself is a comic fan, and a big fan of the JLA Satellite Era. He went to bat for us collectors and got shot down. Mattel’s hands are tied, as this is a license they have to pay for.
"DC Comic’s reasoning…They don’t feel Ralph is a significant character, not deserving of an action figure, and don’t want to invest any more money into him."
(Read the full article at his blog).

Why indeed. Their importance is being recognized both by Flash and Geoff Johns, but what's the point to this scene? Why leaving the Dibnys out of this scene if there were not going to be part of another story? 
I once managed to get a direct confirmation from Dan DiDio that there are no plans for the Dibnys; however, according to Brian, this has nothing to do with him or Jim Lee, this one comes from upstairs.

Brian's proposal is to have a respectful letter writing campaign, asking to make the Dibnys part of the DCnU and Mattel's DC Universe Classics collection (I'll add DC Universe Online and Young Justice). So please spend $.44 on a stamp and send your letters to:

Diane Nelson
DC Comics
1700 Broadway # 7
New York, NY 10019-5905

It's also important to spread the word and figure out other strategies to get Ralph back. Remember that we should avoid pointing fingers; disrespect won't get us anywhere.

Here are some reasons to restore Ralph and Sue:
  • He was a member of the 3 first incarnations of the Justice League and was one of the longest staying member (about 20 years). At one point around the mid 90s, he was the member with the longest mileage. Not even Lois belongs to the JL, Sue became bureau chief (this means control outside the field, like Max).
  • They are a silver age legacy. Their most important stories were handled directly by Julius Schwartz, John Broome, Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. Len Wein put Ralph in the League, Keith Giffen in JLI, Mike W. Barr created the modern version and Mark Waid and Grant Morrison gave him his ultimate mystery.  
  • They are both basic to the Flash (Barry) mythos, which is not that rich without the Gallery. During the first decade of Barry, only Iris and Wally were more recurring than Ralph (Mirror Master matched him when he got his 'tec feature). Barry's supporting cast are basically Iris, Wally, the Allens, Dexter Myles, Hal, Fiona and the Dibnys. They were on his last thoughts before he "died" and on his first thoughts after Brightest Day. 
  • The Elongated Man is a Detective Comics classic. He had the most recurring feature after Slam and the Martian Manhunter. 
  • The Dibnys belong to DC's top social circle. They knew the secret identity of anybody who's somebody (Bruce, Clark, Diana) and double dated with the Allens, the Halls, the Palmers, the Stranges, Ollie and Dinah.
  • Ralph offers diversity to the DC pantheon. He's the only hero that truly represents the classic detective genre (which TV still capitalizes in series like House, Monk, the Mentalist, the Murdock Mysteries, etc.). He's one o the few heroes that never lost the lighthearted spirit of the Silver Age. Just read the first 5 issues of his 'tec run, no DC couple has ever been as charming as the Dibnys. They are like Mad About You, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Columbo rolled into one.
  • They are not obscure yet, much less with their notoriety from Identity Crisis, Formerly Known as the Justice League and 52
  •  If Morrison pulled a series lead by Animal Man, a detective superhero modeled after Nick Charles and Sherlock Holmes writes itself. Just get DeMatteis, Barr, Dixon, Giffen, Morrison or Waid on it, I know as a fact that all of them love those characters.
  • If the Japanese managed to make a franchise out of a stretchable pirate who gets his powers from a fruit (Luffy D. Monkey from One Piece), I think a ductile detective superhero set in the DC Universe has great chances.
  • Ralph makes crowd scenes look pretty cool.
And that's right, Timm and McDuffie thought he's awesome enough to go against DC's toughest villain! 

Update - 10 / 24 / 11

Scott Neitlich released the following statement on his Facebook page:
"Okay. 100% not true. I must have made a statement (as has always been the case) reconfirming that, yes, it is still true that DC and Warner Bros has final say on our character selection, but in no way have they ever bared us from doing a character like Elongated Man! "In fact just the opposite; DC and Warner Bros. have been amazing partners, always helping us to push the limit on character selection like Lobo in JLU and Swamp Thing in DCUC!
"Ralph is in no way off limits. In fact we have already done him several times. We even did an Elongated Man figure in JLU in an outfit he didn’t even wear on the show. That is how cool he is. There always seems to be one figure “we haven’t gotten to yet” that fans have thoughts was off limits or wasn’t going to happen. Be it Martian Manhunter, Flash 1 or now Elongated Man. The answer is always; just because your favorite figure is not out yet does not mean he or she won’t be in the line one day, keep your suggestions coming!
If any websites reported a quote from me stating the opposite, I did not give any sit down interviews at NYCC, so this “quote” may have been strung together from different things orally overheard in the booth to different people. No statement of this type was officially announced or provided by Mattel or given to any site as a quote or interview. It sounds like it is a misinterpretation of a few things overheard in passing and then attributed (falsely) to me as a direct quote.
"Hope this clears this one up! Ralph is not banned in the least and we are really excited to get to him one day!"
The whole thing was the top trending topic on Sunday at Bleeding Cool, its own Mark Seifert said:
"The Elongated Man too obscure to have a new action figure? I don’t think so.  First, there’s an excellent case to be made that there are no insignificant characters in post-internet comic book fandom — I mean, Geoff Johns could turn him into one of the stars of the New 52 by ground hog day, if he wanted to.  And second, he’s not an obscure character at all.  A classic of the Silver Age and beyond.

I hope that's true. Ralph and Sue's absence in the DCnU, DC Universe Online, Young Justice's Justice League and even in the DC Universe Classics still makes me glad I wrote that letter and I hope other Elogated Man fans do the same. Ralph is still absent without a reason.

For more information, go read the  "The Mattel - DCUC - Elongated Man quagmire" at Comics-X-aminer, or read the Toy Guru's original facebook note.

Update - 10 / 26 / 11
Friend of this blog, Frank Diabolu, from the Justice League Detroit blog (among other awesome blogs, like The Idol-Head of Diabolu) noticed that the Elongated Man pic from the Bleeding Cool post about the embargo is the same that he modified from a Kevin Nowan image from 52, week 13 for his blog and that I kind of stole for this blog:
Which makes it very possible that Rich Johnston, author of that post, was tipped by this very blog before reading the original and now deleted post from Pendragon. So, if I'm right, Rich, you're welcomed, ha, ha.

Update - 10 / 26 / 11

It turns out that the outcries for Ralph and Sue's return started a bit earlier, and that the clamor is not only for action figures. Roughly at the same time, while Brian "Pendragon" Isaacs was encouraging people to demand the Elongated Man action figure, Robert Eddleman, from Panels on Pages, wrote a column asking DC to use the Reboot possibilities in favor or the Dibnys, restoring them among the living. In his words Retcon This! The Deaths of Ralph & Sue Dibny, a thought that I couldn't support more.  

Update - Nov 21, 2011

According to John Babos, DC Comics Co-Publisher, Dan DiDio conirmed on Facebook that there are no plans for Ralph Dibny, Ted Kord and Garth (Aqualad). 
A while ago I managed to get the same confirmation from him.
This is doesn't mean that they are gone forever, but at leat that, for the time being, DC's Co-Publisher claims (he could be misleading people) that there are no plans for them. He didn't say that they are gone forever.

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