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 Flash. Legend 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.