Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Wife HATES Stretchy Guys!

My lovely wife, Amy (aka Spectergirl) HATES stretchy superheroes. She just does. She finds them "creepy" ad insists that when they stretch their limbs look "all penis-y". I, however, have no such aversion so here's a breakdown of who's who in the world of stretchiness.

1. Plastic Man.

The original and still best. Although Plastic Man survives 'til this day in comics, no-one has ever been able to duplicate the genius of his creator, Jack Cole. A reformed criminal, Plastic Man works as a special agent for the FBI, using his unique shape-changing talents to bring down organized crime- often his former associates. He even got his own postage stamp:

Or is this just Plas in disguise?

2. Elongated Man

Despite his naughty-sounding name, Elongated Man was a fairly innocent superhero feature from the pages of Flash. Ralph Dibny, became obsessed as a young man with the flexibility of "India Rubber Men" in carnival sideshows. He noticed over time that all of them drank a particular brand of soda-pop made with extract of "gingold". Dosing himself with a powerful concentrate of gingold, Ralph discovered he was able to stretch any part of his body (!). He then decided to fight crime as the "Ductile detective", Elongated Man.

3. Elastic Lad

After taking an "Elastic Serum", Jimmy Olsen had a short-lived career as
Elastic Lad. Since Jimmy has had too many bizarre powers and shapes to list, I don't know what else to say.

4. Mister Fantastic

Okay, this is the one stretchy guy my wife actually likes. But does she like him for his cool, stretchy power? Does she like him for his mind-numbing intellect? No. She likes him because he's a pompous ass. This explains SO much about why she married me.


  1. Wow, I never made the connection before. It really does explain a lot.

  2. There's also Jigsaw, one of Harvey's lamer efforts to jump on the superhero bandwagon in 1966. I wrote about him here:


    Lois Lane also drank some of Jimmy Olsen's Elastic Lad serum on at least two occasions that I am aware of. In LL #23 she actually became Elastic Lass, and in LL #73, she used the serum to free herself from being manacled to Superman (by Mxyzptlk's girlfriend). And Superman himself drank the serum in Superman #172 when he temporarily lost his powers.

  3. Wow! Thanks Pat, I was completely unaware of Harvey's Jigsaw. I wonder if it's just artistic coincidence that both Jigsaw and Ron Fortier's Mr. Jigsaw go by the handle "Man of a Thousand Parts"?

  4. What about all the robotic stretchers? Seems one can't be a robot hero without telescoping limbs of some sort. Machine Man, I think all the Metal Men, and M-11 come off the top of the old bean.

  5. Blaze- there seems to be an exception made for robotic heroes. They fall under a separate heading, despite their ability to telescope.

  6. More comic trivia pours out without my being able to stop the flow. Like Plastic Man, being a shapeshifter also seems to grant a license to stretch. Must be the ductility of one's molecules or some such.

    Chameleon Boy, Proty (I & II), Impossible Man, almost any Skrull, and I'd even toss in Sandman. He didn't shapeshift or stretch, per se, but he could clobber the Thing from across a room easily enough.

    Also, you have to give credit for the clever creative contrast Stan and Jack did with Reed Richards. 99% of all stretchy characters are played for laughs and comic relief. They successfully coupled the silliest power with comcdom's stuffiest, most intelligent character.

  7. You know, if you think about it, Jimmy Olsen might just be one of the most powerful characters in the DC universe, in terms of powers collected throughout his life.

  8. Yeah, Jimmy is a super team unto himself.

  9. I love love love the Plastic Man series from a few years back by Kyle Baker. Fun stuff!

  10. Jacque- I enjoyed that too- I love Kyle Baker. I especially liked how Plastic Man was the least cartoony character in the book.