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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 217

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Gerry Jones and Mike Parobeck’s Elongated Man mini-series!

Enjoy!

The Elongated Man mini-series is a nice snapshot of the wonderful relationship that Ralph and Sue Dibny had, and how effective it could be as a comic book storytelling device.

In this series, Ralph and Sue are doing a tour of Europe as part of the Unity of Europe tour in 1992 (a prelude to the European Union), and Ralph, of course, can sense a mystery. Meanwhile, Sue runs into a charismatic and mysterious man from Modora..

While I thoroughly enjoyed Keith Giffen and John Marc DeMatteis’ (I threw in the correct spelling of his first name just for your edification) Justice League run, one legitimate complaint that I could see was the way that occasionally Giffen would take a decent enough villain and then just turn him into a total sad sack, thus somewhat robbing the character of future impact (or at least forcing other writers to jump through hoops to get the character back to prominence).

In this series, for instance, Gerry Jones jumps through hoops to “redeem” the lead villain in this series, the aforementioned mysterious man of Modora – Sonar!

Giffen and DeMatteis had shown Sonar as a hapless fool who, along with a bunch of other villains, lost his super-weapon in a card game. Here, Jones reveals that that Sonar was just a fake sent by the REAL Sonar to make people underestimate him – it’s not a great solution, but it gave us a strong villain in Jones’ Sonar, so I can’t complain.

Parobeck absolutely nails the charming banter between Sue and Ralph – he does such a great job at expressions, and that’s really the key to Ralph Dibny, his expressive face.

Here is a scene from the final issue, showing Sonar at his most imposing…

Jones would later use Sonar as the main villain of a storyline in Justice League Europe (in the issues leading to that series becoming Justice League International).

This series was a worthwhile read, particularly for fans of the Elongated man and his wife!

22 Comments

I remember reading this series, in my days as a JLI fanboy.
Did think it was a little dry, but as my first major introduction the the characters, a good story.
And ya, like almost everyone, makes me long for the return of Ralph & Sue–I’d love to see some “ghost detective” stories even!

It’s weird, I remember reading some Gerry Jones stories, Green Lantern I believe, in the 90s that were simply horrible. Yet this book is by the same guy, and the writing and dialogue seem really, really sharp and witty and flows well. The voices are distinct and believable, the chemistry is portrayed wonderfully…these characters seem to be a great fit for Gerry Jones. Was his writing more often good or bad? Which Gerry Jones was the norm?

Yea I was looking forward to these “ghost detective” stories after 52 and yet…nothing but black lanterns…whoo.

Such a waste on a good couple too.

Was his writing more often good or bad? Which Gerry Jones was the norm?

I’d go with “good,” I think, also it wavered. His Justice League Europe was excellent, but once it went International again, things slipped downhill, and then he was the poor guy tasked with running the JLA title into the ground before Morrison’s revamp. You can probably get away with blaming the editors on that one– Jones’ eye for characterization was usually pretty good.

He’s also the best Elongated Man writer of the last 25 or 30 years! Though I suppose there aren’t very many to choose from. This mini’s pretty great, though– clever uses of Ralph’s stretching prowess, and a big set-up for Sonar to become the Big Bad of Jones’ JLE run. Also, you can’t go wrong with Parobeck.

This looks solid, but though I haven’t read it, I’m going to offer an opinion anyway (hey, it’s the itnernet) and dispute Bill Reed’s statement that Gerry Jones was the best Elongated Man writer of the last 25-30 years. For me, the Ralph and Sue highlight I remember best are their guest run in Starman by James Robinson during the climactic Grand Guignol storyline that ended the series. Okay, maybe they didn’t get quite enough screen time to really shine as much as they could, but I really enjoyed that appearance.

I agree, we need more Ralph and Sue.

@ Scott Harris: I agree, after reading Starman I was looking too more of them. Unfortunately, I had picked up the whole series in 2006 or so and so I was disapoint to learn that Sue had been, well you know. I did kind of like Ralph’s storyline in 52 but it was not the same.

OT: I’ll have to look for this as I really enjoyed these characters.

Is it me or does Sue look like Doctor Girlfriend in those pages?

Gerard Jones’ Green Lantern Mosiac was a pretty good, underrated series that is well worth checking out. I had a couple of nice email exchanges with him, and was left with the impression that while he was proud of the work he did at DC, some of it was definitely beyond his control and suffered from ‘editorial interference’. Anyway, quite a nice guy, and I loved that Elongated Man Europe ’92 series when I read it for the first time a couple of years ago.

Of course, Brian, Giffen may have made Black Hand “lame,” but he also tried to show how he had moved on from super-villainy, so Johns had to jump through hoops to make him a villain again. And by “jump through hoops” I of course mean “murder his entire family and a squirrel and then shoot himself in the head.” To-may-to, To-mah-to, really.

This series is one of my all-time favorites. Gerry Jones did some great stuff: this series, Martian Manhunter: American Secrets, Green Lantern Mosaic, Run Riddler Run, and the early issues of his JLE run are all worthy of spotlighting in this feature.

LouReedRichards

August 6, 2010 at 11:44 am

I can’t believe that I used to find Parobeck’s artwork boring and plain! Those pages exude characterization and charm. I feel the same way about Ty Templeton’s work, didn’t care for it then, really like it now.

I got out of mainstream comics right around the time this came out. Looking back, it’s good to see some people were still “fighting the good fight” against all the Image clones that were ruining Marvel and DC.

Green Lantern: Mosaic is still pretty much my favorite GL run ever. Bold, innovative and Cully Hamner was at his most daring, in terms of exploring new ways of layout. His JLE was great and I still like his GL run, especially the first issues, picking up from Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn. And I love this mini. Simple, well-written and very far from mutilation and gore, which seems to be the way to go with E-Man since Johns became the architect of DCU.

I’m mostly familiar with Parobeck’s excellent work on the Batman Animated comic but it’s always great to see his non-“Timm-y” stuff.

I love love love this mini!!!!

And it’s a big reason why I hate hate hate Identity Crisis!

But you can’t go wrong with Gerard Jones, Parobeck and Ty Templeton. It’s a nearly perfect creative team. It’s such a shame that Parobeck died so young (um, 31, I think, my age, gulp!).

Jones also did the Trouble With Girls, which is probably closer to this book than most of his other stuff. I thought it was good from the one issue of it that I read.

Been reading Gerard’s Men of Tomorrow book so far, and it’s pretty solid. Good example of “creative non-fiction,” which is something I had tried to describe and provide examples of to my students many times without much success.

"Brad Meltzer"

August 6, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Wait, why didn’t Sonar or his men rape Sue when they had the chance? I just don’t understand these old comics. And is that a thought bubble in the last panel? Snicker, were these etched on a cave-wall or something?

Heh. “Brad Meltzer.”

I love Mike Parobeck’s artwork and I didn’t know he’d done this series. Now I want to track these issues down. His work was hugely influential on me. I was so sad when he died so tragically young.

[…] 1992 Elongated Man miniseries makes CSBG’s Year of Cool […]

I’ll echo the appreciation of Green Lantern: Mosaic. It was one of the jewels of DC in the early 90s, and well repays multiple readings. Largely forgotten now by DC readers and writers, it’s probably available ridiculously cheaply in back-issue bins etc. Due to tragic early cancellation there are only 18(?) issues to track down. All of them are worthwhile, but most gain from being read in the context of the series as a whole. It’s as much science fiction as it is superheroics, and is consistently interesting. Highly recommended!

One thing that I always found amusing was Sue walking around in her camisole and panties in front of the Dibneys’ hotel balcony in the first book of the miniseries. You would think that a woman as rich and famous as Sue would realize that the paparazzi down below might be interested in a shot of her in her undies for publication. Of course, this is a moot point, since it was just an excuse to get Sue to appear half-naked for the male readership. That she looked extremely fetching is irrelevant. ;-)

BTW, as someone who hasn’t bought a comic book in decades, killing off Sue makes me glad that I didn’t keep up with the hobby all these years. Really, really distasteful, IMO. As an advocate of the new grittiness and realism that found its way in DC Comics during the ’70s, it appears that they have gone way overboard now.

“One thing that I always found amusing was Sue walking around in her camisole and panties”

Come to think of it, I think she was wearing a bustier and panties instead. Doesn’t matter, she was looking hot, hot, hot! :-D

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