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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 276

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 comics posted so far!

Today we look at a memorable Elongated Man story in Detective Comics #449 by Mary Skrenes and Dick Giordano…


This story, titled “The Mystery Man Who Walked On Air,” is actually a bit lackluster as a mystery, if only because there’s a clue so big on page four that it gives the entire thing away, which is a shame as Skrenes does a great job in the early pages of setting the mystery up. Oh well, at least it is a logical solution, unlike some other mysteries involving Ralph and Sue (yes, we’re nearing a decade since it came out, but it is still annoying).

However, the Giordano artwork is great and the real mystery (the “WHY”) is addressed at the end of the story (which I’m not posting here) and it is a doozy, and you have to give Skrenes credit for coming up with something so clever.

I presume Bill Reed has read this one, as it is an important part of Elongated Man history (which sort of sounds like an oxymoronic statement, doesn’t it?).


Cool stuff. I always thought Ralph was a better mystery solver than Batman because unlike Batman, Ralph busted crooks who weren’t trying to get noticed or make a statement with their crimes and were actually trying to hide their clues, unlike Batman’s crooks who usually deliberately leave clues for Batman.

So who was the old man?

Spoiler Guess. . . .

Am I clear now? Okay? I haven’t read the story, but I’m assuming it was the Flash, right? Who else could vibrate through the wall like that. But why?

Ooo, I haven’t read this one– the Showcase volume doesn’t go this far, and heck, I never even knew Mary Skrenes wrote for Ralph and Sue– but I approve.

(I’m 90% sure I’ve figured out the who and the why. I hope so, anyway.)

The Crazed Spruce

October 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm

To quote Craig B:

“I haven’t read the story, but I’m assuming it was the Flash, right? Who else could vibrate through the wall like that.”

I’m guessing it’s the Martian Manhunter. Remember, he can fly, walk through walls, and change his appearance. Besides, the line “I just thought of something that needs my immediate attention” just smacks of telepathy.

The only real question is why he was doing it. As far as that goes, I’m stumped.

(I miss Ralph and Sue as the Dagwood and Blondie of the DCU.)

Martian Manhunter works as an answer nowadays, but back in 1975, not so much (I mean, he would still WORK, he just wouldn’t be someone that anyone would ever use).

That’s some nice Giordano art.

It was Barry vibrating through the walls, right? Or the JLA? I could see Superman, Aquaman, and Batman doing the other stunts.

Here’s a hint – the character in question did NOT vibrate through the wall.

It’s not The Atom, is it? I guess he could change his weight to walk on air or water, and then shrink down to go through the molecules in the wall, right? And make himself heavy to sit on Harry The Bomb?

Tricky, Brian, tricky! I just looked it up so I won’t say, but your hint above is very tricky.

Ithink this episode was hinted at in the opening pages of Identity Crisis as Ralph and Firehawk discused his relationship with Sue.

I love the Elongated Man backups. I picked up the Showcase Presents and they are just alot of fun even if the “mysteries” aren’t always the strongest. They really need to do a 2nd Showcase volume to collect more of them. And of course DC should bring back Elongated Man and Sue in some capacity, ghost detectives or whatever. Just keep them light and would make me happy.

Travis Pelkie (My Beard Eats Monsters)

October 5, 2010 at 7:37 am

Was it Jean, with the flamethrower, in the telephone? Oh yeah, I went there. It makes just as much sense here as elsewhere…

Did Mary Skrenes do a lot of stories back in the day? I guess I know her more from the cowriting of Omega the Unknown with Gerber.

I’ll have to hunt down this issue some time.

Ralph and Sue rule, man.

I used to love Dick Giordano’s work. Kinda surprised at how overlooked he seems to have been.

Oh yeah, fun comic!

So depressing that Meltzer and company were versed enough about Ralph & Sue stories like this to use them in Identity Crisis and still felt the need to go to the depths they did with the characters. A turning point for DC, and not a good one.

Hey Brian!

What is the “clue so big on page four that it gives the entire thing away”? Knowing the solution to the mystery isn’t helping me figure out the clue that is so obvious.
Can you let us know what it is? Thanks!

The Martian Manhunter would make more sense…

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