Monday, July 31, 2017

THE FLASH Casts Hartley Sawyer as Elongated Man

Is your nose suddenly twitching?

Entertainment Weekly has revealed that The CW series The Flash has cast Hartley Sawyer in the role of Ralph Dibny, better known to DC Comics fans as the ductile detective superhero the Elongated Man.  The role will be recurring throughout Season 4.

According to the article, the Elongated Man is described as "a fast-talking private investigator with investigative skills that rival those of Batman.  Upon discovering he has the power to stretch his body to any shape or form, Dibny uses his new abilities to help Team Flash solve one of Central City’s greatest mysteries."

The character was first mentioned in the Season 1 episode "Power Outage", as one of the people who seemingly died as a result of the particle accelerator accident that gave the Flash his powers.

Sawyer, 32, has previously appeared in the CW Seed series Saving the Human Race, and episodes of The McCarthys, Suburgatory, The Young and the Restless, NCIS: Los Angeles, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, GCB, and Glory Daze.

Created in 1960 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, the Elongated Man first appeared in The Flash (vol.1) #112 as Ralph Dibny, who as a teenager, was fascinated by contortionists, or people who displayed feats of agility and suppleness.  He learned that all of the body-benders he spoke with drank a popular soda called "Gingold."  Ralph set to work learning chemistry and developed a super-concentrated extract of the rare "gingo" fruit of the Yucatan, which gave him his elasticity.  In his first appearance, the Flash suspected the Elongated Man was behind several crimes, but the Elongated Man helped capture the criminals, who revealed they used a helicopter to frame him.

The Elongated Man was one of the earliest Silver Age DC heroes to reveal his secret identity to the public, and also one of the first to marry his love interest, Sue Dearborn.  After teaming up with several other superheroes like Batman, Green Lantern, the Atom, and Zatanna, he became a member of the Justice League of America.  In the event series Identity Crisis, Sue was murdered in their apartment, apparently dying of burns.  The autopsy of Sue Dibny's body by Doctor Mid-Nite and Mister Terrific, members of the Justice Society, revealed Sue was killed by an infarction in her brain.  A microscopic scan of Sue's brain also revealed tiny footprints as a clue to the infarction's cause, ultimately leading to Sue's killer, Jean Loring, the insane ex-wife of Ralph's Justice League teammate The Atom.

Sue's death had a significant effect on Ralph, compounded by the fact that Sue was apparently pregnant at the time of her death.  In the weekly series 52Ralph contemplated suicide after being informed that Sue's gravestone was vandalized with an inverted version of Superman's 'S' symbol — the Kryptonian symbol for resurrection.  He confronted the second Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, who told Dibny that she was in a cult that believed that Superboy could be resurrected.  She stole Ralph's wedding ring after the cult members attempted to drown Ralph.  Wonder Girl later tells Ralph that Sue's clothes and ring were stolen to make an effigy of Sue for a mystical ceremony.  Ralph went to the ceremony to disrupt it, but the effigy of Sue crawled to Dibny and called out to him as it burned.  As a result, Ralph suffered a nervous breakdown.  The evil sorcerer Felix Faust soon attempted to trade Ralph's soul to Neron in exchange for his own freedom.  Ralph revealed that he had been aware of Faust's identity for some time and created a binding spell to imprison Faust. Neron appeared and killed Dibny, only to realize too late that the binding spell responded only to Ralph's commands:  With his death, Ralph trapped Faust and Neron, seemingly for eternity, His spirit was later seen reunited with his wife Sue, and the two became ghost detectives.

In the current New 52 continuity, Ralph was reintroduced as a rogue member of the Secret Six, under the alias of Damon Wells a.k.a. Big Shot, who reported to the Riddler.  After having reunited with his wife Sue, Ralph made his return as the costumed Elongated Man.

Sawyer will be the first actor to portray the Elongated Man in live action, although the character has appeared in a few animated projects, including Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Jeremy Piven), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (voiced by Sean Donnellan), and Mad (voiced by Ralph Garman).

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 4 on Tuesday, October 10th at 8 p.m. EST.

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