Stretchy And Not So Serious Part 1

I was just thinking about how all my blog posts these days are on lighter topics and how I haven’t tackled anything really meaty in a while. The thought of lighter topics got me thinking about some of the comic relief which has been used over the years in issues I have read. Two of the DC universe’s comic relief mainstays are the Elongated Man and Plastic Man, and what is more notable among them is that they basically share the same power. Stretching is in itself for me kind of a weird power, it is not particularly cool (I very rarely here about someone wishing they could stretch in the forums about which power they wish they could have), but it is usually a pretty useful power. It almost makes you completely invulnerable as well as a pretty decent threat in hand to hand combat, as well as a few other uses like being able to glide or fit through small areas. Despite the effectiveness of their abilities they are associated with goofiness or bizarre behaviour. On the other hand, the only major Marvel character with this ability is Mister Fantastic, who is considered one of the smartest humans alive. I think their depiction probably owes more to the golden age of comics. Comic relief was a lot more common back then (like Doiby Dickles or the original Red Tornado) and so comic relief is a characteristic that DC carried over from the golden age. Marvel of course also had some history in the golden age, but they also got to completely reinvent the brand in the 1960s and 1970s and so got the opportunity to lose this less serious aspect of their comics, which they mostly did. It is strange for me though how the long gangly characters are also the less serious ones in the DC universe. They both have long and extensive memberships in the Justice League and even their own series or backup stories through the years and in this sense are very serious heroes but in the end their powers are always a source of humour and not of great strength.

16 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by SC

Not cool!? *Is incensed*  
You must not watch enough One Piece or play any Street Fighter! *smile* 
Lead character of One Piece is really dynamic in how he uses his stretchy powers. and covers all the advantages you mention. Dhalsim is a little similar, you would like him, he does Yoga! (all people who do Yoga like all other people that do Yoga right??) 
 
Excellent thread though! I shall contemplate these subject some more... 

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Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Elastic Powers are Awesome Mr.Fantastic and Plastic Man make it work!!! 
besides your bullet proof with the power, Thats something.
Posted by digimod

I think stretching powers lend themselves more to comic relief because the artist has more freedom to portray the characters in a cartoonish fashion.

Posted by Jake Fury

Elongated Man. 52. Nuff said.
Posted by digimod
@Jake Fury: I assume that is a statement to support characters with stretching powers have not always been used for comic relief.
Posted by Jake Fury
@digimod:
Yessir. Ralph got very serious in 52 after Sue died.
Posted by thehummingbird
@SC:  
 
I watch One piece...my friend is addicted and he constantly reminds me to catch up XD 
 
stretchy symbolizing a go with the flow attitude. Showing how both characters can make light or the best on any situation, shown through how they both have the ability to avoid and turn into anything...>.> (short and concise, I will have a better explanation later) 
Posted by RazzaTazz
@Jake Fury: Agreed, but overall he was usually used as comic relief.  After a while his strong detective abilities were even mostly ignored
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Posted by Mercy_
@Jake Fury said:
" Elongated Man. 52. Nuff said. "
I cried.
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Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

I love Plas, but I wish they'd modify his suit a bit. I do want a  pair of his goggles though.

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@SC: I love One Piece, it's one of the things that I read when I first got into manga and it's what brought me back into manga.
Posted by Jake Fury
@RazzaTazz said:
"@Jake Fury: Agreed, but overall he was usually used as comic relief.  After a while his strong detective abilities were even mostly ignored"
Hmmmm... he always struck me as light hearted but not comic relief. Now Plastic Man....
Posted by GundamHeavyarms

RazzaTazz you gotta be kidding me, stretching is an awesome power to have, second best to super speed in my opinion (I will not type IMO), its just that writers dont really know what to do with it, the only three that seem to make it work are Grant Morrison, Frank Miller, and the Manga Ka of One Piece Eiichiro Oda .  When Morrison was on JLA he made plastic man a more prominent character,  Plastic Man has control over his body on a Molecular level, the only other heroes that have that kind of control are the atom and the flash.  Plastic man for all intents and purposes is immortal, he survived being sliced into pieces and being at the bottom of the sea for 3000 years when the JLA were stranded in the past.  He can resist mind control since is brain is not completely organic, in fact, when the Martian Manhunter went bezerk and became a fire monster, only Plastic Man could stop him.  In the Dark Night Strikes Again, written by Frank Miller, Batman said that Plastic Man was one of the most powerful superheroes in the same story that included superman, captain marvel, and wonder woman.  He is written as a joke because he does have a lighthearted personality, what every superhero is supposed to be grim and brooding? Almost everyone was in the 90's, and that sucked.
The elongated man is written the same way, his impressive detective skills (which rival batman's) are usually swept under the rug, which is messed up, I like batman, but he is not the only detective in the DCU.

Im glad people mentioned One Piece before I did. Monkey D. Luffy is one of the most powerful stretchers out there.  Oda made Luffy a stretcher because he wanted his fighting style to be silly, so that people wouldn't be stressed out when reading it.  Yes Luffy does have superhuman strength, On a DC scale, his strength would rival Superboy's (Conner not a young Clark)  Luffy's stretching powers are more like elongated man's than plastic man's.  Luffy can increase his speed with Gear 2 and his strength with Gear 3, dont get me started on haki.  Yeah, luffy is usually written as a goofy idiot with a bottomless stomach but most shonen protagonists are, until you make them mad.

All three of them kind of have a go with the flow personality, their powers reflect that.  Which makes Reed Richards so ironic, because hes stiff and inflexible.
Im sorry if that comes off as an angry fanboyish rant.  I didnt mean it that way, really, I swear to you and the devil fruit.  Perhaps I see it differently than you do,  having a light personality leads to them being underestimated, then when they show their real power, the enemy is caught completely off guard.  So being kind of goofy is advantage to have. 

Posted by PrinceIMC
@digimod said:
" I think stretching powers lend themselves more to comic relief because the artist has more freedom to portray the characters in a cartoonish fashion. "
This.
Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

whats wrong with them being goofy? their both stil great detectives and have awesome powers.

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Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

@razzatazz: Elastigirl in the Incredibles showed why stretchy powers can be cool.