In DCU: The Animated Series, we propose all-new animated series based on DC Characters. As with "Batman/Superman," these adaptations do not have to be in-line with current continuity or their in-continuity origins.
A proposal by writer Michael Hutchison
The Dibny Mysteries
and conceptual artist Bob Riley
PROPOSAL: The Dibny Mystery series follows the adventures of Ralph and Sue Dibny, two wealthy bon vivants who spend their lives traveling the world and stumbling upon strange mysteries. The weirder the mystery, the more intrigued Ralph is. His wife, Sue, is bothered by Ralph's penchant for interrupting their vacation in order to investigate mysteries, but she often ends up assisting his investigations.
Ralph has the ability to stretch his body and bills himself as "Elongated Man." Although everyone in the world knows that Elongated Man is also Ralph Dibny, he wears a costume both for attention and because his regular clothing won't stretch. He is an easy-going and genial man who doesn't rush to beat up others, but his investigations often bring him into contact with bizarre costumed villains.
This series would be educational on many fronts. The Dibnys' globe-hopping and touring will pass along some geographical knowledge. Plus, the investigations and solutions to the mysteries will get kids to think and introduce them to new facts.
Sue is witty and intelligent, but she's also affectionate (unlike numerous other female characters who are established as strong women by insulting men). This makes her a very good role model for girls.
The fights and altercations would be off-set by the fact that Ralph usually tries to resolve situations in a non-violent manner.
A string of bizarre villains lend themselves to toy merchandising.
In addition to original episodes, dozens of terrific 8-page mysteries published during the 1960s and 1970s could be easily adapted into 10-minute episodes (two per show).
Although Ralph isn't a name superhero, we could introduce him in an episode of "Batman." (Such a story has been proposed previously.) However, by making him a "spin-off", we'd have to change the plot of the pilot episode. I'd rather not do this unless it's necessary.
Ralph William Dibny, The Elongated Man:
Our main character. An amateur sleuth with a keen intellect and a penchant for sticking his nose into any hint of a mystery. Ralph is doing a college dissertation on "Indian rubber men" when he realizes that they all love this soft drink called Gingold. Analyzing the properties of the gingo fruit used in the soda, he isolates the gingold enzyme and creates a juice drink that gives him the same abilities as an Indian rubber man
but greatly enhanced! As "The Elongated Man", he makes numerous public appearances and is soon known all around the world.
Ralph makes his money from celebrity appearances and by being a major shareholder in the company which makes Gingold soda, while his wife is the heiress to a fortune. He and his wife aren't Bruce Wayne-level wealthy, but they always have more than enough money to get by.
Ralph is a numismatist (a lover of rare coins) and gets along well with policemen. He is welcomed most everywhere he goes.
Suggestions for voice: Kevin Pollack (from A Few Good Men), Matthew Perry (Chandler on Friends)
Sue Dearbon Dibny:
Feisty, quick-witted socialite Sue Dearbon married Ralph as a way to rebel against her upbringing but quickly fell for the lovable goof. Sue has a reputation as an extravagant shopper, but she also has an astute business sense (which she got from her parents) and is a whiz with computers.
Suggestions for voice: Kathy Griffin (Dilbert, Suddenly Susan), Maura Tierney (Newsradio)
Elongated Man doesn't really have any villains (Eurocrime aside) of his own from the comic books; most of his opponents are ordinary criminals. So it will be with the more day-to-day mystery episodes of this show. However, for marketable villains we can use a combination of lesser-known DC villains (who aren't paired with characters likely to get their own show) and original villains created for the show by Michael Hutchison based on the villains he'd introduce for an Elongated Man comic book.
- Thomas Oscar Morrow Scientist who can see into the future. He has a "four-dimensional grappler" which can seize items such as weapons from the future. He is a brilliant cyberneticist who creates an android named the Red Tornado to use against Elongated Man.
Voice suggestion: Vincent Schiavelli (The Subway Ghost in "Ghost"; the assassin in "Tomorrow Never Dies"; voiced Zatara in "Batman: The Animated Series")
- Brainstorm Wears a helmet which is powered by his mental energy.
Voice suggestion: Wallace Shawn (The 'inconceiveable' Sicilian guy from "Princess Bride"; currently the villain in "My Favorite Martian")
- Big Sir A large, armored dufus who is tricked by his petty criminal cousin into committing armed robberies.
Voice suggestion: Stan Freberg (My hero! Stan's done cartoon voices for Warner Bros such as the Abominable Snowman who said he'd "pet him and pet him and call him 'George'!")
- Cat Man (To be introduced in an earlier episode of Batman) A rich big game hunter and high society millionaire who moonlights as a cat burglar. After an encounter with Batman that reveals his secret identity, he decides to go straight. But that's just a ruse
Voice suggestion: Tim Meadows (Played Sammy Davis Jr. in "Wayne's World 2" and has been Saturday Night Live's resident The Black Guy for a decade)
- Copperhead Slithery snakeman.
Voice suggestion: Albert Brooks (The nerdy guy on "Broadcast News")
- Ragdoll A cunning, quadruple jointed contortionist and gymnast, Ragdoll is one of Elongated Man's biggest enemies.
Voice suggestion: Steve Oedekerk (Jim Carrey-ish director of "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" and star in his own right of "steveoedekerk.com")
- Eurocrime - a gang of food-themed international gimmick villains.
- L'escargot Slippery French snail criminal.
- Il Calamari Italian ink-spraying squid.
- The Wurstwaffe A sausage-dressed German team who can form a link of wursts.
- Lutefisk Norwegian fish villain which sprays a hideous mist of foul-smelling lye.
- Rainbow Raider Spectrum-manipulating thief Roy G. Bivolo is obsessed with artwork and commits color-related crimes.
Voice suggestion: Paul Shaffer (Bandleader on David Letterman's Late Show)
- Gentleman Ghost The ghost of Gentleman Jim Craddock, an 18th Century highwayman, returns to continue his reign of crime.
Voice suggestion: Patrick Stewart (Capt. Picard of "Star Trek:TNG")
- The Bug-Eyed Bandit At the age of 20, he is already a master spy and miniaturized technology genius who uses cutting-edge robot bugs to eavesdrop and even physically commit crimes. His bug-eyed virtual reality goggles allow him to see through the robots' eyes.
Voice suggestion: Elijah Wood (The kid from "Deep Impact" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn")
- Melt Charles M. Mellot is a Californian worker at the Gingo tree farms in the Yucatan peninsula. When he overhears the secret behind EM's powers, Charles tries to duplicate the Gingold elixir. However, Mellot's powers become externalized. He gains the power to stretch, distort and melt any object he touches. As Melt, he begins a crime spree.
Voice suggestion: Norm Macdonald (recently fired anchor on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"; star of "Dirty Work")
- Small Fry Miniaturizing thief with atomic-based heat and energy powers.
Voice suggestion: Jason Alexander (George from "Seinfeld")
- Happy Homewrecker June Cleaver meets the Trickster. HH is a good old-fashioned gimmick villain. Dressed as a 1950s housewife, HH's weapons incorporate a cooking-and-cleaning motif. Her salt-and-pepper shaker double-barrel gun fires disabling bursts of rock salt and pepper spray. Her extending-handle frying pan smashes through walls. A vacuum scoops up loot, while the light mounted on the front blinds victims. She carries razor-edged throwing coupons, skeleton keys, poisonous make-up and a wide assortment of weapons in the many, many compartments of her small purse. And her favorite assault weapon is, of course, a multi-functional rolling pin. An apron, dress heels and a string of pearls complete the ensemble. HH is actually a sassy modern woman who sees her criminal acts as a kind of neo-feminist statement. She's also a genius at inventing devices from any items she can get her hands on; it's like the Silver Age Lex Luthor had a child with Martha Stewart ("Just a left-over milk carton, suet and birdseed, and you have a lovely decorative phantom zone projector!" would not be out of place if she said it).
Voice suggestion: Julia Sweeney (played Pat on Saturday Night Live, now starring in "God Said, 'Ha!'")
- Mr. Dearbon Sue's father, a wealthy New York investor and businessman.
- Mrs. Dearbon Sue's mother, a traditional society grand dame a la Margaret Dumont.
- Mr. Dibny Ralph's father, a nebishy Nebraska accountant.
- Mrs. Dibny Ralph's mother, a beautiful Nebraska schoolteacher.
- The Atom Ivytown professor Ray Palmer, who discovers a way to shrink to subatomic size.
- Hawkman and Hawkwoman Undercover as museum curators, they are actually alien police officers who adopt winged costumes to fight crime on Earth.
- Sherlock Holmes The greatest detective ever.
- Star Hawkins Detective of the future.
- Rip Hunter, Time Master A member of the Linear Men, Rip polices time to stop temporal crimes.
"Mystery Date" In the show's hour-long pilot, we learn of Dibny's lifelong fascination with Indian rubber men and his learning of the stretching properties of the Gingo fruit. Making his name public, Dibny crashes the society party of debutante Sue Dearbon. Sue's father, president of Dearbon Companies International (DCI) is being threatened by industrial spies and hides an important computer disk in Sue's purse. Ralph and Sue go off on a date which begins on a high note but turns into a race to escape the spies. When the spies fail, they hire Copperhead to tackle Ralph. By the end of the episode, Ralph and Sue are married.
"Mystery of the Barn-Door Bandit" and "Case of the Purple Pony" Two ten-minute mysteries, direct adaptations of the comic book cases.
"Small Fry" After a series of burglaries in which the only clues are scorched pinholes, Elongated Man enlists the help of his friend the Atom to capture Small Fry.
"Cat and Mouse" Ralph and Sue are evaluating Cat Man's new zoo before making a sizable charitable donation. Ralph slips in after hours and discovers that Cat Man is using the grounds to run "Most Dangerous Games" in which humans stalk their own kind in exchange for a sizeable fee. Trapped, Ralph becomes the prey and must contend with over a dozen of the world's deadliest hunters.
"Gentleman Jim" Ralph investigates a series of thefts by Gentleman Ghost at the Midway City History Museum, unaware that the curators, Carter and Shiera Hall, are already on the case as the Hawks.
"Crime Ahead Of Time" Mr. Dearbon enlists his daughter's financial acumen and computer expertise in tracking down a large amount of missing finances. It reveals that one of the company's lab workers, Thomas Oscar Morrow, has been embezzling the money to finance his own time-viewing supercomputer. T.O. Morrow barricades himself in the lab; when he emerges, he wields a "fourth dimensional grappler" and several weapons he has retrieved from the future.
"Happy Homewrecker" Ralph encounters the Happy Homewrecker and tries to stop her spree of trade show robberies. Basic in plot, fun in execution.
"Tic Toc 'Tecs" Ralph, Sherlock Holmes and Star Hawkins are pulled from their timelines to the distant future. They are asked to solve the mystery of a stolen device, the time manipulator. Ralph finally tracks it to T.O. Morrow, and the three detectives, along with Rip Hunter, team up to recover the device.
"Dollhouse" Ralph is visiting "Amal, the Indian Rubber Man" (a stage name; he's actually Robert, a short Scottish guy), the circus performer who tipped off Ralph about Gingold. However, upon entering Milwaukee, WI, where the circus is performing, Ralph is held for questioning. There have been a dozen robberies in the past month, each one circumventing security in such a way that Ralph is the chief suspect. As he is not under arrest, Ralph attempts to find the true thief. He learns that Robert has adopted the identity of RagDoll. He uses his rubbery physique and quadruple-jointed limbs to commit the crimes. Ralph has a dickens of a time capturing him.
"Viva La Difference" Hoping to escape the oddball mysteries and weird villains who "plague" their globe-trotting, the Dibnys attend a European Unity Conference. When it's disrupted by Eurocrime, a gang of villains who adopt nationalistic food themes, Ralph fights them off. Everyone thinks they're trying to make a point about the loss of nationalism and accusations fly. However, Ralph tracks their technology to the representative from Modora, who feels that a federalist Europe will profit from his nation's wealth. [Editor's note: If there are no plans for a Green Lantern series, this diplomat can be Sonar.] After the ridiculous Eurocriminals, Ralph is happy to hear that Happy Homewrecker has resurfaced and he has to return to America.
All characters are DC Comics
EXCEPT Melt, Small Fry and Happy Homewrecker,
all of which are © 1999 Michael Hutchison
This column, story proposals and revamped villains are © 1999 Michael Hutchison
Artwork is © 1999 by Bob Riley