Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Dark Knight Returns - Elongated - P. A. Nolte

I read DKR and DKSA for inspiration this week, and Ralph Dibny really jumped out at me.  He always seems so easily overlooked in favor of Plastic Man.  For example, in his brief appearance in DKSA, he's called on to help save Plastic Man before quietly exiting the story forever.  I mean, come on.  Miller depicts him as a skirt-chasing alcoholic shilling Gingo-based products, and that was a few years before Infinite Crisis saw print.  I had to know more.

Oh, and this is written in the style of DKR's 16-panel grid.

1-3/ In a dark dressing room.  Ralph Dibny, sitting at one end of the couch, extends his arm out to grab a small tumbler he'd set down on the end table on the other end of the couch.  The half-emptied bottle of Pappy Van Winkle is on the table next to him.  He is dressed in his purple Elongated Man unitard.  The wall behind him is decorated with framed newspaper clippings and pictures of Ralph shaking hands with celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and superheroes alike.

Ralph (CAP): What am I still doing in this silly suit?

Ralph (CAP): This is my life?

Ralph (CAP): ...

Ralph (CAP): Could be worse.

4/ He finishes the drink.

Ralph (CAP): Could be sober.

5/ Ralph refills the glass.  Over his shoulder is a picture of the JLA.

Ralph (CAP): Who wazzit told me he can't get drunk anymore?  Mason?  Poor bastard.

6/ Focus on the picture.  Gathered are Ralph, Red Tornado, The Flash, Black Canary, Hawkman, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman.

Ralph (CAP): And O'Brien's been a friggin' teetotaler since he went straight.

7/ Focus on this younger, happier Ralph.

Ralph (CAP): "That stuff'll kill ya, y'know."

8/ Focus on Ralph's big smile.

Ralph (CAP): I'm counting on it.

Ralph (CAP): Bastard.

9/ Ralph finishes the drink.

10-12/ He sinks into the sofa.  All signs of life drain away as his eyes hover vacantly at whatever passes in front of him.  The darkness of the room is oppressive.  An intern calls out through the door.

Ralph (CAP): I miss Sue.

Intern (OP): Knock Knock?

13/ The intern, wearing a headset, peeks in through the cracked door, letting light in.  Ralph gives her a grimace.

Intern: Five minutes, Mr. Dibny.

Ralph: Thanks.

14/ Ralph refills the glass.  Again.

Ralph (OP): It's a good life, I guess.

15/ Ralph finishes the drink.  Again.

16/ The empty glass.  In the background, Ralph closes the door behind him.

Ralph (CAP): Good enough.

1 comment:

  1. As yous aid, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who avoided writing Batman for the week, and I gotta say I'm mighty glad you decided to shine some light on Ralph. This is a heck of a page, giving some excellent insight into who your Ralph is in a single page. Also can't say no to that DKR echo at the end. Solid stuff, Phil.


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