Superhero characters can gain a multitude of powers. The Flash has incredible super speed, Cyclops can fire out a blast of optic force and Superman has just about every cool power there can be — except the one we’re talking about today.
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Ah, stretchy characters! While other superpowers get the most fanfare, these characters prove the benefits of having the extra reach to attack foes. With the ability to stretch out parts of their bodies, these characters have proven that elasticity is a force to be reckoned with, as goofy as it may appear. This is not to mention the fact that these characters are not only in comic books but also stretch (pun intended) into manga and animated series and films as well. We’re breaking it all down by highlighting 15 of the coolest characters with elastic powers.
15. MADAM ROGUE
Elastic powers aren’t just for superheroes, but villains as well! Madam Rogue was created by Arnold Drake and first appeared in 1964’s “Doom Patrol” #86. The DC super-villain originally had dual personalities (one good, one evil), but after receiving surgery from The Brain, only her evil side prevailed. With her merciless ways, Madam Rogue joined The Brotherhood of Evil, thus becoming the only female member of the team.
However, when her good side made a reappearance, Madam Rogue went on a quest for vengeance against The Brotherhood, who kept her evil side afloat for so long. Unfortunately, she was ultimately killed by Beast Boy. DC later rebooted the “Doom Patrol” series, but instead of bringing Madam Rogue back to the living world, the powers that be signed her corpse up for the Black Lantern Corps. Madam Rogue also appeared in the televised “Teen Titans” as a villain in the season five episode “Homecoming – Part 2.”
14. JAKE THE DOG
Jake The Dog is one of the most beloved characters from “Adventure Time,” but the marigold-colored bulldog isn’t just known for his easy-going personality and his love of food. He is also famous for his ability to manipulate his body through stretching and shape-shifting. In a countless amount of times, this power proves to be super convenient during his adventures with Finn.
With the ability to turn into a skeleton key or an entirely new person, he surely is a “magical dog.” But one of his biggest, brightest-shining moments was when he was able to avoid falling ill to Me-Mow’s poison by enlarging his liver, thus saving the day in “Jake vs. Me-Mow.” Although, we do admit, it must kind of suck for your stomach to morph into a fist to punch you as a reminder to eat, as it did in “Power Animal.” Yikes. Jake can also give a mean kick or punch when necessary, and his stretchy ability knows nearly no bounds.
Skin was co-created by the legendary Joe Madureira and Scott Lobdell, which makes him a no-brainer as an addition to our list. The grey-skinned character made his first appearance in “Uncanny X-Men” #317 in 1994. Skin, whose real name is Angelo Espinosa, was a mutant looking for a way out of the gang life in Los Angeles when he was abducted by a group of aliens known as the Phalanx. After being saved by a fellow mutant name Blink, Skin enrolled in the Banshee and Emma Frost-founded school known as the Massachusetts Academy, and became a formative member of Generation X.
Unlike most of his elastic-powered counterparts, Skin has a limit to how much he can stretch as he only has six-feet of extra skin to play around with. But that doesn’t stop the young mutant from getting the job done as he can do anything from defending his friends to impaling his enemies. Skin also made an appearance in the made-for-TV film, “Generation X,” which is a great bit of superhero tv arcana, much maligned though it is.
12. THIN MAN
Thin Man is often credited as one of the first superheroes who could stretch as he emerged on the comic scene ahead of Plastic Man and Mister Fantastic. Thin Man made his first appearance in 1940’s “Mystic Comics” #4. In addition to elastic powers, Thin Man also has eternal youth that he gained from the Kalahian people in the Himalayas.
Although he hasn’t made many appearances since the Golden Age, Klaus Nordling’s Thin Man was certainly one of the originals to show what stretching is all about. The Marvel hero also fought alongside Captain America, The Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, among others. The Marvel hero also had a tragic story as his wife, the Kalahian leader’s daughter Olalla, was killed by the Nazis. This, as you might expect, drove him into a murderous rage against them. Unfortunately, this didn’t go over well with Cap, which led to Thin Man serving time in jail. However, he was able to leave to contribute to an operation against the Nazis. In the end though, the operation was secretly being run behind-the-scenes by none other than Red Skull. Most recently, Thin Man co-stared in the 2005 series “New Invaders” #9.
While some can stretch their limbs, others can control their entire body size, like our next entry, Elasti-Woman. After being exposed to mysterious volcanic gasses, Elasti-Woman, or Rita Farr, found that she could grow into a giant or shrink to a tiny size at a whim. She can also control the size of whatever object she touches. Originally a movie star, Farr was cast out from Hollywood after the accident. As it turned out, though, switching to superheroing wasn’t exactly a worst case scenario in terms of a career move. Elasti-Woman would also cross paths with another stretchy character, Madam Rouge, a member of the Doom Patrol, the main enemy of the Brotherhood of Evil.
Elasti-Woman was created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani and made her first appearance in “My Greatest Adventure” #80. The DC hero also made an appearance in the “Teen Titans” episode “Homecoming,” as well as in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” in the episode “The Last Patrol.” There’s also a small reference to her in CW’s “The Flash,” as well.
Dhalsim made his first appearance in the 1991 video game, “Street Fighter II,” and since then has been one of our favorite characters in the series. The flexible yogi is not only memorable for his unique design but for his stretchy techniques that served for great long-range attacks throughout the video game series. Along with stretching his limbs and head, Dhalsim also possesses flamethrower (Yoga Fire, Yoga Flame and Yoga Blast) and teleportation powers, which would often come in handy in battles.
Although the Indian fighter is often criticized for being portrayed as a stereotype, we can’t help to love the fighting technique and uniqueness of the character, which makes him such and enduring presence in the series and in pop culture at large. Despite being a pacifist, Dhalsim decided to fight for a noble cause — to raise money for his village. He also appeared in the “Street Fighter: Alpha” series as well as “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie.” The less said about his live-action portrayal, however, the better!
9. RIBBON GIRL
One of the games we’re most excited for this year is Nintendo Switch’s “ARMS” — and a large part of that excitement is due to Ribbon Girl. The boxing/fighting game, which was announced during the Nintendo Switch Presentation in January, shows Ribbon Girl throwing a mean extendable punch towards her opponent, Spring Man. Although, each character in the game technically has elastic powers as well, we’re digging Ribbon Girl’s hot pink and yellow color design just a bit more than everyone else. Style points!
Along with her power to extend her arms (and hair!) to spiral out like ribbons, she can also continuously jump in mid-air and is more agile than the rest of the characters. All these moves will certainly come in handy during the immersive game. Other playable characters in the online multiplayer game will include Master Mummy, Mechanica and Ninjara, among others who have yet to be announced. “ARMS” is set to be released in Spring 2017.
8. RUBBERBAND MAN
One of the most memorable villains from the hit series “Static Shock” is Rubberband Man, or Adam Evans. With his entire body made out of rubber, he was natural foe to Static Shock’s electric powers. While the two went head-to-head in the beginning, they eventually became allies. Rubberband Man, who was originally a musician, can manipulate his shape and stretch out his body. In the mix of fighting a crooked record producer who stole his music in the episode “They’re Playing My Song,” he also showed that he can also transform into a woman.
That episode also served as his first appearance in the series, after which he go on to appear in seven episodes, including “Bent Out of Shape,” “Bad Stretch,” “Consequences,” “Duped,” “No Man’s an Island” and “Where the Rubber Meets the Road.” In the series, he fought alongside Static Shock against the villain, Meta-Breed. Fun fact: The DC character was named after 1976 song “Rubberband Man” by The Spinners.
Often mistaken for Mister Fantastic, Flatman first appeared in “West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2)” #46. While he originally worked as a Mister Fantastic impersonator, he later became a great asset to the West Coat Avengers in 1989. Created by John Byrne, Flatman has a number of powers outside of his elastic abilities, including shapeshifting and invisibility, which he’s able to achieve by turning himself at a certain angle, since his character is drawn as two dimensional. For shapeshifting, he folds himself in a way akin to origami. Flatman is also well-equipped in hand-to-hand combat.
It was later announced that Flatman is gay in the 2005 series “GLA: Misassembled,” making him one of the few LGBT heroes in Marvel Comics. Most recently, the superhero appeared in the 2016’s “Great Lakes Avengers” series as its optimistic (yet nervous) team leader. Flatman also appears in the “Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes” episode “The Cure,” as well as “The Super Hero Squad Show” episode “The Ice Melt Cometh.”
6. MRS. INCREDIBLE/ELASTIGIRL
Mrs. Incredible, or Helen Parr, deserves a “Best Mom Ever” mug as she doubled as a superhero and mom in the modern-classic 2004 film, “Incredibles.” Originally known by the superhero name Elastigirl, her powers include the ability to stretch up to 300 feet and leap up to 80 feet. She can also shape-shift; in the film, she transforms into a boat to help her children reach land safely after falling out of an aircraft.
However, after marrying Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible), she decided to go by Mrs. Incredible. Throughout the film, Mrs. Incredible shows love and guidance, along with her husband, Mr. Incredible, to her three super-kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. In the mix of using her powers to multitask as Helen Parr, Mrs. Incredible effortlessly defeats villains, as well. Luckily for us, we’ll see Mrs. Incredible back on the big screen in 2018 as “Incredibles 2” is set to hit the theaters under writer-producer Brad Bird who’s set to bring the film back to life.
5. ELONGATED MAN
The Elongated Man, aka Ralph Dibny, made his first appearance in “The Flash” #112 in 1960. Originally an aspiring contortionist, Dibny decided to drink a concentrated version of Gingold, a popular beverage amongst the performers. Luckily, the concoction reacted well to his metahuman gene, which in turn, gave him the power of elasticity. Without the gene, he would not have got the same reaction, and thus no powers. Although Dibny’s powers come with some limitations including how far he can stretch his body, he is still one of the stretchiest heroes in the DC universe, let alone one of the most endearing.
Besides, Ralph makes up for any limitations with his detective skills. Similar to Batman, The Elongated Man is renowned for his ability to solve a mystery, often sensing a mystery in his twitching nose. He’s also a respected chemist! With all of these abilities, it’s no wonder he eventually fought alongside the Justice League, and eventually joined the team. The Elongated Man, who was co-created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, also made an appearance in “Justice League Unlimited” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”
4. PLASTIC MAN
Plastic Man has no limits to his stretchability. Since his first appearance in “Police Comics” #1, Plastic Man moved from being a criminal by the name of Patrick “Eel” O’Brian to a humorous superhero and member of the Justice League; however, while he was always quick with a smile and a joke, the extent of his powers is no laughing matter. In addition to size manipulation, Plastic Man also has a wide set of powers including superhuman strength, invulnerability, regeneration and telepathic immunity. O’Brian emerged with these powers after falling into a vat of acid after being shot.
He even shows signs of immortality, much like plastic, since he lived to be over 3,000 years old after going back in time with the Justice League during the Obsidian Age. Thinking him dead, the team left him there, only to meet him again in the present day. Afterwards, Batman commended Plastic Man for his ability to survive for all of those years. Plastic Man also appeared in “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” but most recently, the DC hero found his way to the pages in “The New 52” as an ever-popular presence.
3. MS. MARVEL (KAMALA KHAN)
Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, is one of the newer elastic-powered characters onto the comic book scene, but she’s already making a huge impact. The young hero looks up to Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), but instead of gaining her idol’s powers of flight and superhuman strength, Kamala is granted polymorph abilities when she undergoes terrigenesis, the process by which Inhumans gain their fantastic abilities.
With her first appearance in “Captain Marvel” #14 in 2013, Kamala Khan made history as the first Muslim character to receive an ongoing Marvel comic. It also nabbed the Hugo Award for best graphic story in 2015. Co-Created by Marvel editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, and writer G. Willow Wilson, Ms. Marvel has become an instant classic both on the page and off of it. Although new to the scene, Ms. Marvel already made a television debut in the animated serie “Avengers Assemble,” which has since become “Avengers: Ultron Revolution.” She appears in the episodes “The Inhuman Condition” and “The Kids Are Alright” where she fights one of Ultron’s robots and Ghost alongside Captain America and Iron Man.
2. MONKEY D. LUFFY
“One Piece” is one of the most popular shows (globally) in the past decade, and Monkey D. Luffy is one of the top reasons for that. After eating the Gomu Gomu devil fruit, Luffy becomes a “rubber man.” With this, he’s able to stretch out every part of his body, allowing him to spread his limbs forward to attack, blow up his entire body up like a balloon and, by concentrating on certain body parts, is able to enlarge them to a gigantic size. He is also invulnerable against bullets and electricity, as seen with his battles against multiple antagonists and Enel, respectively. But, like rubber, he’s vulnerable to blades.
However, all of his moves surely come in handy as The Straw Hats’ pirate captain is on the quest to find “one piece” and become the pirate king. This is not to mention the amount of times, he and his crew (Zoro, Sanji, Nami, Usopp, Chopper, Robin, Franky and Brook) go head-to-head with the World Government after following Luffy’s hard-headed antics.
1. MISTER FANTASTIC
Mister Fantastic, or Reed Richards, is often the first superhero to come to mind when talking about elastic powers as he’s easily one of the most recognizable and popular superheroes with powers of elasticity. As the leader and founding member of the Fantastic Four, Reed first appeared in “The Fantastic Four” #1 in 1961. Under the skilled hands of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Mister Fantastic was created to not only have powers of elasticity, but a powerful mind as well.
Often billed as a master scientist, Mister Fantastic proves to be extremely knowledgable in various sciences, including engineering, physics and biology. Naturally, Mister Fantastic has appeared in countless TV series and films, including the most recently 2015 disaster, “Fantastic Four.” Throughout his time in comics, Mister Fantastic has fought alongside his wife, Sue Storm, aka Invisible Woman, as well as his brother-in-law, Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), and Ben Grimm, aka The Thing. Together, they’ve fought against the most villainous baddies in this or any other universe, in battles where both his body and mind have proven to be invaluable!
Who is your favorite flexible, stretchable character? Let us know in the comments!
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