Stretchiness is by far one of the most well-recognized superhero abilities. After being popularized in the 1940s, and heavily represented not only in both Marvel and DC proprieties, it’s reached into manga, anime, and Western animated TV shows and feature films.
While there are sketchy parameters to judge just how stretchy a hero is, some are definitely more stretchy than others. Some heroes have proven themselves on multiple occasions to be pliable beyond limits, with bodies that can transform in whatever shape or achieve any length they so desire.
Elasticity is a power held by those with both big personalities and gloomy natures, by heroes in famous proprieties and abandoned ones, by mothers, fathers, teenagers, scientists, and actresses. It is often an ability given to characters who need to be malleable to deal with their lives in and out of their suits.
Bend your mind, twist your knowledge, and get ready to meet the 15 Stretchiest Superheroes of all!
15. Thin Man
Marvel’s Thin Man might not have been the actual, original stretchy superhero, but he is the oldest one to have those abilities and be popular.
Bruce Dickson was an explorer in the 1930s who climbed the Mount Kalpurthia (in the Himalayas) and found the Heaven of Kalahia. Not unlike Black Panther’s Wakanda, Kalahia was a place seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but which actually possessed very advanced technology. There, Bruce Dickson had his body altered by the Kalahia people, inheriting eternal youth, superb physical strength, and complete ability to stretch or shape his body in whichever way– including becoming flat, or better yet, thin. So Thin Man, the hero, emerged.
Conceived in the 1940s but having peaked in the 1970s, Thin Man is considered a founding member of Marvel’s Liberty Legion team. He’s an old-school Marvel character,a contemporary of heroes such as Captain America and Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch.
14. Rubberband Man
Adam Evans is a musician who, at first, emerges as sort of a villain in the DC Comic’s animated series Static Shock. He has a song stolen by a music producer and given to a rapper, and tries to get revenge on those who betrayed him.
As a metahuman, Adam is known as Rubberband Man, because his body is made of rubber and is therefore solid, but highly elastic. He is pretty flexible, but less so than many of the stretchy heroes we have come to know. Adam is also a younger brother to Ebon, the leader of the Meta-Breed, and Static’s main villain.
Rubberband Man later phases out of his villainous ways; going as far as dating Sharon Hawkins, another Static Shock main character. The episodes that centered around Adam were often very dramatic, dealing with serious themes such as trust and jealousy, and also revealed his struggle with learning disabilities, like dyslexia.
Flatman is a superhero with elasticity abilities who sports a blue suit with a giant “F” in the middle. It is easy to understand why fans so often mistaken him for Reed Richards, otherwise known as Mr. Fantastic. That resemblance is intentional, as Flatman actively chose at one point to disguise himself as Mr. Fantastic.
Flatman – also known as Dr. Val Ventura – is actually a guy named Matt, and he is part of the Great Lakes Avengers. He has also been nicknamed “The 2-D Avenger” for, well, looking flat and two-dimensional. He can shape-shift to pretty much any form, human or otherwise. In a few instances, he actually shifted to the form of origami.
Unlike Doctor Strange, who was pretty open about being a surgeon, Flatman withheld information about his academic background (and left his Dr. Val Ventura title unexplained) many times in order to protect his secret identity. Also, in GLA: Misassembled #2, Flatman came out as gay.
12. Monkey D. Luffy
This One Piece protagonist could do a lot of things, but after eating a certain type of legendary Devil Fruit called Gum-Gum Fruit, his body became like rubber, allowing him to expand his body in many ways and fight in long distances.
Monkey D. Luffy is also known for punches and kicks, using his elongating abilities in combination with his fighting techniques in order to create slingshot-like attacks full of speed and power. Monkey is actually one of the most creative heroes who can stretch, using his malleable body structure in ways that many Marvel and DC characters didn’t.
In the early stages of Monkey D. Luffy’s expandable abilities, it seemed like he didn’t have as much ease with them as one would assume. However, with time, Monkey gained more control of his powers and was shown stretching quickly and durably. Monkey eventually became so comfortable with it all that it became a running joke in the series that he couldn’t possibly be in too much pain, since his body was made of rubber.
11. Elastigirl / Mrs. Incredible
The Incredibles’ Helen Parr is a full-time mom, so her stretching abilities are actually useful in and out of her superhero suit.
The Disney/Pixar heroine, once known as Elastigirl (not to be confused with DC’s Elasti-Girl) and later recognized as Mrs. Incredible, can bend and extend her body however she desires. However, as The Incredibles goes, she eventually quits her heroic ways to raise a family and commit to an ordinary existence along with husband Bob and children Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. When Bob, otherwise known as Mr. Incredible, gets into trouble, Mrs. Incredible is forced to use her powers again to save him.
As a mother, Helen learns to allow her children to explore their own abilities, and meanwhile, she becomes confident in embracing her own powers once again. She uses her elasticity in many ways in the film, becoming a boat at one point and a parachute in another.
Offspring is the son of the legendary DC Comics stretchy superhero Plastic Man (who ranked much higher on the list). While there is certainly a strong physical resemblance between the two, Offspring’s suit is white and shows much less skin.
Born Luke O’Brian, his relationship with his father, Patrick O’Brian (Plastic Man), is definitely not ideal. Luke is considered Patrick’s illegitimate child with a former girlfriend, named Angel McDunnagh. Even though father and son share the same set of powers, it is safe to say that Offspring did not have as many opportunities in the comics to prove that he was more powerful than his dad.
He emerged in The Kingdom: Offspring #1 in 1999, but he was also known for being associated with the Teen Titans. This hero has been mostly forgotten in recent DC Comics iterations, not even being listed on the company’s official website.
Marvel’s Cessily Kincaid is an X-Men known as Mercury. She has a silver-metal skin, composed of a non-toxic type of mercury, which allows her to transform or expand in any way she wants. Mercury’s most well-known weakness is to electricity, which can stun the heroine and make her temporarily lose control of her abilities.
While still in high school, Cessily leaves Portland, Oregon to join the X-Men and become Mercury. So her father, Ellis Kincaid, actually tries to extradite his daughter from the Xavier Institute, claiming Cessily had been kidnapped. Mercury first emerges in Marvel’s New Mutants, Vol. 2, where she becomes good friends with Rockslide and develops a crush on Wither.
Mercury is part of the X-Men team that assembled to face the Hulk in the “World War Hulk” series. In the “Utopia” series, Deadpool actually tries to assassinate Ellis Kincaid, Mercury’s father, in order to win a chance in joining the X-Men.
8. Paper Doll
A mentally-unstable paparazzo/stalker, Paper Doll is a New Yorker with an incredibly pliable body who uses her abilities to harass actor Bobby Carr, with whom she is obsessed. In several instances, Paper Doll tries to put a stop to each and every person who seems to be bothering Bobby Carr.
One of her most notable storylines was in the Spider-Man comics, when she tried to kill a fellow paparazzo who had gotten into a fight with Bobby Carr. Thankfully, she was stopped by Spider-Man, who in his real life as Peter Parker also happened to be a street photographer/paparazzo.
Aside from her stretching, Paper Doll (a Marvel character) looks eerily similar to DC Comic’s Raven. There is also something alike between Paper Doll and Jessica Jones, considering the two are gloomy New York women who are prone to stalking. On a personality level, though, it is hard to imagine Raven or Jessica Jones being so overcome with love toward some actor who doesn’t even pay attention to them.
Skin, also known as Angelo Espinosa, is a Latin-American superhero from Los Angeles. He mutated and gained his powers after his nearly stolen car exploded. Angelo was considered legally dead, but in truth, he’d just left L.A. to hide his newly-acquired powers and appearance.
An X-Men who emerged in Uncanny X-Men #317 and went on to be affiliated with Generation X, Skin possesses an incredibly pliable six-foot-tall body. His skin is silver like Mercury’s, but it is not made of the same material.
After his time in Generation X, Skin was one of the mutants who were found crucified in the grounds of the X-Men Mansion. Unlike many of his peers, he was not able to come back to life through the Archangel’s healing powers.
Like Mercury and Skin, Rubbermaid is an X-Men with the ability to stretch in whichever way she wants. However, Rubbermaid is (obviously) made of rubber, and is therefore exposed to the hindrances of such material. Extreme heat can make her melt, extreme cold can make her freeze.
Born Andrea Margulies, she first shows up in X-Treme X-Men #20, but later is entered in the Alpha Squadron along with fellow mutant Victor Borkowski. Unlike many of her expandable peers, Rubbermaid actually had the ability to sustain a lot of physical damage. She was also one of the youngest students during her time in the Xavier Institute.
Unfortunately, Rubbermaid was a victim of M-Day, the Marvel Comics event in which Scarlet Witch stripped away the powers from nearly the entire mutant population. She was hit by a bus and killed not too long after.
5. Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan, otherwise known as the incredibly elastic Ms. Marvel, is the most recently created character from Marvel Comics on this list. She is a Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey who is obsessed with Captain Marvel, naming herself Ms. Marvel as an ode to her idol.
Like Peter Parker, many of Kamala’s stories are centered around being a teenager who happens to also possess incredible abilities. Many of her plots also focus on her family, her school, and her faith – she’s a Muslim, which is an important step forward in the ongoing diversification of the superhero ecosystem. She also happens to develop a crush on a boy who has special abilities as well, named Kamran.
Ms. Marvel went on to join the Avengers after Iron Man became impressed with her abilities and they fought against a space alien called Warbringer. Aside from her elasticity, Ms. Marvel has also been shown to possess healing powers.
4. Mister Fantastic
Undoubtedly the most famous and iconic superhero with stretching abilities, Mister Fantastic deserved one of the top spots on this list for having proven himself as one of the most powerful superheroes in all of Marvel Comics.
The leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards is a scientist who gained his powers in the well-known spaceship incident that also mutated Susan Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. Before F4, Reed was already incredibly ingenious, having attended CalTech, Harvard University, and M.I.T. at a very young age.
Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Mister Fantastic and the Fantastic Four have remained central characters in the Marvel Comics ecosystem, most recently having played a huge role in the Civil War comic series.
In the Fox live-action adaptations, Mister Fantastic was portrayed by Ioan Gruffudd in 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s sequel Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and by Miles Teller in 2015’s The Fantastic Four.
3. Elasti-Girl / Elasti-Woman
Not to be confused with Disney/Pixar’s Elastigirl, Elasti-Girl (later known as Elasti-Woman) is a DC Comics’ Doom Patrol heroine with stretching and size-alteration abilities.
Born Rita Farr, she inherits her abilities during her time as a Hollywood actress, after being exposed to rare volcanic gases during a shoot in Africa. Rita’s newly-acquired powers ruin her film career, but she learns to embrace her capabilities when she is approached by The Chief to join Doom Patrol. There, she eventually falls in love with Steve Dayton (Mento) and adopts a young Garfield Logan (who later joins the Teen Titans).
Fun fact: DC Comics actually granted Pixar permission to use the name Elastigirl for the animated superheroine Helen Parr, as long as that name wasn’t shown in any merchandise. Which explains why everything regarding The Incredibles’ mom was only labeled as Mrs. Incredible.
Elasti-Girl is mentioned in The CW’s The Flash, where her years as actress Rita Farr are the subject of a fictional documentary – titled “The Rita Farr Story” – that was showing at a movie theater where Barry Allen and Iris West met.
2. Elongated Man
A member of three incarnations of the Justice League, Ralph Dibny/Elongated Man is a jokester with impressive stretchiness who first appeared in an issue of The Flash comics and quickly became friends with Barry Allen.
A show-off and attention-seeker, Elongated Man grew up in Nebraska, but moved to Central City to feed his fascination with money and fame. He was originally intended to serve as a supporting character for The Flash, but he outgrew the sidekick position and went on to be featured in several comic series and character iterations.
In 2011’s The New 52 comic series, Ralph Dibny is shown as having gone rogue from the Secret Six, reporting to the Riddle. He only returns to his Elongated Man costume after reuniting with his wife Sue.
Ralph is also known for being a great detective with Sherlock Holmes-level deductive reasoning abilities. He also speaks French, is great at chemistry, and occasionally uses his shapeshifting abilities to disguise his face beyond recognition.
1. Plastic Man
The most important, well-recognized, and powerful expandable superhero of DC Comics, Plastic Man has the most unlimitedly malleable superhero body of all.
As mentioned before on the list, his real name is Patrick O’Brian, and he’s the father of Offspring (Luke O’Brian). He is a reformed criminal with some odd history of friendship with Batman, and occasionally joined the Justice League. He was created by Jack Cole in 1941 for Police Comics #1.
Plastic Man has been known for being invulnerable, immortal, immune to telepathy, and having a regenerative body. Like Deadpool and Wolverine, he is widely considered indestructible. He is, however, vulnerable to heat and certain types of chemicals.
While generally being inexplicably ignored by most DC Comics adaptations, Plastic Man was an actual playable character in the 2014 game Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. In the 1990s, Lilly and Lana Wachowski (writer-directors of The Matrix and Sense8) wrote a Plastic Man screenplay that never saw the light of day.
Which other stretchy superheroes do you think deserve a slot on this list? Let us know in the comments!