Friday, 11 April 2014

The Tragic Tale of Bill Mantlo

I don't know how much I can say about this, but I want to say something. Legendary comic book creator Bill Mantlo is in a hospital bed after a hit and run accident, and will almost definitely be there for the rest of his life. He requires constant care, has enormous medical bills and, like so many greats of the golden age of comics, no money. Mantlo is one of the largely unsung heroes of comics, someone who produced solid, quality work at a steady, reliable rate. His run on The Incredible Hulk is considered one of the definitive ones, and he was also behind the launch of underground favourite Rom: Spaceknight.

Mantlo has been injured for a long time now, and his condition has been common knowledge among fans as well. So why am I mentioning it now? Well, one of the characters that Mantlo created was Rocket Raccoon, star of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. In any other industry that would have him set for life, but this is comics, and he won't see a dime for it. Unfortunately, that's not an usual story in this industry. Joe Shuster, the co-creator of Superman, suffered terribly from poverty in his lifetime, despite being responsible for one of the most iconic character of all time.

If you want to know more, this heartbreaking article has the full story of Bill Mantlo's situation, and current Superman writer Greg Pak has a PayPal button for donations to his care here. Pak also wrote very powerfully about Mantlo's influence on his own writing here. If nothing else, when you go to see Guardians of the Galaxy with your friends, spare a thought for Mantlo, and maybe say something to somebody. These characters don't just appear, they're created by hardworking men and women, and we need to honour them as well.

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