Amid everyone having perhaps a little too much fun with Marvel’s Goofballs Of The Galaxy, David Fairbanks over at Comics Bulletin has written an article reminding everyone of the tragic plight of Bill Mantlo, the prolific comics writer responsible for the creation of Rocket Raccoon. As detailed in this lengthy, heartbreaking profile in Life Health Pro, Mantlo has spent nearly all of the past 20 years living in hospice care, after a near-fatal hit-and-run in 1992 left him first in a lengthy coma, then in a state of brain-damaged debilitation thereafter. As one might imagine, the cost of Mantlo’s care has been considerable, leading to various fundraising events over the years and the 2007 benefit book Mantlo: In Comics, which traces his legendary run across titles such as Micronauts, The Incredible Hulk, and Rom—a character Mantlo had a hand in creating, along with Lady Deathstrike and the aforementioned space raccoon.
While Fairbanks states in his article that he’ll personally be boycotting Guardians Of The Galaxy, based on the assumption that Mantlo’s contract with Marvel—like so many other deals made with comic creators, like Batman’s Bill Finger, Superman’s Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and Ghost Rider’s Gary Friedrich—means he won’t get “much, if anything at all” from the movie. But in the comments, Mantlo’s brother Michael chimes in to say Fairbanks is “way off base” with those assumptions, both about Marvel’s treatment and Mantlo’s financial situation. “On behalf of Bill I urge everyone to SUPPORT the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY film, and help it have TREMENDOUS SUCCESS. That will benefit Bill Mantlo more than anyone could ever imagine,” Michael writes. So, that’s reassuring. We can all have fun again.
Still, for those who have read Mantlo’s story and feel compelled to help, consider donating to the Hero Initiative, which creates a financial safety net for comic creators in need, or to Mantlo’s family directly. And then you can enjoy the movie and your space raccoon completely guilt-free.