In 1992, Bill Mantlo, one of Marvel Comics' legendary writers at the time, was hit by a car while rollerblading. While the co-creator of Rocker Raccoon survived the accident, he was unfortunately left brain damaged because of it, so much that he has to live in a nursing care facility with the aid of his brother, Michael. Seeing as the character is not only important to, but also a break out hit in, the Guardians Of The Galaxy canon, it is assumed that Mantlo would be proud of his creation's recent endearment with the world. After his own private screening of last weekend's smash hit, there was only one thing Mr. Mantlo could do to signal his approval: he gave the film his biggest thumbs up.
Courtesy of the official Bill Mantlo Facebook group, the following message from his brother, Michael, was broadcast:
*What an incredible day for Bill Mantlo! Marvel hooked Bill up with a private viewing of Guardians Of The Galaxy, and my wife Liz and my beloved cousin Jean assisted Bill throughout, enabling him to sit back, relax and relish in the awesomeness of what is going to be, in my humble opinion, Marvel's greatest and most successful film ever! Bill thoroughly enjoyed it, giving it his highest compliment (the big thumbs up!), and when the credits rolled, his face was locked into the hugest smile I have ever seen him wear (along with one or two tears of joy)! This was the GREATEST DAY OF THE LAST 22 YEARS for me, our family, and most importantly, Bill Mantlo!"
Of course, given the stories swirling around Marvel's supposedly poor treatment of Mantlo and co-creator Keith Giffen, Guardians Of The Galaxy's success and how Bill Mantlo could benefit have come into question. However, as far as Michael Mantlo is concerned, Marvel Studios has actually been doing a really good job. In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Michael stated that Marvel had been more than generous with the exact rights agreement pertaining to Rocket, and not only have they been donating towards Mr. Mantlo's medical care, they also arranged for his screening to be held in his room at the nursing care facility!
Bill Mantlo, the man who helped create Rocket Raccoon, got his own front row seat to watch the raccoon he helped bring to life become one of the full fledged Guardians Of The Galaxy, and he loved what he saw. Despite his condition, he found bliss in watching something he helped make grace the screen and was as entertained by the character as much as the audiences that packed into theaters this past weekend were. It's beautiful when cinema can help you escape the ordinary and everyday, but it's even more so when it brightens up someone's life to the extent that it has with Bill Mantlo.
If you want to donate to Bill Mantlo's medical expenses, you can go here to make a donation. You can also send checks, cards, and letters to Michael Mantlo directly at the following address:
Mike Mantlo 26364 East Pintail Road Long Neck, DE 19966