I’m sure a lot of people who keep up with comics news are familiar with Bill Mantlo, the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon who has been hospitalized since a 1992 hit-and-run left him severely brain-damaged, but still present. There was some concern prior to the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie that Mantlo would receive little from Marvel despite the nearly assured success of the film, but it appears that Marvel has made several gestures of late to assuage that fear. Either way, it is clear that Mantlo’s care is an expensive, ongoing process that does put some strain on his loved ones.
There have been a few charitable sites set up to collect donations for Mantlo’s care, one of the more prominent ones being an effort by fellow comics writer Greg Pak. I would urge any of you who enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, or just Rocket Raccoon for that matter, and who are financially capable to simply research this case and consider a donation if you feel moved to do so.
There have been many comics industry writers and artists like Bill Mantlo who have led difficult lives of pain or poverty because of ambiguous stipulations in their contracts or the fact that they relinquished their rights to their own intellectual properties out of desperate need for pay. I am not pointing any fingers or calling the comics industry itself a bad guy, but it is worth knowing that there are many people out there who lent their creative blood and sweat to creating the superheroes we love who have relatively little to show for it. And what would our superheroes have us do at a time like this? Let it be said we care for our own.
I hope to donate some myself when I am able. Keep Bill Mantlo in your thoughts when you go see Guardians of the Galaxy, and check out The Bill Mantlo Project on Facebook.