Now that Guardians of the Galaxy has taken the world by storm and racked up the biggest August debut of all time, Marvel needs to seriously consider taking care of one of their own. There’s likely a number of factors that may contribute to the fact that you may never have heard of Bill Mantlo before now, and every one of those is a major problem.
Mantlo is the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon, the scene stealing creature currently adorning t-shirts, backpacks, lunch boxes, and all manner of toys and action figures. He was the brain child of Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen, and had his own limited four-issue series in 1985 before being incorporated into the Guardians in 2008. Despite working on some of Marvel’s flagship titles like “The Incredible Hulk” and “Cloak and Dagger,” Mantlo was an underused and under appreciated commodity during his time at Marvel–never getting the respect that writers like Chris Claremont received–and parted ways with the company in the early 90s.
Tragically, he was struck by a car while rollerblading in 1992 and suffered severe head trauma. Bill’s a fighter, however, and soldiers on despite enormous medical bills, and a continued downplaying of his contributions from the biggest comic book company on planet earth.
Bill will be receiving the Bill Finger Award this year, a fitting tribute to a man whose absolutely invaluable work is by and large unknown by those enjoying the rewards of his hard work. You can help donate to Bill’s recovery by visiting this site and clicking the donate link, but it’s also time for Marvel to step up to the plate and give Bill his due. Lord knows they have 94 million new reasons to thank him today.