The sad state of Bill Mantlo

As a kid, I was a big fan of Marvel Comics, as any self respecting kid should be. In those days, Bill Mantlo was a writer for a number of Marvel titles; he was perhaps best known as the creative force behind a toy-based comic series called The Micronauts drawn by my favorite comic artist, Mike Golden. (Mantlo also did some work on Spider-Man, The Hulk, ROM, Howard the Duck and an obscure favorite of mine, The Human Fly.) I was nosing around on the web (not looking at porn) and came across this report on the very tragic turn Mantlo’s life has taken. He left comics, became a lawyer (that’s not the tragic part) and suffered a devastating brain injury in a hit and run accident. He now sounds barely functional and his brother has had a aggravating battle with insurance companies while trying to maintain Bill’s health. Sad stuff.

Bill is gaunt, almost skeletally so. His skin is pale and pasty, the product of getting very little time outside. His short hair is lank and unwashed. His teeth are yellow and have not been properly cleaned in some time. He turns 60 on Nov. 9, 2011, but he looks more like 80.
The victim of a closed-head brain injury from nearly 20 years before, Bill cannot move from his wheelchair to his bed without help, nor can he feed himself, go to the bathroom or conduct any other kind of normal physical activity unaided. He can move his arms, but the fine motor control in his hands is very poor. He needs someone else to put his glasses on for him, and when he wants to take them off, he can only drag his hands across his face and let the glasses clatter to the floor.

A nice appendage to the article is this collection of comic covers of some of Mantlo’s work. It really reminds me how much I enjoyed comics back in the day.

1 Response to “The sad state of Bill Mantlo”

  1. John Saleeby

    I see guys in that kind of shape at work all the time. I remember that asshole Bill Maher saying that we should just let people like that die. Fuck Bill Maher.

    But I feel really bad about hitting Mantlo and driving away like that. I had been drinking and I was afraid I’d get in trouble!

    I felt obliged to make a joke after getting all grouchy about Bill Maher. Maybe I should have a few drinks and go driving around Maher’s neighborhood. I read somewhere that he lives in Bel Aire . . .