Talking To Michael Mantlo About Bill, Marvel And Rocket Raccoon

rocketBill Mantlo, the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon, was the victim of a hit and run a number of years ago and was left with severe brain damage and in need of constant care.

In recent days, Greg Pak has announced a number of fundraising projects to help pay towards the healthcare costs of Bill Mantlo, and many creators and fans have joined in, including Bleeding Cool, who managed to get the story on the front page of Reddit.

But some took this as an opportunity to berate Marvel Comics for not looking after a man who created many concepts and characters for Marvel, as Rocket Raccoon was set to earn them a billion from the from the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy movie. Anyone who has seen the trailer can recognise the appeal of the incongruously tiny furry creature against the hard attitude of the war he rages, the same on the screen as it was thirty-five years ago.

And that's without the Rocket Raccoon toys which rocked last week's Toy Fair and blew apart NYCC last year, with queues lasting for the whole show to get one of the thousand selling for $50. I remember seeing Dan Buckley, Marvel President, specifically cutting in line to get two before they sold out.

But in recent days, Michael Mantlo, Bill's brother and legal guardian has spoken out against this, telling people

"FOLKS, FOLKS, FOLKS…..please, enough of the hating on Marvel. Marvel has compensated, is compensating, and will continue to compensate Bill well into the future for anything that he's entitled to compensation for. Please don't spread false or malicious rumors, gang. Bill's relationship with Marvel is EXCELLENT, and I wish for it to continue to be so. And all the false or exaggerated "facts" being tossed around about his accident (he was NOT in a coma for "years", and the family was NOT put into financial ruin or destitution, among other WRONG "facts"). Yes, Bill was the victim of a horrible and tragic accident. Blowing everything out of proportion does no one any good. You guys (ALL OF YOU) have been a Godsend to Bill for these past 22 years by keeping his name & reputation alive, and by continuing to champion my cause of helping him improve his quality of life in whatever way I can, and I thank you ALL sincerely for that. Please, let's try some positive energy for the fu! ture, so that BILL MANTLO WILL RULE FOREVER!"

Bleeding Cool spoke to Michael Mantlo further. Some asked what seemed to be a dichotomy, if Marvel was doing its duty, why was further fundraising necessary? Mantlo told me.

First, there are very strict confidentiality clauses in place in contract negotiations/settlements with Marvel/Disney, as with ANY large corporate entity.  Therefore, the details of any contract that has been negotiated are to be known only to the parties involved.  Period.  While I sympathize with people wanting to know how these matters (which are none of their business) have been negotiated and settled, I am prevented by law from revealing those details.  I can only state, again, that Bill was treated in an exceptionally fair manner by Marvel/Disney, and on his behalf I can say with the utmost confidence that we are very pleased with the negotiated contract.  And, unbeknownst to ALL, Marvel has made incredibly generous gestures apart from this particular contract (which ONLY pertains to the rights to the character Rocket Raccoon) to assist in Bill's ongoing care & rehabilitation.

And I understand that includes the toys as well as the movie.

That being said, there will ALWAYS be a need for continued fundraising.  Apparently you are unaware of the astronomical cost for Nursing Facility/Medical care in this country.

And that's where we are. Marvel have stepped up and are doing their bit, but more is needed, and that's where the fans and fellow professionals can come in. I've made my donation, I'd like you to consider doing the same.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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