After a record-breaking opening weekend, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy movie is on track to be one of the biggest hits yet for Marvel Studios. Tragically, though, it seemed unlikely that the creator of one of the flick's stars would get the opportunity to see his comic book form brought to life onscreen...
That ridiculously cool raccoon with the machine gun who blew your mind in that Guardians of the Galaxy footage was created in 1976, by Bill Mantlo. I mean, seriously, in other superhero news Batman is going to meet Superman, and yet it's the talking raccoon we all can't wait for. Mantlo, you did everything right...
Horrifically, though, Mantlo was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 1992 and was left in a coma from which he was eventually recovered, but not without irreparable brain damage. As a result, Mantlo now resides in a healthcare facility.
Because of his severe debilitative condition, it was impossible for Bill to make it to the theater to see his creature, Rocket Raccoon, come to life. So, what did Marvel do? They brought the movie to Mantlo in digital form, so that he could join in the excitement and celebration of the movie which his vision helped to create.
His brother, Michael Mantlo, commented:
*****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 “THUMB’S 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!
The gentlemen that made it possible for Bill to see his creation, ROCKET RACCOON, come alive in “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, Marvel Attorney David Althoff (far left) and Marvel VP David Bogart (center). Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge (with all the legal & security protocols that needed to be breached), but these two FINE MEN made it happen, and Bill had the HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE! I will NEVER be able to thank them enough for all that they have done for Bill!
Damn you, Marvel. You know, you're making it really hard for me to maintain my cynicism.
Did Bill Mantlo's Marvel story touch you?