Angry at Marvel for Rocket Raccoon creator's plight? Not so fast

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Feb 26, 2014, 12:22 PM EST (Updated)

Some fans blame Marvel Comics for not doing enough to help a creator who's fallen on hard times, but those close to that creator say the publisher isn't at fault.

Last week we told you the tragic story of Rocket Raccoon creator and once-prolific comics writer Bill Mantlo, who was the victim of a hit-and-run crash in 1992 and has struggled with brain damage and other complications ever since. Mantlo continues to be under the care of his legal guardian and brother, Mike Mantlo, and the rest of his family, but the cost of his care is rather hefty, so in the wake of all the attention Guardians of the Galaxy is getting, a new campaign -- led by, among others, comics writer Greg Pak -- has emerged to donate funds to Mantlo's ongoing care. It's a great cause to contribute to if you've ever enjoyed Mantlo's comics or the characters he helped create, but apparently it's generated a bit of a misunderstanding.

In the week or so since a new wave of awareness of Mantlo's situation began to spread, a number of fans have apparently approached Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn and Mike Mantlo with questions about Bill Mantlo's relationship with Marvel Comics, apparently under the impression that the publisher has denied the creator funds he deserves. Some fans have apparently made Marvel a villain in this story, so to set the record straight, Mike Mantlo took to Facebook to explain that the problem has never been with 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 future, so that BILL MANTLO WILL RULE FOREVER!"

Gunn reposted Mike Mantlo's statement to his own Facebook page on Monday, and assured fans of his continued support of Bill Mantlo. So, while we should definitely continue to help a great comic-book creator out, it seems anger at Marvel Comics is misdirected. 

To find out more about how to donate to the ongoing care of Bill Mantlo, check out our earlier post here

(Via James Gunn)