While audiences packed theaters over the weekend, propelling Guardians of the Galaxy to a record $94 million North American opening, Marvel arranged a private screening of the film for Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo.
Long known as Marvel's "fill-in king," the prolific writer of such comics as ROM: Spaceknight, Micronauts and Cloak & Dagger suffered irreversible brain damage in 1992 after being struck by a car. Now 62, Mantlo lives in a nursing facility, where he was able to watch Guardians of the Galaxy on a laptop with his brother Michael, Michael's wife Liz and their cousin Jean.
"Bill thoroughly enjoyed it, giving it his HIGHEST COMPLIMENT (the BIG 'THUMB'S UP!')," Michael Mantlo wrote Sunday on the Bill Mantlo Facebook group, "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!"
There are more photos of Bill Mantlo and his family on the Facebook page, including pictures of the writer winking (above), draped in a Rocket Raccoon shirt, and giving the thumbs up. Michael also posts a shot of the film's end credits, which feature the line, "Rocket Raccoon created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen."
Michael also singled out David Althoff, Marvel's principal counsel, and David Bogart, senior vice president of business affairs and talent management, for setting up the screening. "Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge (with all the legal & security protocols that needed to be breached)," Michael wrote, "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!"
Anyone who wishes to contribute to Bill Mantlo's care can do so through the "Donate" button on Greg Pak's website. Cards, letters and donations can be sent to:
Mike Mantlo26364 East Pintail RoadLong Neck, DE 19966Checks should be made out to Michael Mantlo, Bill's legal guardian