“My name is Bill Mantlo. I want to go home.”
Writer Greg Pak has set up a page to take donations for former comic book writer Bill Mantlo, who has long been suffering from injuries caused by an auto accident.“Bill Mantlo has had a huge influence on me as a writer and reader,” Pak said. “His Micronauts stories blew my mind as a kid and his Incredible Hulkrun laid the groundwork for the themes I explored my five-and-a-half year run with the character.” Money donated through the site goes directly to Mike Mantlo, Bill’s brother, for Bill’s ongoing care.
Bill Mantalo, a prolific writer for Marvel during the ’70s and ’80s has been living in a Queens, New York, nursing home for the past 19 years due to being the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
On Friday, July 17, 1992, he had been making a three-mile roller-blade journey home when a car came around a corner and hit him. The left side of his head impacted the windshield, he rolled across the hood of the car, and the right side of his head impacted the pavement. The driver never stopped, and unfortunately wasn’t identified.
The accident severed his brain stem. and while he wasn’t paralyzed, it made it very difficult for his body—particularly his extremities—to accurately receive and process electrical messages from his brain. For a time he was on a ventilator and a feeding tube, as his brain was too damaged to tell his body how to swallow or breathe.
Marvel’s “fill-in king,” who co-created Cloak & Dagger and penned titles like ROM, Micronauts and The Incredible Hulk, hasn’t been able to write since 1995. The last personal entry in his journal, dated Feb. 14, 1995, begins, “My name is Bill Mantlo. I want to go home.”
The care needed to save Mantalo’s life cost more than $1 million, according to his brother Mike. Mike became Bill’s legal guardian once Bill could no longer make decisions for himself. Since the accident there have been constant fights with care facilities and the CIGNA, the group health insurance provider matched with Bill through The Legal Aid Society.
Mantlo turned 60 on Wednesday, but is said to be gaunt and pale condition, and is described as looking closer to 80. He lacks mobility and labors to speak; he has a history of violent outbursts as a result of the injuries that the accident caused.
When Mantlo’s health-insurance provider wouldn’t cover the long-term care it deemed necessary, Mike was forced to sell off the majority of his assets so he could qualify for Medicaid. His collection of toys and memorabilia, his comic books,and the vacation cottage he once owned with his wife are now gone.
An article in National Underwriter Life & Health magazine, titled “Tragic Tale,” recounts his career at Marvel, where he wrote more than 500 issues, until his assignments dried up in the mid-’80s. It also touches upon his work as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society, and the bitter divorce that preceded the hit and run.