23 Feb 2014

Marvel man in need

Unless you're a die-hard fan of comics, you may not have heard of Rocket Raccoon just yet, but by this time next year you'll probably own the action figure. The first trailer for Marvel's latest superhero franchise film, Guardians of the Galaxy, appeared online this week – and many expect its break-out star to be the gun-toting, wise-cracking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper.


Marvel's most recent movie, Thor: The Dark World, has passed the $200m (£120m) mark at the US box office, and the studio could earn up to a half a billion more from Rocket and co when Guardians is released in August. The character was originally created in 1976 by Bill Mantlo, but Marvel's ownership of the title means Mr Mantlo will not benefit directly from the movie's anticipated success.

That fact is all the more poignant because Mr Mantlo – once one of Marvel's most beloved contributors – has been seriously disabled since a hit-and-run accident in 1992. His family has struggled to pay his medical bills, and thanks to the vagaries of the US healthcare system, he now lives in unsatisfactory long-term care at an assisted-living facility in New York.

The Independent 

Bill Mantlo was a legendary writer for Marvel Comics in the 1970s and 1980s. But today, he inhabits a broken body abandoned by both the health insurance industry and the federal healthcare reform meant to help people like him. This is his story on Tragic Tale.