Back in 1977, I bought this comic book at my local 7-11:
The cover immemdiatley caught my 11 yr. old eyes. The title, the red/black and white color scheme, the heroic figure bursting out the cover, the montage of death-defying images, the ominous blurb about "From the shadow of the grave...". And most of all, the bombshell announcement screaming along the top proclaiming the Human Fly to be REAL!!
According to the editorial by the book's writer, Bill Mantlo, the Human Fly was indeed a real-life costumed stuntman. Marvel had been contacted by the Fly to create a comic book in his name. The origin of the comic character told of a car accident that had left it's victim crippled. But through sheer determination to conquer his living-death, the man walked again and dedicated his life to inspiring others to overcome their own handicaps. He became the Human Fly! That seemed perfectly logical to me, then and now!
One of the most prolific comic creators at the time, Bill Mantlo, wrote all 19 issues before the book was cancelled. Probably due to lack of sales (dammit!). Several artists worked on the book, including Frank Robbins and Lee Elias. Mantlo, revered among a large group of us aging comic geeks, gave the Human Fly a strong sense of justice and determination. Every issue the Fly would be performing a stunt in a different city, usually for charity of course! Some crime would always be committed near the event so the Fly would naturally get involved and kick some butt! That series remains one of my absolute favorite comic runs of all time. To me, that proves the power of the magic of comics on a young kid, least in the 'olden days'.
As a kid, I would start looking through the papers daily, searching for articles about the Fly's appearances. I would watch the sports broadcasts for any mention of the Fly's death-defying stunts. Me, who normally couldn't be bothered with sports, spending time to track down the Fly! But, I never did find any mention of the Fly.....
But thanks to the most modern techological advances known to man, the other day I found a few rare pics of the Human Fly! The one, true REAL Super-Hero!
There's only a few scraps of info about the Human Fly that I've turned up on the net. His real name is Rick Rojatt, a Canadian. But other than that, no one seems to be able to claim what eventually happened to him.
Well, I'll just say that as a kid, the Human Fly left a big impression on me. Not only do I think he was one of the coolest looking characters around, but he showed me that one can fight their way back from the most crushing defeat and reach for the gold! He made me believe a man can FLY!!