Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Wildest Super-Hero Ever!

Back in 1977, I bought this comic book at my local 7-11:

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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'.

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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!

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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.

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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!!

6 comments:

Jason Martin said...

Cool costume!
I don't think I've ever seen this comic before, even though it came out just before or around the same time I got into the Marvel Comics scene...
And it's based on/around an actual person/story!!!
Seems similar to other new Marvel titles of that era, licensed etc.

And how cool, that you could research it through the magic of the internet now, but alas without any current info...

The tales of The Fly remain untold true believers!!!

Javier Hernandez said...

If I ever had the chance, I would actually love to be able to track down the Human Fly and create a new comic book story for him! As long as Marvel didn't own the copyright on the name and costume....

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I'm from Montreal, Canada and I remember the Human Fly in the late 70's when he made is record breaking rocket powered motorcycle jump at the Olympic Stadium. He was also invited to a dinner time TV show on a french network called "Madame est servie".

I also remember seing a picture of him on top of a DC-8 in a newspaper.

I found your blog since I was reserching stuff about the Human Fly.

Cool stuff!

Yan

Montreal, Canada

Valentín VN RecCo said...

Thank you for the information.
It helped me to publish my own post.

Do you have information about Rick Rojatt?

Javier Hernandez said...

Valentin

Thanks for posting. Always glad when people find this post!

I don't have any other info on the Fly (although the rumors of ties to Canadian crime families piss me off!)

I like the post you wrote on your blog..pretty extensive. And thanks for linking to my articles.

Javier

Valentín VN RecCo said...

Thanks to you!
The next post will be there the next week. I would be delighted, knowing that someone that appreciates the series will be reading it.

Ties to Canadian Crime Families? Oh, Boy! I hope not!