A couple of posts back I mentioned that I had contributed some artwork to a special gallery show. Floating World Comics (Portland, OR) hosted a show with artwork featuring the 1980s Marvel Comics cult classic, ROM, SPACEKNIGHT. With over 100 artists contributing all-new images, this event marked the largest collection of Rom artwork ever!
The person for whom this show was created for is Bill Mantlo, the original writer of Rom and scores of other Marvel Comics in the 70s & 80s. Bill was the victim of a hit & run accident back in the 90s as he was rollerblading in New York. He suffered a major head trauma and has never been fully functional again. His brother Mike has been his caretaker ever since. This auction will be used to raise money to aid in Bill's care. Jason Leivian, the owner of Floating World Comics, created the idea for the gallery show out of his sheer love for the work of Bill Mantlo, particulary Rom, Spaceknight. Rom was a toy robot action figure that Bill was able to turn into a 70+ issue Marvel property!
So when I found out about this event I absolutely had to submit a piece. Now that the gallery show is over, Jason is putting all the pieces on Ebay to allow everybody to purchase the artwork. Looking at some of the pieces, I am amazed by the variety of work. Even Walt Simonson created a piece, and it's a beauty. It's getting some really good bids, too. Bill Mantlo is going to directly benefit from his creation. Not the ideal circumstances, of course, but any comfort that can be provided to the man is worth pursuing.
My first exposure to Bill's work was in 1975, with Marvel Team-Up #39. The story opened with Spider-Man talking to a young Puerto Rican kid on a rooftop. The boy was tending to his pigeons when an assassin's, meant for Spider-Man, stikes one of the birds. As a young Mexican-American kid myself, I appreciated the little bits of Spanish that Bill worked into the boy's dialogue. Bill continued for another year or so on that book but worked on numerous characters throughout his career. He created the story for The Human Fly, the real-life Canadian stuntman who approached Marvel with idea of creating a comic book series based on his exploits. Bill's idea was that the Fly was involved in a fatal car accident that killed his wife and children, leaving him a cripple. But through sheer willpower, he eventually made himself walk again. He decided to adopt the identity of the Human Fly as a means of inspiring others like himself to walk again, to live again.
Maybe we'll have a Human Fly benefit show one day.
In the meantime, please check out the Rom artwork at Floating World Comic's Ebay sellers page. My original inked drawing is up at auction, which also inlcudes an 11x17 color print. Whichever artwork you buy is fine, because you'll be getting a unique piece of Rom art and most important, Bill Mantlo will be recieving some extra help this Holiday Season.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Knight.