Bill Mantlo, best known as the co-creator of characters like Rocket Raccoon and Cloak & Dagger, has been in failing health for decades, and his family is asking the fan community to step up and help them take care of his medical needs. Mantlo, who has been taking care of his brother for years, has set up a GoFundMe to help him crawl back out of a nearly $100,000 hole. Mantlo made headlines when Guardians of the Galaxy came out because his brother Michael and filmmaker James Gunn worked with Disney to bring an early copy of the film to the institution where Mantlo lives, so that he could see Rocket's big-screen debut early. In 2016, when the Arrowverse shows adapted Invasion! -- a story Mantlo worked on for DC Comics -- producer Marc Guggenheim worked with ComicBook.com to auction a signed scriptbook from the crossover event to benefit Mantlo's family.
Mantlo was injured in a hit-and-run accident in 1992 and has needed round-the-clock care ever since. Since comic book professionals -- especially at the time Mantlo was at his peak -- earn little or nothing in the way of benefits, the brunt of the medical expenses falls on his family. His brother Michael has set up the Bill Mantlo Support Fund, at Bill's official website, but the GoFundMe is likely a way of attracting more immediate attention for a more pressing need.
"My big brother is, and has been, permanently disabled for the last 27 years, and I willingly accepted the responsibility of being appointed his caregiver all those years ago," Mantlo writes on the GoFundMe page. "I have been attempting to bring my brother home from the nursing home he has been placed in for the last 10 years. It has been a difficult struggle, filled with numerous pitfalls and obstacles, but I gave my word to him that I would do everything in my power to make it happen so that he could live out the rest of his life with dignity, and peace. It has become painfully obvious to me in the last few months that the powers that be will not let that happen. As for me, being retired and living on a fixed income, this ordeal has become a financial nightmare. I have nearly bankrupted myself in my attempts to build a home for my brother, and arranging for his necessary care. The reimbursements from his money sources don't come anywhere near covering all that I have sacrificed for him from my own funds. I have been playing credit card roulette in order to finance everything I've done for him, and now it has overwhelmed me. I am nearly $100,000 in debt, and the piper is demanding payment."
Mantlo's plight usually makes an impression around the time of a Guardians movie, but there is not one of those on the horizon for a while since James Gunn has to finish shooting The Suicide Squad before he starts Volume 3. If you are so inclined, head on over to GoFundMe and help make life a little easier for Bill and Michael Mantlo.
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