Last month, in my introduction to the Looking Back review of the first Carrion, I speculated as to the whereabouts of former Marvel scripter Bill Mantlo. Just after the publication of that issue, I was set straight by top-notch author, editor and fellow PPPer, Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith's news was very grim. It seems that the reason Bill Mantlo has not been scripting is that he had a severe auto accident that put him in a coma for a while and left him with brain damage.
This is very sad news. Not just on a human level (By that I mean it is always sad when such tragedy hits, no matter who the person.), but on a personal level as well. I never met Bill Mantlo but his stories are a big part of my life. In the mid to late seventies, of all the comics I read, I most looked forward to Bill's comics. His Iron Man issues with Midas and Madame Masque, his Hulk issues with the U-Foes, his Marvel Team-Up stories with the Wraith and Jean DeWolfe, his Peter Parker stories with Carrion. Upon hearing this news, I felt like I was hearing of the awful fate of some old, long unseen, but very dear friend. Even if I did hear several years too late.
And that's a point to consider, isn't it? In that Looking Back intro, I talked about Bill being one of the great underappreciated talents in comics. Unless I'm the only one who didn't know about it (which could certainly be so), it is sad to see that Bill's accident remained as unknown as much of his work. Can you imagine such a dreadful thing happening to such people as Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Stan Lee, Peter David, or Roy Thomas and NOT hearing about it? It would surprise me if it were so.
Let us, therefore, put Bill back in the forefront of accomplished comic book scripters. Let's give him his due and let's remember him in our prayers. Better late than never. He deserves it of us.