Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Five Million Dollars!

Welcome to part 5 of

And no, that is not a ransom demand by Dr Evil from the "Austin Power's" Movies…

But one from a lot more of a mercenary, quite literally who is responding to a question from someone who looks like Peter Parker in this next recreated page:-
So if you remember from last week, Clay Lacy dropped the apparent real life name of the alter ego of the real life Human Fly as being Rick Rojatt

Well over the next few weeks, we will look into what could be said to support that - the article about Clay Lacy just mentions it as an accepted fact, there is no mention of actually having seen Rick Rojatt in part costume or any other statement that could back up the connection between these two people

The first appearance of Rick Rojatt I have found, actually appears in the letters page of The Human Fly issue 3 (which incidentally features the shark being hit on the nose by the Human Flys baton from the cover of issue 1 in more detail) in a letter from Mitchell Cojocarin - who says:-

"Dear everybody, I just got done reading the fantastic first issue of HUMAN FLY, and I really enjoyed it! Keep up the good work (you, too, Mr Rojatt) and keep 'em FLY ing!"

To which the reply was

"Mr. Rojatt?"

Admittedly that seems a bit trivial until one considers that the Human Fly himself both wrote letters that was published in the letters page and met Bill Mantlo and visited the Marvel offices in person (all of which we will see later)

But even the most causal look on the internet for Rick Rojatt turns up a ton of web sites - all to do with The Human Fly

But it appears (at least as far as I can see) one link between the Human Fly and Rick Rojatt was made by none other than Jim Shooter who actually became editor in chief in the middle of the Human Fly run

As per "Rick Rojatt's" Marvel wikia entry:-

"The character was based on real-life stuntman Rick Rojatt. The comic-book series carried the tag line "The Wildest Super-Hero Ever — Because He's Real!", and photographs of someone in a Human Fly costume appeared in the comic books. Jim Shooter, Marvel's editor-in-chief at the time, said in 2007 that the photos were indeed of Rojatt."

His real name is given in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Hardcover Vol. 13."

But then - if you excuse the expression - there is a fly in the ointment with regards to this, that fly being none other than Jim Shooter again who in a Human Fly feature in Tomorrows publishing Back issue 20 who appears to contradict himself:-

"Yes, the editorial people met him, and some of us, at least, knew his secret identity, though I can’t remember it.”

So we will have to look elsewhere for an answer as this by no means definitive and we will continue this next week…

As before I would like to remind you all that the following appears with very kind thanks and much appreciation to Bill Coffin

You can read the entire article here and of course it comes highly recommended

Take it away Bill Coffin!

"After graduating from the Cooper Union School of Art in 1973, Bill scored an internship at Marvel. He started as a gofer and soon began working as a colorist, which was not glamorous, but it got him into the trade.

At that time, comics were produced on an assembly line: a writer wrote a 17-page script which went to a penciller, who would follow the script to draw the panels in light blue non-repro pencil. Then the pages went to an inker, who went over the initial art, cleaning it up and adding light and shadow with black ink. Then it went to a colorist, who would paint the panels and send the page to a letterer, who would hand-write every word of dialogue and exposition. As a rule, the process worked fairly well unless the writer missed the deadline, at which point the whole show would grind to a halt.

In the early 1970s, Marvel was plagued with writers who regularly missed deadlines. Comics rarely came out on time, often running a full month late (or more). This had become a huge problem for Marvel because at the same time, comic sales had shifted from general newsstands to direct-sales specialty shops that would order issues in advance. Not knowing when or if a certain issue would be in was cause to withhold orders, and Marvel was feeling the hurt in a big way from that.

Bill’s big writing break came in 1974, when a writer had missed his deadline for an issue of Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu. Bill offered to write the issue on the spot, and quickly turned in a script that saw publication and landed him a gig writing Deadly Hands full-time. Deadly Hands was a minor title on the verge of cancellation anyway, but Mantlo did not care, and he took the job, and its deadlines, seriously.

Shortly afterward, Marvel mandated that all ongoing titles would have fill-in stories written in advance and held in reserve just in case the regular writer blew a deadline. Many of these fill-in jobs went to Bill, who became known for his utter reliability and a knack for turning out stories quickly, even overnight. Most of the titles he worked with were minor ones, like Deadly Hands, but eventually he got a chance to work on larger titles, such as Marvel Team-Up, Iron Man and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. At the same time, he also became the go-to guy for writing stories for properties Marvel had licensed, such as movie and television adaptations."

NEXT WEEK: The "Quest" for Rick Rojatt continues and yet more Tragic Tale!

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