Welcome to part 13 of
In which we see the Human Fly hanging onto the wing of a jet for dear life…
This week I start on a rather unique journey where the two ongoing threads that have been winding through my recreation of The Human Fly, that of the story of The Human Fly and the real life events of Bill Mantlo, the writer of The Human Fly comic finally come together.
The parallels between the Human Fly's origin and Bill Mantlo's real life tragedy are impossible to ignore and it makes perfect sense that the comic book depiction of The Human Fly's origin should be depicted in contrast to Bill Mantlo's real life events and here we will finally start to see why…
Let's Start with The Human Fly's origin in the words of Bill Mantlo himself (from his essay "The Making of a Hero" as seen earlier on this blog)
"It began some six years ago in a head-on car crash on a lonely road near Ashville, North Carolina. A young man driving the first car was seriously injured. His wife and children were killed instantly and he, on being rushed to hospital, hung for days between life and death... fighting inwardly to survive, summoning all his will in a fierce desire to live"
And now from Bill Coffins Tragic Tale , Bill Mantlo's real life tragedy…
"On Friday, July 17, 1992, Bill left work early for the weekend, and made his usual three-mile rollerblade journey through Brooklyn traffic to his apartment near Morningside Park. Just four blocks from home, a car came around a corner and hit Bill. The left side of Bill’s head impacted the windshield. He rolled across the hood of the car, and the right side of his head impacted the pavement. The driver never stopped and was never identified.
The accident jostled Bill’s head so violently that his brain squashed against the inside of his skull, and his brain stem severed. This did not paralyze him, but it would make it very difficult for Bill’s body—particularly his extremities—to accurately receive and process electrical messages from his brain."
And we will now alternate between these two stories to continue
The Human Fly:-
"Two Weeks later, this man, broken in body, was taken off the critical list. It was said that he would remain a cripple for the rest of his life."
"Bill spent the next two weeks in a coma at Saint Luke’s hospital in midtown Manhattan, after which he remained in critical care for another two months. During this time, he was still on a ventilator and a feeding tube, as his brain was too damaged to tell his body how to swallow or breathe."
The Human Fly:-
"In the months and years to come, this young man underwent countless operations, financed by the father of the driver of the second car. These operations replaced a substantial amount of the skeletal frame with steel, seeking to supplant scientifically what the body itself was no longer capable of recreating. Doctors still remained skeptical of his chances of ever walking again, though he had regained some power of movement. For this young man, such an existence was a living hell. It was more than he could accept... and he was determined to prove his doctors wrong - or die trying."
"Bill’s memory was shattered by the accident, though he was aware of what had happened to him, and he had a sense of how grievously he had been injured. Throughout his early rehabilitation, Mike says, Bill was consumed with rage, both at the state of his own health, and that whoever had hit him had successfully fled the scene. This made him combative during rehabilitative therapy sessions. He was still quite fit and strong enough to resist therapists physically, which became a problem and prevented Bill from making much progress."
Here is the page of the comic recreated in its entirety:-
Rather than to try and just tell you my own thoughts on this I think it is best for you the reader to draw your own Parallels and conclusions about these two stories which will conclude Next Week, join me then!
Next Week: Parallels concludes