Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Parallel - Part Two
Welcome to part 14 of
In which we continue the examination of The parallels between the Human Fly's origin and Bill Mantlo's real life tragedy as started Last week
The Human Fly's origin is continued n the words of Bill Mantlo himself (from his essay "The Making of a Hero" as seen earlier on this blog):-
"The determination grew. He would strain to rise, to move from his bed. So aggressive did his actions become that doctors were forced to sedate or strap him down out of fear that he would harm himself. Realising that this was proving counterproductive, he calmed down, lulling his doctors into a sense of security that he at least accepted his irreversible condition...
...while every night, under cover of darkness, the victim of an accident that would have left most others for dead or paralysed for life began to secretly exercise his unresponsive body... until it became responsive, until it became his body again...and perhaps something more than it had been before."
And now from Bill Coffin's Tragic Tale, Bill Mantlo's real life tragedy…
"Both Adam and Corinna visited their father regularly while he was at Gaylord, and they could see that he was becoming ever more angry and distraught at his condition. During one visit, Bill asked Adam and Corinna to kill him. After that, neither could bear to see their father in person again, confining contact to letters and telephone calls.
Three months later, CIGNA declared there was nothing more to do and informed Mike coverage would cease. Mike argued that his brother was still progressively recovering, and that even though some of Gaylord’s therapists refused to work with Bill, the family was assisting with therapy. Mike would visit Gaylord every weekend. Bill’s mother Nancy would sit with him and go through speech therapy. Bill’s father William would visit three times a week to assist with physical therapy.
And the work was paying off. Mike recounts that by November 1992, Bill regained his ability to speak and could sit up in a wheelchair. He was no longer on a ventilator or a feeding tube, and his family could even take him out to dinner. Bill could now read a menu and place his own order, and it could be understood by the wait staff."
And we will now alternate between these two stories to conclude:-
The Human Fly:-
"Four years later, the man sat up in bed, then stood, then walked... to the amazement of his doctors who had long ago given him up for lost."
"Bill arrived at Meadowbrook in 1994. Mike describes it as a “very small, very intense” rehabilitation center where Bill made progress in both speech and vocational therapy during the first few months. Bill recovered to the point where he was able to type at a computer and maintain his concentration long enough to begin writing once more. He started keeping a journal in which he recorded random creative thoughts as well as some personal reflections. During one therapy session, he even produced a two-paragraph short story for one of his doctors about an invasion from Mars."
Bill Mantlo remains at Queens-Nassau this very day, he never fully recovered.
Here is the entire comic page as recreated by my hand:-
To my mind, and I hope this is the right thing to say - the depiction of The Human Fly's origin in a way represented everything that Bill Mantlo believes in, and believes in strongly, that hope was always found in inspiration and it was down the individual to provide that inspiration by setting an example by being a hero themselves, by believing in themselves and their strength of will and becoming something larger than life in the cause of inspiring as many people as possible, Bill becoming a lawyer for the underprivileged underlines this
Bill Mantlo wants more than anything else to have been in the incredibly lucky position that The Human Fly is shown in, where he gets out of the hospital bed and goes on to be something more, it is the strength of Bills beliefs and conviction that keep him going but also made it so difficult for him just after the accident.
Bill Mantlo is still the same person inside, but he is trapped inside a body that no longer can respond and one can only guess at the frustration he feels
Yet in many ways his story is richer and more meaningful than the Human Fly's ever was, and not just because it happens to be the truth, but more because Bill is completely identifiable as a complete human being, the tragedy is his accident could have happened to anyone, not just some flamboyant risk taker
Bill Mantlo needs a hero, and he has a real life one in the shape of his family, in particular his brother Mike, who help him make the best of his life.
The Human Fly's origin may well be fiction, but one thing is for sure his motorbike crash at Montreal Olympic Stadium was very real and so was his reaction to that event and this is exactly where I will pick up from Next week!
If any of you wanted to help Bill Mantlo, please go to Greg Pak's site here Where you can donate via paypal