Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Greatest Death-Defier of them all!

Welcome to part 2 of 

Where we get treated to a First Fantastic Issue cover courtesy of Al Milgrom…

In which we see the fly performing no fewer than 4 death defying feats:-

We see the Fly hanging upside down from a helicopter…

Walking a tightrope across a very high edge right next to a waterfall…

Hit a shark across the nose with his baton, while underwater…

and stand on top of a jet plane as it hurtles along at speed…

Only 2 of these things will actually unfold within the contents of issue one, so this a rare example of a cover showing you what is also yet to come… in the comic at least

But out of these things, which if any of them happened for REAL (as the cover copy implies…)?

Before we can look into that, let's start from the beginning by asking the fundamental question - Was The Human Fly Real?

The Human Fly Comic book was licensed from Human Fly Spectaculars Ltd…

A quick search on the internet shows that this company did exist …

On Friday, July 30, 1976, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for THE HUMAN FLY by HUMAN FLY SPECTACULARS LTD.-LES SPECTACLES DEL L'HOMME VOLANT LTEE, LEONARD,QUEBEC HIR 1R9. The USPTO has given the THE HUMAN FLY trademark serial number of 73095118. The current federal status of this trademark filing is EXPIRED

and it lists as


Also a little bit more of search turns up a scan of the filing for Human Fly Spectaculars Ltd

And as you can see the picture in the filing is almost the same pose as the the corner box drawing from the cover…

That aside we have already made our first connection between the comic and real life, namely The Human Fly being "strapped to a flying aircraft"…

Which is where we will start looking into a bit more in-depth, next week…

Last week, you read Bill Mantlo's very own words on The Human Fly and I remarked upon the parallels between Bill's real life story and the Human Fly's possibly more fictional one

I will cover at a later point at which point those parallels converge but for now… in researching for The Human Fly I came across a simply stunning and poignantly written article about Bill Mantlo which sums up everything so well it is a article which deserves to be shared

Its is also, unsurprisingly an article which has won awards and rightly so

So with very kind thanks and much appreciation to Bill Coffin, over the course of this project I will be quoting parts of Bill Coffins"Tragic Tale"

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

Take it away Bill Coffin!

"Tragic Tale
Bill Mantlo was a legendary writer for Marvel Comics in the 1970s and 1980s. But today, he inhabits a broken body abandoned by both the health insurance industry and the federal healthcare reform meant to help people like him. This is his story.

The neighborhood of Far Rockaway, Queens, N.Y. is the picture of urban blight, a crammed mixture of public housing blocks, shuttered storefronts, brownfields and small churches in what used to be homes. Most of the fences are topped with razor wire. Large piles of garbage lay scattered on broken sidewalks. The most recent sign of commercial development is a billboard advertising $300 divorces. No spouse signature required.

Tucked away on Beach 19th Street is the Queens-Nassau Rehabilitation Center and Nursing Home, a bare-bones geriatric and head-trauma facility. Small and tightly quartered, its halls are partially blocked by old, frail-looking patients wearing ragged clothing. 

Bill Mantlo is one of them. At first glance, there is nothing to suggest that he is different from his fellow patients, nothing to suggest the unusually high-profile career he once had, the near-fatal car accident that ended it, or his tortuous transit through the healthcare system from the outside world to Queens-Nassau. And certainly nothing that would point out how his life’s remarkable reversal of fortune illustrates not only some of the worst deficiencies of modern healthcare, but of the effort to reform it, as well.

Bill is gaunt, almost skeletally so. His skin is pale and pasty, the product of getting very little time outside. His short hair is lank and unwashed. His teeth are yellow and have not been properly cleaned in some time. He turns 60 on Nov. 9, 2011, but he looks more like 80…"

NEXT WEEK:- Join me as I look into the "Airplane walking" Human Fly for real and we see more of Bill Coffins seminal "Tragic Tale"

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