promotional image of Mantlo from
1978 Marvel Comics Calendar
|Born||William Timothy Mantlo
November 9, 1951
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
|Notable works||Micronauts, Rom|
|Awards||Eagle Award, 1979|
William Timothy Mantlo (born November 9, 1951) is an American comic-book writer, primarily at Marvel Comics, best known for his work on two licensed toy properties whose adventures occurred in the Marvel Universe: the Eagle Award-winning Micronauts and the long-running Rom. An attorney, he also worked as a public defender. Mantlo was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in 1992 and has been in institutional care ever since.
Education and early career
Bill Mantlo was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the oldest of three sons of William W. and Nancy Mantlo. Growing up as a comics fan, Mantlo attended Manhattan's High School of Art & Design. In college at the Cooper Union School of Art, he focused on painting and photography. Following his graduation, Mantlo held various civil servant positions and worked as a portrait photographer.
A connection with a college friend in 1974 led Mantlo to a job as an assistant to Marvel Comics production manager John Verpoorten. Mantlo's first credits were as a colorist, as he worked on several issues that appeared between October 1974 and April 1975. Soon afterword, Mantlo wrote a fill-in script for a Sons of the Tiger story in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, which led to a permanent writing position on that title. While scripting Deadly Hands, Mantlo and artist George Pérez created White Tiger, comics' first Puerto Rican superhero.
Around this time, Marvel's then editor-in-chief Marv Wolfman instituted a policy to avoid the many missed deadlines plaguing the company. The policy was to have fill-in stories at the ready, should a titles be in danger of missing its deadline. Mantlo quickly became the "fill-in king", creating stories under very tight deadlines, many of which did find their way into print. By the mid to late 1970s he had written issues of nearly every Marvel title.
Later, he became a regular writer at Marvel, notably for the licensed properties Micronauts and Rom, also known as Rom: Spaceknight. On Christmas Day 1977, Mantlo's son Adam opened a new present, a line of the Mego Corporation's Micronauts action figures. Seeing the toys, Bill Mantlo was instantly struck by inspiration to write their adventures. Convincing then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to get the comics license for these toys, Mantlo was hired to script their series. Mantlo and Michael Golden (the artist on Micronauts) took a few bits of colorful plastic and built an entire (subatomic) universe around them, with its own history, mythology, personalities, and even an alphabet. Ultimately, the Micronauts comic won the 1979 Eagle Award for Favourite New Comic Title.
Other notable work included the creation of the superhero pair Cloak and Dagger, and well-regarded runs as the regular writer on The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Alpha Flight.
By the mid-1980s, he enrolled in law school. Though he continued writing for Marvel, his workload began to decrease due to disputes with management. He wrote briefly for DC Comics in 1988, scripting the Invasion! miniseries. By this time he had passed the bar exam, and in 1987 began working as a Legal Aid Society public defender in The Bronx.
On July 17, 1992, Mantlo was struck by a car while rollerblading. The driver of the car fled the scene and was never identified. Mantlo suffered severe head trauma. According to his biographer, cartoonist David Yurkovich, in 2006, "For a while Bill was comatose. Although no longer in a coma, the brain damage he suffered in the accident is irreparable. His activities of daily living are severely curtailed and he resides in a healthcare facility where he receives full-time care." In 2007, Yurkovich released the benefit book Mantlo: A Life in Comics, with all proceeds from the book donated to Mantlo's brother and caregiver, Michael Mantlo, to help toward the costs of maintaining Mantlo's care. In addition, on December 6, 2007, the Portland, Oregon, comic-book shop Floating World Comics sponsored "Spacenight: A Tribute to Bill Mantlo", an art show consisting almost entirely of various artists' interpretations of Rom, to help raise funds for Mantlo's care. Throughout December 2010, Floating World Comics sponsored "Spacenite2", also featuring artists' interpretations of Rom, with all proceeds going to Mantlo's care. and an art auction at the end of December 2010
- Alpha Flight #29–67, Annual #1–2 (1985–1989)
- Amazing Adventures (Killraven) #33, 38 (1975–1976)
- The Amazing Spider-Man #181, 222, 237, Annual #10–11, 17 (1976–1983)
- Astonishing Tales #32–35 (1975–1976)
- Avengers #174, 188, 206–207, 210, Annual #9, 12 (1978–1983)
- Champions #8–17 (1976–1978)
- Cloak and Dagger (1983–1984 mini-series) #1–4, (1985–1987 ongoing series) #1–11
- Daredevil No. 140 (1976)
- Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #7–14, 16–27, 29–32 (1974–1977)
- Defenders No. 30 (1975)
- Fantastic Four #172, 182–183, 193–194, 216–218, Annual No. 13 (1976–1980)
- Howard the Duck (comic book series) #30–31 (black-and-white magazine) #1–9 (1979–1981)
- Incredible Hulk #245–313, Annual #10–13 (1980–1985)
- Iron Man #78, 86–87, 95–115 (1975–1978)
- Jack of Hearts #1–4 (1984 mini-series)
- Marvel Preview #4, 7, 10, 22, 24 (1976–1980)
- Marvel Team-Up #38–51, 53–56, 72, 134–135, 140, Annual #1, 6 (1975–1984)
- Marvel Two-In-One #11–12, 14–19, 21–24, 47–48, 99 (1975–1983)
- Micronauts #1–58, Annual #1–2 (1979–1984)
- Rawhide Kid #1–4 (1985 mini-series)
- Rocket Raccoon #1–4 (1985 mini-series)
- Rom #1–75, Annual #1–4 (1979–1986)
- Sectaurs #1–8 (1985–1986)
- Spectacular Spider-Man #6, 9–10, 12–15, 17–34, 36–40, 42, 53, 61–89, 104, 120, Annual #1, 4 (1977–1986)
- Swords of the Swashbucklers #1–12 (1985–1987)
- Thor #240–241, 309 (1975–1981)
- Transformers #1–2 (1985)
- Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1–4 (1982–1983 mini-series)
- X-Men #96, 106 (1975–1977)
- X-Men and the Micronauts #1–4 (1984 mini-series)
- Seitz, Lee K. "Bill Mantlo", Rom Spaceknight Revisited! (fan site). Accessed Feb. 2, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- Comics Buyer's Guide #1636 (December 2007); Page 135
- "Micromails: Meet the Micro-Makers: Bill Mantlo," Micronauts No. 7 (Marvel Comics, July 1979).
- Bill Mantlo interview, BEM: The Comics News Fanzine #24, July 1979, via InnerspaceOnline.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- "The Micronauts: Gil Kane Thinks Small", Amazing Heroes #7, December 1981, via InnerspaceOnline.com. Accessed Feb. 15, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- Kelly, Dave "Mantlo Wants Cloak and Dagger Back! Bill Mantlo's Fall From Grace" Amazing Heroes No. 156 January 1, 1989 Fantagraphics pp. 48–50
- Mantlo, Bill. "To the Editor: Grand Juries Can Defend Rights of the Accused", The New York Times, January 19, 1990. Accessed Feb. 15, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- Johnson, Dan. "Marvel's Toy Story: Rom's Sal Buscema and Micronauts' Jackson Guice: A 'Pro2Pro' Interview", Back Issue #16
- Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins", Iron Man No. 148 (July 1981) and other Marvel Comics titles published that month.
- Hatcher, Greg. "Friday with David Yurkovich", Comic Book Resources, October 27, 2006. Accessed Feb. 2, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- "Helping Legends Directly The Hero Initiative Retrieved November 24, 2010
- "Spacenight: A Tribute to Bill Mantlo", Floating World Comics, November 13, 2007. WebCitation archive
- "Spacenite2: A Tribute to Bill Mantlo"
- "Spacenite 2 – Fundraiser Auctions for Bill Mantlo" Floating World Comics December 22, 2010
- Bill Mantlo at the Comic Book DB
- ComicBookRealm.com: Bill Mantlo (archived here)
- Wikia: Marvel Database: William Timothy Mantlo
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
- Sleeping Giant Creations: BILL MANTLO BENEFIT PROJECTS (archived here)
- Howling Curmudgeons: A Tribute to Bill Mantlo (archived here)
- The Hulk Library: Tribute to Bill Mantlo (archived here)
- Summit Business Media: National Underwriter Life & Health: Tragic Tale (archived here)
- Summit Business Media: National Underwriter Life & Health: Make Mine Mantlo (editorial based on "Tragic Tale")
- Summit Business Media: National Underwriter Life & Health: 9 of Bill Mantlo's Best Comic Covers
Roger Slifer & Len Wein
|Iron Man writer
|Iron Man writer
(with Gerry Conway in early 1977)
Bob Layton & David Michelinie
|Howard the Duck writer
Peter B. Gillis
|Incredible Hulk writer
|Alpha Flight writer
James D. Hudnall