Human Fly (comics)
The Human Fly is the name of two comic book characters in the Marvel Comics universe, one a super-villain that was an occasional antagonist of Spider-Man, and the other a superhero. Additionally, Human Fly was the title of a short-lived series in the late 1950s reprinting some of Fox's Blue Beetle strips from the 1940s. It was published by Super Comics.
The Human Fly first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10 (1976), and was created by Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, and Gil Kane. The character subsequently appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #192-193 (May–June 1979), Spider-Woman #30 (September 1980), Moon Knight #35 (January 1984), Spectacular Spider-Man #86 (January 1984), and Amazing Spider-Man #276 (May 1986), in which he was killed by the Scourge of the Underworld. The story of the Fly in Spectacular Spider-Man #86 was drawn by Fred Hembeck, who (in his personal caricature form) had a guest appearance in that particular issue. The Fly received an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4, and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man #1 (2005).
The superhero the Human Fly starred in Marvel Comics' The Human Fly #1–19 (Sept. 1977 — March 1979).
Fictional character biography
|First appearance||The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10 (1976)|
|Created by||Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, and Gil Kane|
|Alter ego||Richard Deacon|
|Team affiliations||Savage Six|
|Abilities||Flight, wall-crawling, super strength and agility, compound eyes|
Richard Deacon, born in Newark, New Jersey, was a small-time criminal who was shot by the police and left for dead after an unsuccessful kidnapping attempt, which was foiled by Spider-Man. Stumbling into the laboratory of Dr. Harlan Stillwell (whose brother Farley Stillwell created the Scorpion for J. Jonah Jameson), Deacon coerces the scientist into saving his life. Overhearing an offer Jameson made with Stillwell to fund the creation of a new superhero, Deacon insists he be the subject of the experiment. Stillwell imprints the genetic coding of a common fly onto Deacon, empowering him and healing him of his bullet wounds. Deacon kills Harlan Stillwell and uses his newfound powers to further his criminal ambitions. He first uses Jameson as bait to get revenge on Spider-Man, but due to his inexperience he is no match for him and is defeated.
Some time later the Fly begins to display fly-like tendencies like eating garbage. He also develops physical mutations, including facet eyes. The Fly attacks Spider-Man after Spencer Smythe handcuffed him — along with Jameson — to a bomb. The Fly hurls the two from a rooftop and leaves them for dead. Once freed from the shackle, Spider-Man tries to stop the Fly from stealing an art exhibit, but the villain knocks him down and escapes. Soon afterwards, the police catch the Fly using S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment.
Traveling to Los Angeles, the Fly seeks out Dr. Karl Malus, who confirms that his powers are fading and he will soon be powerless. Malus recommends that he get a new set of powers using a blood transfusion from another superbeing, which would most conveniently be the locally operating Spider-Woman. With his powers already at less than a third their usual strength, however, he is unable to defeat her and is apprehended. Afterwards, Malus uses some of the Fly's DNA to temporarily mutate Scotty McDowell into the similarly powered Hornet.
The Fly is freed from prison and his powers restored by untold means. He subsequently battles Moon Knight, leaving the hero temporarily paralyzed, and again seeks revenge against Jameson and Spider-Man. Partnered with the Black Cat, Spider-Man once more defeats the Fly.
Over time, Deacon's mutation increases. After escaping from a mental institution, Deacon is killed by Scourge of the Underworld (who was disguised as a sanitation worker) while trying to take revenge on Spider-Man.
The Human Fly is among the eighteen criminals that were murdered by Scourge of the Underworld to be resurrected by Hood using the power of Dormammu as part of a squad assembled to eliminate the Punisher. He now has acid vomit that can melt steel, and wings strong enough to deflect cannon fire and sharp enough to cut a dump truck in two. The Fly, now craving human flesh, devours a prostitute in a private room, and then fights a group of armed guards who burst in, vomiting deadly acid on them. When he assaults another woman in the hallway, the Punisher confronts him. Punisher uses his knife to cut one of Human Fly's wings in half. A group of his fellow criminals (disguised as Avengers from another time and place) intervene as Bird-Man manages to get the Human Fly to safety. His wing regenerates rather quickly. He battles the Punisher again with Letha and Lascivious, and is defeated when the Punisher throws him into Lascivious.
The Human Fly is apprehended by Agent Venom, but he is able to escape a prisoner transport to the Raft when the Hobgoblin attacks the transport trying to kill the Human Fly for stealing money from the Kingpin. Human Fly is later recruited by the third Crime Master to become a member of his Savage Six.
Human Fly (superhero)
Cover to issue #1 of The Human Fly, September 1977. Art by Al Milgrom.
|Created by||Bill Mantlo|
The second Human Fly was a young man of unknown identity who was severely injured during a car crash. After a long hospitalization, including a number of reconstructive surgeries in which much of his skeleton was replaced by steel, he took on the masked identity of the Human Fly. As the Human Fly, he performed daredevil stunts to benefit various charities, especially those helping children with disabilities.
His activities often drew him into conflict with criminals, who were often seeking to rob the charity events at which he performed. Additionally, he drew the attention of Spider-Man, who thought he might be the villain of the same name.
The character was based on real-life stuntman Rick Rojatt. The comic book 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 books. Jim Shooter, a high-ranking member of Marvel's editorial staff at the time of publication, said in 2007 that the photos were indeed of Rojatt.
Powers and abilities
The Richard Deacon version of Human Fly has the abilities of flight, wall-crawling, super strength, and agility. He also has compound eyes. Following his revival at the hands of Hood, Human Fly now has acid vomit that can melt steel and wings that are strong enough to deflect cannon fire and sharp enough to cut a dump truck in two. The wings soon regenerate if they are torn off.
In other media
- A different character with the same name appeared in two episodes of the 1967 Spider-Man Series.
- In the Spider-Woman episode "Spider-Woman and the Fly", a crazed scientist named Dr. Hagel became a giant fly. The Fly was able to find out Spider-Woman's alter-ego. However when he was turned back to normal, he forgot everything about Spider-Woman's true identity.
- The super-villain Human Fly made a cameo appearance on the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode "Attack of the Arachnoid". He was seen in Ryker's Island with Electro, Klaw, and Blastaar.
- Spectacular Spider-Man #86
- Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10
- Spectacular Spider-Man #86
- Spider-Woman #30
- Amazing Spider-Man #192-193
- Moon Knight #35
- Amazing Spider-Man #276
- Punisher vol. 7 #5
- "Comic Book Resources: Human Fly".
- Punisher vol. 7 #7
- Punisher vol. 7 #8
- Punisher vol. 7 #9
- Venom vol. 2 #15
- Venom vol. 2 #16
- Venom vol. 2 #17
- Nick Spencer (w), Steve Lieber (p), Rachelle Rosenberg (i). "Department of Revenge-Ucation" The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12 (4 June 2014), United States: Marvel Comics
- The Human Fly at Rocketman Enterprises
- Shooter, Jim. Back Issue #20 (Jan. 2007).
- The Fly (Deacon) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- A satirical discussion of Marvel's series on the Human Fly/Rick Rojatt