Human Fly (comics)

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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.

Publication history[edit]

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.[1] 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[edit]

Richard Deacon[edit]

Human Fly
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 10.jpg
Cover to Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10, 1976. Pencils by Gil Kane, inks by John Romita.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10 (1976)
Created by Len Wein, Bill Mantlo, and Gil Kane
In-story information
Alter ego Richard Deacon
Team affiliations Savage Six
Notable aliases Fly
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 coerced the scientist into saving his life. Overhearing an offer Jameson made with Stillwell to fund the creation of a new super hero, Deacon insisted he be the subject of the experiment. Stillwell imprinted the genetic coding of a common fly onto Deacon, empowering him and healing him of his bullet wounds. Deacon killed Harlan Stillwell and used his newfound powers to further his criminal ambitions. He first used Jameson as bait to get revenge on Spider-Man, but due to his inexperience he was no match for the web-slinger and was defeated.[2]

It was some time later when the Fly began to display fly-like tendencies (like eating garbage). This later developed into a fully physical mutation which made him eventually look like a humanoid fly, including antennae and facet eyes.[3] Sometime later, the Fly attacked Spider-Man after Spencer Smythe had handcuffed him — along with Jameson — to a bomb. The Fly hurled the two from a rooftop and left them for dead. Once freed from the shackle, Spider-Man tried to stop the Fly from stealing an art exhibit, but the villain knocked him down and escaped. Soon afterwards, however, the police caught the Fly using S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment.[4]

Traveling to San Francisco, the Fly sought out Dr. Karl Malus, a criminally inclined scientist. Malus planned to augment Deacon's powers with a blood transfusion from Spider-Woman. The Fly attacked her unsuccessfully. Malus then suggested that he kidnap her associate, Scotty MacDowell. Spider-Woman followed the Fly to Malus' headquarters and, after a brief fight, defeated him. Afterwards, Malus used some of the Fly's DNA to temporarily mutate Scotty into the similarly powered Hornet.[5]

The Fly subsequently battled Moon Knight, leaving the hero temporarily paralyzed, and again tried to seek revenge against Jameson and Spider-Man.[6] Partnered with the Black Cat, Spider-Man once more defeated the Fly.[7]

Over time, Deacon's mutation increased. After escaping from a mental institution, Deacon was killed by Scourge of the Underworld (who was disguised as a sanitation worker) while trying to take revenge on Spider-Man.[8]

The Human Fly was later among the eighteen criminals, all murdered by the Scourge, to be resurrected by Hood using the power of Dormammu as part of a squad assembled to eliminate the Punisher.[9] He 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.[10] The Fly, now craving human flesh (which he prefers over eating garbage), 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.[11] After the Fly spews acid on the woman, Punisher assaults the Human Fly. Punisher uses his knife to cut one of Human Fly's wings in half. Before he could land a final blow on Human Fly, 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 did regenerate rather quickly.[12] He battled the Punisher again with Letha and Lascivious, and is defeated when the Punisher throws him into Lascivious.[13]

The Human Fly is apprehended by Agent Venom,[14] 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.[15] Human Fly is later recruited by the third Crime Master to become a member of his Savage Six.[16]

Human Fly (superhero)[edit]

Human Fly
Human Fly 1.jpg
Cover to issue #1 of The Human Fly, September 1977. Art by Al Milgrom.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
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.[17] 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.[18]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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[edit]


  • 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.


  • An Indie film based on the superhero Human Fly is in development.[19]


  1. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #86
  2. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Annual #10
  3. ^ Spider-Woman #30
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #192-193
  5. ^ Spider-Woman #30
  6. ^ Moon Knight #35
  7. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #86
  8. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #276
  9. ^ Punisher vol. 7 #5
  10. ^ "Comic Book Resources: Human Fly". 
  11. ^ Punisher vol. 7 #7
  12. ^ Punisher vol. 7 #8
  13. ^ Punisher vol. 7 #9
  14. ^ Venom vol. 2 #15
  15. ^ Venom vol. 2 #16
  16. ^ Venom vol. 2 #17
  17. ^ The Human Fly at Rocketman Enterprises
  18. ^ Shooter, Jim. Back Issue #20 (Jan. 2007).
  19. ^