Marvel Screens 'Guardians of the Galaxy' for Hospitalized Rocket Raccoon Co-Creator

Tom Butler
Senior UK Writer

There’s only one place to see Guardians of the Galaxy right now and that’s in cinemas. However, Marvel has broken its own rules to allow Bill Mantlo, the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon, the chance to finally see his character, voiced by Bradley Cooper in the film, brought to life.

[Watch: The Guardians Cast Audition for Groot]

The author who, together with artist Keith Giffen, created the wise-cracking Rocket Raccoon in 1971, has been in institutional care since 1992 following a hit-and-run accident. His brother, Michael Mantlo, revealed that Marvel attorney David Althoff and VP David Bogart had paid Bill a visit in hospital with a copy of the film on a laptop for a private screening.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mantlo

He posted this message on Bill’s Facebook page.

*****WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DAY FOR BILL MANTLO*****! Marvel hooked Bill up with a PRIVATE VIEWING of “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, and my wife Liz and my beloved cousin Jean assisted Bill throughout, enabling him to sit back, relax and relish in the AWESOMENESS of what is going to be, in my humble opinion, Marvel’s GREATEST AND MOST SUCCESSFUL FILM EVER! Bill thoroughly enjoyed it, giving it his HIGHEST COMPLIMENT (the BIG “THUMB’S UP!”), and when the credits rolled, his face was locked into the HUGEST SMILE I HAVE EVER SEEN HIM WEAR (along with one or two tears of joy)! This was the GREATEST DAY OF THE LAST 22 YEARS for me, our family, and most importantly, BILL MANTLO!

He later added:

The gentlemen that made it possible for Bill to see his creation, ROCKET RACCOON, come alive in “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, Marvel Attorney David Althoff and Marvel VP David Bogart. Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge (with all the legal & security protocols that needed to be breached), but these two FINE MEN made it happen, and Bill had the HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE! I will NEVER be able to thank them enough for all that they have done for Bill!

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Bill suffered a traumatic head injury while rollerblading 22 years ago, and the driver of the car involved in the incident fled the scene and has never been identified. Bill suffered severe brain damage and has been hospitalized ever since.

In 2007, a benefit book Mantlo: A Life in Comics was released in celebration of his work at Marvel writing The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and of course the creation of Rocket Raccoon, one of the stars of this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Proceeds from the book help towards the cost of maintaining the writer’s care. Marvel also set up a deal with the family to allow some proceeds from the box office takings to help support him too, as his brother revealed to Bleeding Cool earlier this year.

Bill was treated in an exceptionally fair manner by Marvel/Disney, and on his behalf I can say with the utmost confidence that we are very pleased with the negotiated contract. And, unbeknownst to ALL, Marvel has made incredibly generous gestures apart from this particular contract (which ONLY pertains to the rights to the character Rocket Raccoon) to assist in Bill’s ongoing care & rehabilitation.

For more information on making donations for Bill, click here.

Guardians of the Galaxy is in cinemas now.

Image credit: Marvel/Greg Pak/Facebook/Bill Mantlo Fans