Where the Hell is Bill?

Bill Mantlo’s not dead
though his career sure is.
After the hit and run back in ninety one,
he cracked his head,
left less eloquent than the Hulk,
Bill wouldn’t be writing any more comics.
He’d been winding down for years,
working as a lawyer
– he couldn’t sue who’d hit him, though;
dude sped out, like Quicksilver.

Dig: this guy, Bill,
he was one of Marvel’s most prolific
in the seventies and the eighties.
At his height,
he was scripting eight titles a month.
"Deadline looming?
Call the Fill-In King.
Mantlo’s got ya covered."

He wrote Spidey and Skull,
Alpha Flight and Iron Man.
He collaborated on toy brand titles
like Rom and Micronauts.
Bill created Cloak & Dagger
and Rocket Raccoon
and was in on the first fucking limited series
Marvel ever put out.

And now Mantlo’s out of the business.
Brain trauma from decades ago
leaves it hard for Bill to speak a sentence
let along draft a direct market pitch.
He’s left the game
as he ages in a facility
somewhere by the water.

the thing about Mantlo?
He wasn’t very good.
He was a serviceable scripter at best
capable of stringing together some basic concepts
with a lot of lousy elocution.
When the Grim and Gritty Eighties gathered steam,
it was to sweep away old stuff
like Old Bill there.

It’s a shame:
Bill rots away.
Mantlo’s not the man he once was
and it’s a shame his many comics
are mostly forgotten
but it’s good that he’s gone.
His loss?

Our gain.
Bye, Bill.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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