Readers of my blog will recall the various posts I've written previously about the Fly, the real-life, costumed Canadian stuntman who appeared in his own comic book published by Marvel Comics from 1977-1979. The entire 19 issue series was written by Bill Mantlo, one of my favorites.
Well, there's a whole new comic book featuring the return of The Human Fly....
The rights to the character are now owned by Human Fly International Inc., comprised of a filmmaking trio who are making a movie based on the true-life story behind the Human Fly! Screenwriter Tony Babinski, director Steven Goldmann and producer Alan Brewer have commissioned a new series of Human Fly comics, and the first issue is debuting this weekend at San Diego Comic Con.
Producer Alan Brewer (L) and Editor-in-Chief/cartoonist Michael Aushenker at San Deigo Comic Con.
My good friend Michael Aushenker, cartoonist extraordinaire, was contacted by Team Fly to put together the first issue of NEW ADVENTURES OF THE HUMAN FLY and he's pulled off quite a feat. Michael was able to secure new artwork from some of the artists who worked on the original book: Bob Layton, Steve Leialoha, Don Perlin and Al Milgrom, who drew the cover for the first issue of the original series:
And....I was able to contribute a pin-up myself!
Originally, I was slated to illustrate one of the stories, but unfortunately, due to an extremely busy workload at the time, I had to withdraw. However, I was able to produce this image, which of course I was happy to do.
While I wasn't able to commit to the deadline for drawing a story, my schedule eventually cleared up somewhat and I was able to work on the production of the actual book. That meant getting all the pages the artists had produced and formatting it for the printer. I worked with Michael on designing the cover, as well as the overall layout of the book. The filmmakers collaborated as well, so the final book represents a team effort worthy of the Human Fly.
A fan of the Fly from the first issue back in 1977, it was pretty exciting to work on the new book, some 36 years after the fact. Opening the files as Michael forwarded them to me, seeing new Fly artwork by some classic Marvel veteran artists, was surreal. And of course seeing the new stories as they were completed was fun, too.
It's interesting when you work on a property you were such a fan of as a child...
Earlier this year, I was working on the planning of the San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo (which was organized by the Nuvein Foundation), and I had the idea to bring the Fly into the mix. Michael had produced two new paintings of the Human Fly, and I asked him if he'd let me use one of the paintings for the official poster for the Comic Book Expo. He was delighted, so then I secured permission from the Human Fly International group and...Ta-Dah!
Far as I know, it's the only time the Human Fly has ever been used on a comic book convention poster, so this was a cool stunt to pull off!
I'll be joining the promotion of the book for an LA signing, so stay tuned to my blog for info on that.
In the meantime, check out this vintage promotional video on the real-life Human Fly: