Below you'll find Bill Mantlo's synopsis on the character's origin.
The Making of a Hero!
Who is The Human Fly?
A tentative explanation by Bill Mantlo
The Human Fly is me. He's also you and millions of other people you've encouraged every day of your life since the day you were born. The Human Fly is a concept, an idea. The truly wondrous thing about him, though is that he's real! We said that on the cover, we said it on the title page, and folks, we meant it!
You may have read of his exploits, featured in newspapers and on TV from Montreal, Canada to Milano, Italy. You may have heard, with a sense of awe and wonderment, of a young Canadian who was hoisted to the top of DC-8 jet aircraft which proceeded to take off on a 200-MPH flight over the burning Mojave Desert...with the Human Fly still standing up top!!
You may have heard and dismissed it as impossible - but it happened pilgrims! The Human Fly is real!
It began some six years ago in a head-on car crash on a lonely road near Ashville, North Carolina. A young man driving the first car was seriously injured. His wife and children were killed instantly and he, on being rushed to a hospital, hung for days between life and death...fighting inwardly to survive summoning all his will in a fierce desire to live. Two weeks later this man, broken in body, was taken off the critical list. It was said that he would remain a cripple for the rest of his life.
In the months and years to come, this young man underwent countless operations, financed by the father of the driver of the second car. These operations replaced a substantial amount of his skeletal frame with steel, seeking to supplant scientifically what the body itself was no longer capable of recreating. Doctors still remained sceptical of his chances of ever walking again, though he had regained some power of movement. For this young man, such an existence was a living hell. It was more than he could accept...and he determined to prove his doctors wrong - or die trying.
The determination grew. He would strain to rise, to move from his bed. So aggressive did his actions become that doctors were forced to sedate or strap him down out of fear he would harm himself. Realising that this was proving counterproductive, he calmed down, lulling his doctors into a sense of security that he had at last accepted
his irreversible condition...
...while every night, under cover of darkness, the victim of an accident that would have left most others dead or paralysed for life began to secretly exercise his unresponsive body...until it became responsive, until it became his body once again...and perhaps something more than it had been before.
Four years later, the man sat up in bed, then stood, then walked...to the amazement of his doctors who had long since given him up for lost.
It was then that this victim determined to supply the motivation, the hope to the disabled of the world that they could rise above their disabilities, they could triumph over infirmity, they could succeed...for, hadn't he?
He knew the world, knew that if you wanted to reach people with a message you had to do it flamboyantly, colourfully. He remembered tales of the daredevils of the Depression Era, the 1930's when flagpole-sitting or a walk up the side of a skyscraper or the exploits of a super escape-artist would excite the imagination of millions...give hope to those without hope...raise them above the crushing problems of everyday life for one brief shinning moment so that they would see, for themselves, that anything is possible if you just dare too try! He knew that he had been spared a living death for just that purpose.
The Human Fly was born!
The stunts began. He walked atop high-flying jets going at speeds man had never before dared unprotected. He spoke of fighting man-eating sharks, of death-defying races. He kept his identity secret because he wanted to be identified as 'every-man'...not as a lone glory-seeking, self-serving individual. Money raised by his stunts was all turned back into charity, into research so that cures might be found for disabled people the world over.
His stunts were spectacular, but so was the coverage in papers all over this continent and Europe. His analysis had been correct. Colour demanded attention - and got it! Drama hooked the media and, though they concerned themselves with the spectacle, the flamboyance...the message , the reason behind the Fly's exploits came through.
And people reading of him from hospital beds, or wheelchairs, or in Braille - or even normal people suffering a sense of helplessness in a world grown too big, too impersonal for them - began to sit up, to open their eyes, to take notice...to find hope.
He became the "space-age Daredevil", the living bionic man, compared to Captain America or Spider-Man in media presentations throughout the world.
"I've never been terrified or scared in my life", said the Human Fly. "And I'm not fighting to walk to the bank with millions of dollars for myself. I'd like to make millions for the kids!"
Comics, as we all know them, have been pressing that kind of glorious altruism for decades, and no one but wide-eyed kids or adults who regretted leaving childhood goals in the face of the harsher realities of life would agree with them. Until the Human Fly.
"I've got 50,000,000 kids out there depending on me I've got a lot of people to support...youngsters in hospitals struggling against cancer, polio, cerebral palsy or whatever. I've got a lot of people to support."
"And this is my way of doing it!"
And we couldn't agree with the Fly more.