So who is this Human Fly?
Created by Bill Mantlo, and based on the real life adventures of daredevil Rick Rojatt, the Human Fly series ran from 1977 to 1979 and is not to be confused with the equally obscure Spider-Man villain of the same name (although even Spider-Man himself got the two mixed up).
That tangential Spider-Man connection is the only reason I sought out this little known oddity, because issue one actually features a cameo from Spider-Man himself and I was hellbent on reading every single scrap of paper that bore the image of ol' Webhead.
The series was a strange one; it's more like an action movie than a superhero comic, usually revolving around a main set piece (issue one revolves around a daring plane heist) with a heavy humanist bent. The Human Fly is a former invalid, a racing driver crippled and horribly scarred after an accident, and through sheer force of will (and extensive metal-grafting) rehabilitated himself. Now, along with fighting criminals and terrorists, he performs stunt shows to raise money for charities. Issue two has him crossing paths with another stuntman/superhero, Johnny Blaze, AKA Ghost Rider.
The supporting cast includes a double amputee war veteran, with hooks for hands, and his main antagonist through the book's limited run was an intrepid reporter, desperate to uncover the Human Fly's secret identity, which is a bit of a dick move considering Fly's extensive charity work.
The books strong push to raise awareness for the disabled and philanthropy is something I don't expect to be given much focus in the movie, given it is being adapted for screen by Tony Babinski, Cirque Du Soleil’s in-house historian. Where do you think the focus is going to be; fundraisers or acrobatics?
Eisenberg-Fisher Productions, based out of the Paramount lot, will produce with Steven Goldmann (Trailer Park of Terror) poised to direct. It would be easy to dismiss this as just a biopic, based on the life of Rick Rojatt and not the Marvel series, but Brewer and Goldmann specifically obtained the rights to the comic book. Clearly Marvel Studios had no real urge to hold onto this property, which must be a great shame to the tens of people hoping to see an Avengers/Human Fly crossover.
I would honestly settle for The Avengers making an appearance at one of the Fly's charity shows with an an over-sized cheque. Picture it: Glorious, isn't it?
EDIT: It turns out the rights ARE for the real life Human Fly, there was obviously some confusion in relaying the information. Slashfilm cleared the air when talking directly to the director himself, they report:
"[He] described his intent to create a period piece that focuses both on the Human Fly and the man who “created” and promoted him. Goldmann wants to make a movie that incorporates real footage as it exaggerates some of the weirder aspects of the story, for a film that could have echoes of Catch Me if You Can and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind."
So that's that. Oh well, it was a nice little delusion we had going there...