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Cybersix was a series of
Argentine comics created by Carlos Meglia and Carlos Trillo. The comic first
appeared in 1992 as part of the Italian version of the magazine Skorpioafter the publisher came to them to produce a
new strip for the book. It was
published as a weekly series of 12-page stories beginning with Anno
XVI #22, later collected into special
editions. In 1994, it was spun off into its own 96-page comic that ran for 45
issues until it was cancelled in 1999. The whole series was published by Eura
Editoriale, and was subsequently translated into Spanish and released in Argentina
Globo Editor and Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, and a French translation
done by Editions
Cybersix vs. Von Reichter's creations.
series centered on the title character, Cybersix (or Cyber-6, Cathy Weseluck),
who was a genetically engineered human created by former Nazi scientist, Dr.
Von Reichter (Terry Klassen, also one of the show’s writers). The Cyber series
looked like ordinary humans, but possessed superhuman strength and agility.
However, when the Cyber series proved too resistant to his commands, he ordered
the entire line of 5000 to be destroyed. Only Six was spared, saved by one of
the African slaves Von Reichter kept. They lived as father and daughter until
Von Reichter had them hunted down and he was killed. Six made her way to Meridana
where she took the place of a young boy, Adrian Seidleman, that recently died
in a car wreck with the rest of his family. An earlier version of the concept
had Six disguising herself as a man to become a police officer after her father
had been killed.
Von Reichter and his Fixed Ideas.
Reichter, however, had not been idle. From his lab in the Amazon he worked on
his other creations: the Fixed Ideas, which resembled large Frankenstein’s
monster-like beings and performed his grunt work; the Data series, which
resembled animals; the Techno series, the more human-like and more loyal
upgrade to the Cyber series; and the Type series, which were a further
advancement over the Technos. At night, Cybersix would hunt down these
creations in the city not only to disrupt Von Reicther’s dreams of world
conquest, but to vampirically drain them of the life-giving fluid called
“Sustenance” she needed to survive. By day, she would continue to live as
Adrian, now a high school literature teacher and friend to science teacher
Lucas Amato (Michael Dobson), with whom a mutual infatuation developed.
Cybersix confronts Von Reicther amongst his creations.
Two things influenced the creation of Cybersix. One was the case
of Mario and Elsa Rios; a wealthy couple who had some of Elsa’s
embryo’s frozen (which was a new innovation at the time) before both died in a
plane crash in 1983. The heirs to their estate wanted those embryos destroyed
so as to eliminate any chance that they could claim part of it, which inspired
Trillo to wonder what would have happened if the embryos instead fell into the
hands of a scientist who sought to create life.
Cybersix facing her Adrian persona.
other inspiration came from Portuguese writer Fernando
Pessoa, who had created seventy-five distinct names that he
wrote under. That led to the theme of duality that ran throughout the Cybersix series as many of the
characters had a completely different side to them. In Six’s case, it was her
time as male literature teacher Adrian. For Lucas, not only was he a science
teacher, but also a journalist.
The comic became popular enough to attract the attention of television
producers. In Argentina, the comic was adapted into a live-action television
series in 1995. Produced by Patagonik TV Group and Television
Federal, the show starred model Carolina Pelleritti in the title role.
Unfortunately, the series was poorly received and was quickly cancelled after
only eight episodes. Shortly after the cancellation, a friend of Meglia’s, Alejandro
Dolina, told him of a Canadian producer looking for a cartoon project. The
pair sent off several scripts and a sample pilot Dolina crafted on his
computer. A deal was struck and the show was taken on by Network
of Animation (NOA) Productions.
Jose, a Hitler in the making.
new pilot was created by TMS
Entertainment in order to shop the series to networks.
The show was picked up by Teletoon
in Canada and the full series was put into production. TMS stayed on as the
primary animation facility and reincorporated parts of their pilot into the
show’s intro and scenes within the episodes. Teiichi Takiguchi
served as the character designer and kept the look of the show close to
Meglia’s art style; from Six’s white-less eyes to the rectangular patches
representing hair. However, he did simplify their appearances a bit to make
them easier to animate.
A vial of Sustenance.
While the show largely followed the main plotline of the comics, some
changes had to be made for consumption by western audiences. The level of
violence was considerably toned down. Meglia worked with the producers for
several days to come up with an alternative for Six’s vampiric feeding on
Sustenance and came up with the idea that Von Reichter’s creations carried
around vials of the stuff on their person and dissipated after Cybersix
defeated them. Von Reichter’s Nazi affiliation was kept ambiguous, although it
manifested itself in the clothing and movements of his son and right-hand man,
Jose (Alex Dodusk). Jose’s origin was changed from being an age-retarded clone
of Von Reichter, and the sexual libido Von Reicther gave him to keep him too
distracted from revolting against him was removed. Lori (Janyse Jaud), the
student in Adrian’s class that was infatuated with him, was changed from a
highly promiscuous thug to be a smarter, computer-literate thug. Lucas was no
longer a journalist, and his obsession with learning about Cybersix was curbed
to make him appear as less of a crackpot conspiracy theorist. The show also
left more open for the audience to interpret, whereas the comic explained
everything including Cybersix’s outfit coming from one of Von Reichter’s
creations posing as a prostitute.
Cybersix and Data-7.
Cybersix debuted on Teletoon
on September 6, 1999. While casting the show, the producers were uncertain
whether to cast a male actor for the Adrian role or not. After Cathy Weseluck
auditioned for Six, Julian and Jose, they decided she could pull off both and
cast her in the lead role. Producer Koji Takeuchi served as one of the
series’ writers, along with Judy Valyi, Barry
Whittaker, Andrew D. Hammell, Jono
Howard, Catherine Girczyc and Michael
Van Lane. The series’ beginning and ending themes were composed by series
composer Robbi Finkel with lyrics by
Robert Olivier and vocals provided by jazz singer Coral Egan who sang it in the first
person. Finkel was hired by the producers after hearing his composition for a
showing of Cirque du Soleil.
A second season of 13 episodes was planned, but production ended after
the first season when there were internal disagreements between the production
companies. The show was translated into several languages and broadcast around
the world, eventually finding its way to the United States on Fox
Kids. Debuting on August 19, 2000, the show was even further toned down by
the network; particularly the intro, which was cut in half in order to remove
most of the instances of violence depicted. Even so, it drew
controversy over its content and characters due to its being shown so early in the
morning between two far more kid-friendly programs: Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescueand Digimon: Digital Monsters. This mature tonality was the particular reason
producer Herve Bedard wanted to make the
show, because he believed that young adults would be the new niche audience to
target with animation. Unfortunately, said target audience wasn’t as likely to
be up as early and the show was pulled from FOX’s schedule after
only 10 episodes aired.
Lucas reassures Cybersix he's never seen Dark Angel.
Cybersix the series ended on a
cliffhanger, Cybersix the comic
managed to bring its story to a conclusion before its cancellation. Cybersix had a second controversy during
2000, as Meglia and Trillo sued James Cameron
and FOX over their show Dark
claimed that the show stole most of the plot and recognizable elements from the
comic. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was never resolved as they couldn’t afford to
pursue it. The lawsuit likely led to the heavy and unpopular changes made in Dark Angel’s second season, which
ultimately led to its cancellation.
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