UPDATE NOVEMBER 3, 2020:
I found a CBR file of the magazine this article came from. You can download it here
but don't get your hopes up. There aren't any photos from the show in here. The whole magazine is in poor quality black and white and there's only two low quality photos of Carolina as Cybersix.
So I was doing a thing
yesterday that lead me to looking more closely at the scans of the Spanish version of the comic that were published in Comiqueando Magazine. I noticed that some of the files floating around online were missing the cover of some issues of the magazine some of the chapters were published in. I went looking online and found a bunch of covers from the year the comic was published (and FYI, there's a cover that has Cybersix on it that's missing from the wiki
). I looked at some of the issues that were published a few months after the comic stopped appearing and found this from May 1996
. Now, "Cybersix" + the words "TV + before 1999 clearly meant the live action tv series. I searched to see if I could download this issue somewhere, but came up with nothing, although I did learn a few things. On the Spanish Wikipedia page for Comiqueando it mentions how some of the issues have "alternate covers" which are just the back covers of the magazine if you turn it around and flip it upside down. These alternate covers don't usually turn up in image searches or on online resale sites. But I did find the alt/back cover for May 1996 and it was this.
I noticed on the Wikipedia page there was a link to Comiqueando's Facebook page, which is not only active, but says they respond in an hour. I sent a message in Spanish asking if their back issues were online because I'd like to read a specific issue for an interview and that I was trying to learn more about the live action series. They responded in English saying they used to be available, but aren't anymore, but they found the text file for the interview and sent it to me. This is the text file this beautiful, kind soul sent me.
And this is the translation I spent a day doing. It's long and reveals a ton of stuff. I was super excited to get this done to share it, so if I made any mistakes in translating, please mention it. There was a lot of what looked like local phrases, slang and idioms. Also, words like "issue", "chapter", and "episode" didn't seem to be used the same way they would be in English.
by Andrés Accorsi A NIGHT IN MERIDIANA
We’re in an alley in Meridiana. It’s not really Meridiana, but a place in Buenos Aires that doesn’t look like Buenos Aires that Cybersix’s production talent transformed into Meridiana. The truth is, for a dark and dangerous alley, there’s too much activity here: three cameras, several microphones, lights everywhere, a van from where you can monitor everything the cameras film, makeup artists, costumers, actors and even a special effects team. An episode of the Cybersix series is being filmed.
Production began* in the second half of February in Carmelo, Uruguay, where the scenes of the escape of Cybersix and Elio**, the black servant who saved her from the massacre of the entire Cyber series, ordered by the ruthless Dr.Von Reichter, were filmed. Meanwhile, in a Telefé studio and in this place that doesn't look like Buenos Aires (Excuse me, but I've been asked to keep it a secret. I can only tell you that, traveling by subway, it's just 20 minutes from the Obelisk***), the set team created several sets of Meridiana, with spectacular results, with almost nothing to envy to the Gotham City of Tim Burton's movies. A cinema, businesses, alleys, rooftops and even a television channel come to life thanks to the impressive production team that the series has. "It worked as it should work - said the director, José Luis Massa (see box) - as if we were making the Batman movie, bridging the gap. And we work with the Batman movies, with the drawings of (Carlos) Meglia, with photos of structures from Rome, which he uses a lot for his drawings. We worked a lot. With respect to the aesthetics of the series, nothing was left to chance". But my tour of the Meridiana on TV is quickly interrupted. The special effects team warns us that they’re about to blow up a car and that we have to move so we’re not in danger. In charge of the FX Stunt Team (and also responsible for the risky scenes and explosions on Poliladron
)) is Marcelo Firmano and a well-known ex-cartoonist: Fede Cueva. "We're really betting everything that this will be a success," says Fede. All kidding aside, in Argentina there's never been such a careful production and with so much respect for the comic of Trillo and Meglia". Then, another of the doubles, now dressed as Cyber, jumps a motorcycle over a car that just a second later explodes in a flash in the best Hollywood style. But it's not Hollywood, we’re still in Meridiana.
Among the group of astonished spectators, the figure of a lady in her twenties, brunette, tall, incredibly similar to Cybersix, draws attention. It's Carolina Peleritti and she agrees to speak to our little tape recorder. Go on, mobile one, from the outside.+ A tête-à-tête WITH CYBERSIX
-How did you discover the character and why did she hook you?
CP: I discover her last year, in July. I received an envelope with a Cybersix comic, the first one, which told the whole origin. José Luis (Massa) sent it to me. When I looked through it, I saw a woman who was strong, busty and naked on a lot of pages and I said "Wow, no! Another person who wants me to play a prostitute!". But when I started reading it, I really ate it up. I liked the comic, I'm not a big fan, but I liked it. And the story of Cybersix grabbed me a lot, I got caught up in the character. She's a very interesting character, even beyond the powers and being a heroine. Her story, her origin, everything seemed like a nice character to do. I realized that she's a difficult, complex character, with a lot of psychological burdens and contradictions. But of all the roles I've been offered recently, this is really the one that caught my attention the most.
-What is more difficult for you? To play a heroine, vampire, android or transsexual?
CP: The character has a little bit of all of that. When you take Cybersix you take a character that has all these characteristics. But it’s a denser story than that of other heroines, there's the background of being a laboratory creature, of being linked to the subject of the Nazis... she's much more than a woman with powers, that sucks substance and has a dual personality. That dense background is what makes it more difficult for me. The rest ... are different components of the character herself.
-I find it striking how easy it is for you to play Adrian Seidelman, especially since he's your polar opposite. You're a woman who -at least at first glance- takes the world ahead of you, and he's a shy man, full of insecurities. They’re exactly the opposite.
CP: For me, playing Adrian is a challenge, not only because of the body, but because of what happens to Cyber when she's forced to play a man. She knows that she's not a man and she has a very special complicity with the public that sees or reads her. She dresses as a man to hide and puts up that shyness as a barrier so that nobody can get in and nobody can discover her. This is the most interesting thing about Adrian’s character. And I really like doing it because in the character of Cybersix one has to enhance all that heroic stuff, of strength and powers... and I don’t have powers, for me it's more extreme to rise to the powers of Cybersix. Besides, to play Adrian, I find it less laborious to change and get into it. When I do Cyber, between the hair, the costume and the flying harness, it takes an hour.
-Do you like the way the program turned out?
CP: I'm very satisfied, I'm happy. We're doing something difficult, because putting a comic on television isn't easy, neither with the books nor with the image. We're doing our best and, being something new, something different, it's logical that it has to progress and grow so that, over time, not only the public, but also us, adapt. What you do in the first chapter isn't the same as what you do in the fourth, at least in my case.
-In some reviews they hit you and your performance very hard, even more than necessary...
CP: Yes, but I think that the criticism is a bit hasty and that they're not seeing what's being done. They hit me for what I bring, where I come from and they're not attentive to what's being done, they're thinking of something else. And I’m thinking about this, working, and I’m really happy with what I’m doing. The subject of criticism doesn’t really concern me, because I know it comes from people who don’t allow change, who don’t want new things. For me the important thing is to be doing it. And of course you can't conform to everyone. Forget it. Especially with something that’s meant to be fun.
-Are you afraid of typecasting? Because hitting it big with a comic book character is usually a double-edged sword, like Adam West, who's in his sixties and is still referred to as Batman.
CP: Yes, we'll have to see what my next job's like. There’s still no big identification with Cybersix, because this job's just getting started, so it'll depend a little on what happens. But I’m not afraid of typecasting, because I think that as you take things you also leave them. Besides, I’m not the owner of the character, Cyber’s parents are Trillo and Meglia, so even if I don’t do it anymore, this character's going to continue selling and touring the world. THE CITY OF BALLS
The Meridiana of Telefé is much smaller than the one in that place that doesn’t look like Buenos Aires. A few scenes are recorded in the Ball Channel studios++, including those in which Cybersix leaps across city terraces. That is done with a blue background called a chroma-key, which is then not seen on the tape. That’s why it’s easy to superimpose the image of Cyber jumping on sets that're painted or filmed outdoors.
The staff of the series exploited the chroma-key technique to its maximum in the episode in which our heroine faces Friar Moon+++, a sinister children’s show host, played by... a doll. Yes, the magic of television and the talent of a group of puppeteers turned a doll into a living being and the fearsome villain of one of the episodes. After first filming Friar Moon acting alone against the chroma-key, the doll was then superimposed on other sets, from previously recorded scenes. But the Frair not only interacts with sets, but also with people, in a trick of impeccable design.
Another presence that concentrates all eyes every time he arrives at Telefé is Data, the Cybersix panther, here played by a puma dyed black. Thank goodness, the parrot was just a funny little joke.#
Far away from Telefé, in a well-known industrial school, the laboratory of Von Reichter, the office of Lucas Amato for The Independent newspaper and the classroom where Adrian Seidelman teaches are located.
There, during a break in filming, we sat down to chat with José Luis Massa, director of the series, primed for the comics and an assiduous reader of this humble magazine. THE DIRECTOR, A MASS
-How did the idea of making a TV series based on the Cybersix comic book come about?
JLM: It was one day, three years ago. I was on vacation at the beach and didn’t know what the hell to read. I went through a kiosk and saw the complete volume of Cybersix that Puertitas put out and, as I found it entertaining, I kept it to myself. I was making La Mujer Yogur with Gasalla and it seemed to me that this had things that could be applied to the rhythm of TV and at the same time could be something different from what's normally done on television. On the other hand, being a fan of comics always appeals to you and I also always liked the story of Cybersix. I think it’s lovely, interesting as a fictional story, with this action stuff, reflection stuff, with that hilarious vibe that the bad guys have... what do I know, I thought it was funny.
-And from that idea to this reality there was a great deal of work involved. How was it?
JLM: Hard. Actually at the production level, there must not have been many precedents in the country to have faced a production like that of Cybersix. The truth is impeccable. The producers, both Patagonik Films and (Gustavo) Yankelevich de Telefé, put everything here.
-Who chose the actors?
JLM: Me. It seems to me that casting a comic isn't the same as casting a movie. Because here you had to respect certain figures that came from the comic and that already have life. Although TV has a massive audience and we comic fans are five or six cats crazy, we still had to respect some figures.
-Did you opt for lesser know actors due to a budget issue or because they're the ones that, according to your criteria, best fit in the roles?
JLM: I felt that the project was strong and didn't require big names. Later, when the channel started selling Cybersix, I think they made a mistake. They don't say "Michael Keaton is Batman". Batman is Batman. And here the series began to be sold through the figure of Carolina Peleritti and this idea that I had of making a closed product got distorted a little, where history prevailed and where the names of the actors, producers, director and others were anonymous. I feel that in a story like this they must be anonymous, otherwise it's distracting. But hey, these channels have a habit of promoting things through the figures and "more at nine o'clock tonight night".
-Do you choose which Cybersix issues get adapted for TV?
JLM: Yes. Adaptation is quite difficult. First, it's hard to meet professionals who're in television and who're fans of the comic. It's very rare that people who write for TV are also comic readers. I, for example, learned to count through comics. When I started telling stories in the videos I made, I always turned to comics. What helped me the most was having read comics and having acquired that mental gymnastics that reading comics gives you. Good cartoonists could easily direct and edit a movie. And when it came time to adapt the comics, I suffered a lot, because I wanted to respect the way of speaking and narrating in the comic, but TV demands a linear story. In a comic, you go from one panel to another, and then the second panel has nothing to do with what you’ve been reading. Here you can't take those licenses, because I found that people don't understand. And I'm not criticizing anyone. I’m saying that people who’re used to reading comics are used to jumping from one thing to another, then going back, and that’s not allowed on TV.
-What other criticisms did you encounter?
JLM: Ufff, a lot. Actually, I had more criticism than I expected. Many people are amazed with the performance, the lights, the sets, the music... But I was struck by the ruthless way the press hit us. I always believed that we were at least trying to create a different kind of show. Because the interesting thing about this is that you sit down to watch a story. If you miss the first half, the second won't be easy to follow. And it seems that on TV, at nine at night, that's a lot to ask. Maybe I'm wrong, I thought it would be nice to loosen up while channel surfing and sit down and see something different and entertaining.
On the other hand, I found people who really didn't understand anything they saw. And there you may have made a mistake in the scripts. But the problem is that I still like it and I still understand it.
And another thing that caught my attention in the press is that, at a time when there's so little work, a team of 40 guys who don’t exceed the average age of 30 have been hit so hard. Mostly they hit Carolina hard, comparing her to Andrea del Boca or other actresses... I don’t know, I thought it was weird. Because television has certain licenses for certain actresses that in my opinion are terrible. We’re not going to ask Carolina to be a fucking actress, but in a short time she's made a journey and an apprenticeship that... I don’t know how many actresses can play a heroine, a man, a woman, take punches, hang themselves from that harness... I don’t know if it’s easy. I thought we had all those licenses, but they hit us really hard, crazy...
-How are you doing ratings wise?
JLM: Not as strong as the production expected, but you have to grow it little by little. It's a big risk, the episodes have a very high cost. And more because it's an unexplored genre, especially in Argentina. We've never seen such a thing here. And another thing that makes it difficult is that we always work on the verge of parody. People don't get it, they think that the actors are bad, that they're fucking up. But this is hard for any actor. Parody is one of the most complex genres, because if you move to one side you go to comedy and if you go the other way you're left as the asshole. Here people are used to the joke, to hell with the punchline. So it's difficult.
And another thing that’s hard to understand is that Von Reichter, Krumens and José are crazy guys. Really crazy. I find the character of Von Reichter interesting because he represents a dictator as he is. And what's more associated with our generation, the generation of the '80, than a dictator? I talked about this a lot with Trillo, who, being the father of history, could contribute a lot and we agreed that Von Reichter has to be ridiculous. If we make him really bad, we'd have to leave out some very nice things about the character, which are very typical of the dictator, like when he tries to be like God and walk on water. You see that and it already seems ridiculous, it's no longer so bad. With Von Reichter the idea is to take down information on what a world could be in the hands of a dictator. The guy orders to kill and then cries about the killing. It seems contradictory, but in fact it's true. Dictators are like that. The reality is more painful, but it's true.
-What audience do you have in mind when working on the show?
JLM: It's for kids who're six and kids who're forty. In France, I know that Cybersix comics are read by college students, in fact I think Trillo writes for college students. But you can't count on the audience of the comic because it's so small. In fact, I thought the comic boom in Argentina was stronger, but hey, we have to get an audience elsewhere. In a review that appeared in News, they said that we would have to focus decisively on kids and do something like the Power Rangers. No, that's crazy. As a kid I ate up a lot of shit that the TV gave me and it would hurt my soul to change this project to look like the Power Rangers. And no matter what happens, I think you have to finish the game with your shirt muddied, your profanities and with torn shoes. Don't do what's usually done on TV every time a program isn't going well, they grab and invite ... Valeria Mazza to show her ass. We're going to remain faithful to the comic and the language of the comic, improving and listening to those criticisms. ANOTHER STUDIO
Now much closer to the Obelisk, without so many lights and without the possibility of Fede Cueva and his team blowing up a nearby wall, is the studio of Carlos Meglia, one of the creature's parents. I find him completely mesmerized, coloring on the computer an impressive page of his new creation: Livevil.
"It’s an old idea we had with Carlos (Trillo)," says Meglia. "It happens in the future, but it's a future in quotes, which could be two months from now. And it’s weird. There’s a big corporation that runs everything: the police, everything. It's commanded by a tyrannical, racist, horrible woman, who is a kind of myth, because many times she's been the target of murder and people who have shot her couldn't kill her. In reality, the woman is a hologram, who is characterized and has at her service a lot of strange types that can transform into rats or shadows, who are continuously around you without you realizing it, controlling everything. In response to this there are five boys from an orphanage and a cat that, for strange reasons, when they feel cornered or desperate, merge into a monster, Livevil, who fights against this woman. It’s a very interesting series, with all the vibe of a cartoon. I’m making it in color, but in Italy it’s going to be published in black and white".
Meglia made the first pages of the storyboard of the first episode of Cybersix (aired as a second episode by Telefé) and currently colors on his computer the bullets points that serve as separators between the different scenes of the series. Meanwhile, he oversees the team of cartoonists working on Cybersix's 42nd 96-page graphic novel##, for publication by the Italian publisher Eura. But invited to chat about the Cyber series, he hangs up the computer for a while and, with coffee in between, answers these questions.
-How did you meet the people who approached this project?
CM: Through Andrea Ronco###, one of the producers, who's been a friend of mine for many years. One day he asked me for all the Cybersix stuff. I said "What for?", "You leave it to me, I’ll call you in two days". I gave him all the books and after two days he called me and told me that José Luis (Massa) and Fernando Raskovsky wanted to do something for TV. And they had been looking for a year, but they couldn’t find an idea they liked and they liked this. Carlos and I gave them the okay and they were in charge of moving all the contacts, of getting the money... and the thing snowballed. They moved so well, talked to the right people and what we thought was going to be a pilot ended up on Telefé.
-What's your contribution to the series?
And, they rely heavily on the comic for things, especially in the scenes of Meridiana, Adrian’s apartment, that bring it out equally. And there are things that aren't, that are done according to what the director needs.
-Did Trillo or you recommend some issues that you'd like to see adapted?
CM: We’ve talked about that a couple of times, but we haven’t come up with anything concrete. They have all our material in their possession: the 4000 pages and the 40 books. And they're choosing, putting together an order. We don’t get too involved, it’s up to them now. We can’t be in the way. Also this is a process, we have to let it evolve. So if I look pale, I don't tell them. I can tell you something only in the sixth or seventh episode, when the series already has a defined profile. But now I’d rather highlight the cool things.
-And what do you like the most?
CM: The aesthetics. I think it’s quite the discovery, I love it. It grabs a lot of attention. If you’re flipping through channels, it sucks you in. I like it so much that at some point I even thought about doing a kind of photo-novel with the frames of the series, because it can do anything.
-And you, who's worked in both comics and cartoons, would you start directing a film or TV adaptation of another of your characters?
CM: Sure, I'd dive in head first. But I'm a pain in the ass, I don't know if they'd back me. In fact, I've thought about it several times. Because there's not much of a difference. Look at someone like Cameron: the guy drew comic strips and then started directing movies. Spielberg, if he had the ability to draw, would draw comics. It's complicated, but with good supports, surrounded by cool people... if you have an armed team, you can carry it forward. BACK TO THE BACKSTAGE
And we ended up in the Tosquera de Benavídez, now converted into a minefield by the work and grace of the FX Stunt Team. It's the seventh episode and Cyber works precisely as a stunt double actress does the more risky action scenes. Between one blast and another, I was left with a phrase by Fede Cueva, which isn't bad to close this report: "Beyond genres and aesthetics, I wish all TV programs were made like Cybersix". \
It's hard to tell from the context, but I think they meant production of this particular episode and not the entire series.) \
*I'd heard before that Cybersix's dad's name was Elio.) Frundock said it on his website.If anyone knows where in the comic his name is said, please let me know. I'd like to see if it's consistent across all the different languages. I guess this is confirmation of his name though. BTW, it's a Spanish name derived from the Greek sun-god Helios. A very nice, noble name for such a good character :
**) This thing + I have no clue what that's supposed to mean. I don't know if he's talking to whatever recording device he's using. ++ I don't know why it's called the Balls Channel Studio, or if it's supposed to be named something else, but if I had to take an educated guess, it might be a reference to the logo for Telefe, which are three coloured balls that sometimes get anthropomorphized in commercials or stingers for the channel. +++ In the article he's named Fratello Pippo, same as he was in the French version of the comic. # No clue what that's referring to. Maybe there are pictures to go along with the magazine that will make it make sense. ## This has to be a typo, because the 42nd issue was published in 1998, two years after this magazine was published. The 32nd issue would have been closer, being published in November 1996. ### This is a typo. The producer's name is Andre Ronco.
Something I noticed was that this issue is from May of 1996 and in the interview the TV show is clearly still being made and appears to be filming it's 7th (out of what would become it's 8th) episode. This's odd because the show premiered in March 1995 and was cancelled soon after. While doing this translation I sent a message thanking them and also wondering if by chance they could clear it up. Their answer did, And they also revealed the best news I've ever heard.
This show apparently exists on DVD.