It sounded like an April Fool's gag that came a few days early: Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would follow up his two terms as the state's boss with an animated series penned by comic legend Stan Lee in which he plays a, yes, crime-fighting ex-governor.
But if you pick up Friday's issue of Entertainment Weekly, you will see that it's no joke. The cover features an image of a buff cartoon Arnold as "The Governator."
"When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about 'the Governator,' I thought the word was so cool," Schwarzenegger, 63, told the magazine. "The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the 'True Lies' ..."
The combination TV series-comic book is being co-developed by "Spider-Man" co-creator Lee and is slated to roll out in 2012. Lee promised that not only will the Governator be a great superhero, he will also depict plenty of autobiographical elements from the real action-star-turned-politician's life.
"We're using all the personal elements of Arnold's life. We're using his wife [Maria Shriver]. We're using his kids," said Lee of the semi-fictional character. "We're using the fact that he used to be governor. Only after he leaves the governor's office, Arnold decides to become a crime fighter and builds a secret high-tech crime-fighting center under his house in Brentwood."
In classic crime-fighter fashion, the Governator will have his tricked-out Arnold Cave, along with a fleet of super-vehicles and a closet full of "Super Suits" that allow him to fly and perform super-stunts. He'll also have some classic sidekicks, including Zeke Muckerberg, a precocious 13-year-old computer whiz who handles the Governator's cybersecurity.
The best part? A group of recurring super-villains from the organization Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-Cons (a.k.a. G.I.R.L.I.E. Men, of course).
The magazine has a gallery with images from the comic book, including the chiseled-faced Schwarzenegger in his wide-lapelled superhero costume, a "bubble mask" that uses high-tech gum to create a disguise, an imposing armor outfit with energy blade weapons in the boots, and a sleek superbike that features wheels filled with something called an "animating plasma field."
Are you pumped up about "The Governator" comic book and animated series? Tell us in the comments.