And while I’m in a complaining mood, Wikipedia lists artist Al Plastino as co-creator of the Parasite. Why do they do that? I created the design for the character, did layouts for the issue of Action Comics in which he appeared and Al did not deviate from the sketches I provided at all. Al created plenty of characters, but not the Parasite.
I am too twitterpated to make a rational decision.)
Heehee. No decision here. -JayJay the Mischievous Blog Elf
Traci Adell was the Playmate of the Month in Playboy Magazine, July, 1994.
Here’s her “Data Sheet”:
Traci Adell became the live action Fatale.
Broadway Video Entertainment and the World Wrestling Federation
Lorne Michaels’ company, Broadway Video, is the co-producer of Saturday Night Live and producer of other TV shows. It is also owns the premiere video editing/processing company in the world (hence the company’s name “Broadway Video”). During the mid 1990’s, Broadway Video had a division called Broadway Video Entertainment. BVE owned and managed a library of films, television shows and classic properties like The Lone Ranger and Lassie. In addition, BVE invested in various ventures including Broadway Comics.
BVE was my 50/50 partner in Broadway Comics, though they were the General Partner and had ultimate decision-making power. The media/entertainment/licensing types at BVE got us a meeting with executives from the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to discuss opportunities that might have mutual benefit.
I adamantly (but politely) refused to do licensed WWF comics. Been there, done that and it sucked.
So we talked about other things. We described our characters. They were interested in Fatale!
Long story short, after a few meetings they, the WWF and particularly Vince and wife Linda McMahon who ran the WWF, wanted to work with us in a joint venture-type deal with Fatale. Joint venture: Read: Not a lot of money changing hands, but perhaps a mutually beneficial opportunity might emerge.
Given the major motivators of media involvement listed last post—briefly: big exposure, heat, A-list star involvement and/or a major capital investment, none of which we, Broadway Comics or Fatale had going for us—why would the WWF, which already had a substantial television presence, be interested in little us?
I don’t know, but I have theories.
- Possibly they thought that by working with us, they could get for free or cheap some useful creative input. I doubt it, actually. Vince McMahon has no shortage of confidence in his creativity. But, he might have thought that lesser lights like us could supply some straw he could spin into gold.
- Possibly they imagined that working with us might be a foot in the door to getting exposure on national TV powerhouse Saturday Night Live. Maybe even a guest-host appearance by Vince McMahon and a bunch of WWF based skits.
- Possibly they liked the idea of having a stake in the success of Fatale, imagining (as I did) that Broadway Video’s clout might spawn a movie, TV show and/or major licensing opportunities, the benefits of which they would share in. Getting a piece of a character that might really take off has its appeal.
Whatever. They wanted to work with us on Fatale.
So we, BVE and I, set about casting an actress to play Fatale.
When I was shown Traci Adell’s headshot and stills I almost applauded. She was, to quote a song from Bells Are Ringing, “…better far than a dream.” She even looked like Fatale. Perfect. Except she was a little taller than we’d imagined Fatale to be. Traci is 5’11”.
5’11” doesn’t seem all that tall to me. I’m 6’7” and change. So…no big deal, I figured. More on that later.
Anyway…the Broadway Video Entertainment execs and the Hollywood based Broadway Video people and I picked Traci from a field of many.
Traci passed muster at some audition in Hollywood. I wasn’t there.
P.S. Traci heard tell of being mentioned here and sent me (via JayJay) a nice e-mail. She fondly remembers her Fatale experiences.Sweet. Of course.
BVE flew her to New York and I got to meet her.
Seeing Traci in person is…startling. She’s that pretty.
Traci is wonderfully photogenic but no photo does her justice. She’s unbelievably graceful. Maybe that’s why still pictures don’t deliver the full scope of her presence and her charm.
Traci met Broadway Comics’ core creative crew—Janet “JayJay” Jackson, Pauline Weiss and Joe James. We had drinks and a nice, long chat in the lobby bar of the Hilton on 6th Avenue where BVE/Broadway Comics put her up.
Traci is very open and completely genuine. And genuinely nice.
We all fell in love with her.
JayJay found a few pictures of Traci taken at Broadway Comics’ offices:
Traci and some comic book character
Barbara Morcerf: finance, Janet Claire Jackson and Pauline Weiss: writers/creators, Traci Adell: superstar, Erica Rodriguez: creative contributor, Debbie Fix: managing editor/head of production
Autographing Powers That Be #1
I met with Vince McMahon, his wife Linda and their WWF execs a number of times about the Fatale project.
Vince McMahon is a fast-thinking, creative, spontaneous guy. He can create on the fly. He reminds me a bit of Marv Wolfman—never at a loss for ideas. He’ll have ten to your one. Even if eight of them are less than brilliant, two rock, and he wins.
Vince would make adjustments to storylines and events intended to occur right up to the very moment the wrestlers entered the ring.
You do know that all professional wrestling events are scripted, right?
Linda McMahon is a smart, attractive, formidable woman. Once, she gave me a ride home in her limo from the offices of whomever we were meeting with and we got to talk for a little while. She’s aware, insightful, sharp and tough as tenpennies.
Once, the McMahons invited a group of us Broadway Comics people to a live event in Pittsburgh, my home town. We had great seats on floor level, just far enough back from the ring to have the best possible view. I’d been to WWF events before (remember, VALIANT was a licensee) but never watched from so close up. As I recall, people sitting in the chairs in that premium section were allowed to take the chairs with them when they left! I think Pauline and Alan Weiss actually did, and had them shipped back to New York.
Pauline and Alan were pro wrestling fans, which was a great help. They were up to date with the current buzz.
Together, at the request of the WWF, our core creative group crafted a couple of potential storylines involving Fatale to be acted out in the WWF live events and in their TV shows. I pitched our ideas to Vince, Linda and a group of WWF execs at their offices in Stamford.
The general gist: Obviously, we couldn’t have Fatale/Traci doing feats of superhuman strength like lifting the Undertaker over her head and tossing him out of the ring, but she could have a Siren-like irresistible attraction and a debilitating/enervating kiss. So, we played the super-Siren angle. One of our storyline proposals was a Helen of Troy-type thing, in which first two, then many wrestlers went to war over Fatale’s affections.
The second proposal was that there would be a hostile takeover of the WWF, aided, abetted and manipulated by Fatale. There was a wrestler called King something-or-other. He was going to oust Vince McMahon and become the new absolute ruler of the WWF.
In each of the scenarios, Fatale would start out appearing to be a “heel” (villain) but eventually be revealed to be a “face” (short for babyface, a hero). Each of the scenarios involved male and female combatants in the ring, fighting at the same time—jealous women, jilted girlfriends, rivals. We proposed upping the ante regarding romance/sex/sexiness.
Our proposals were flatly refused. I was told that no way could there be women combatants in the ring with men. Out of the question. Vince didn’t like the powers that we proposed for Fatale—even though I offered that they could turn out to be something in her lipstick instead of supernatural abilities. And Vince didn’t like the takeover angle.
P.S. The lipstick thing might have been someone else’s idea. Pauline’s maybe?
But they still wanted to try using Traci and Fatale.
At some point, Traci and I went to the WWF’s TV studios in Stamford to tape a promo (I think it was a promo). She’s a talented, capable actress. Utterly confident, effortlessly natural on camera.I believe Traci appeared as Fatale on one or two WWF TV shows. They basically used her as eye candy, as I recall. Her part wasn’t nearly as important as it ought to have been, or so it seemed to me. Fatale should have been the main focus, the star. They weren’t doing what we’d suggested and I think Vince, for once, just didn’t have an idea of what to do.
Nothing came of it. Vince took whatever story he was playing out in non-Fatale directions. A primary reason I was told: Traci was too tall.
The WWF (and others) routinely lie about/exaggerate the size of their performers. I once had a picture taken (at the Licensing Show in New York—or maybe it was Toy Fair) with Razor Ramon, billed as 6’7”, about the same as me. I towered over him. They had to shoot us from the waist up and I had to bend my knees—a lot—to lower myself down to his height.
No way to hide the fact that 5’11” Traci, in the ring in heels (and therefore 6’3”-ish) was obviously taller than wrestlers billed as 6’7” or more.
Awkward. For the WWF, that is.
If it were up to me, I would have run with it, made a big deal of her “goddess-like stature.” Or something. But that didn’t fly.
I think Vince, Linda and the WWF missed the boat big-time with Traci and Fatale. The live-action portion of the project got sort of back-burnered.
Anyway…that’s how I remember it. Corrections and embellishments from those in the know welcome.
Meanwhile, somebody came up with the idea that we could create a Fatale comics story that would run, serialized, in one of the WWF magazines. We started on the project.
Here’s the first plot:
Serialized Comic Strip for WWF Magazine
(Our intention is to focus on the “femme fatale” aspects of Desirée’s power, similar to her live WWF appearances—which is not to say that she won’t be the same as in our own comics—rather, we’ll play her abilities to drain people’s strength and abilities a bit more subtly and mysteriously—i.e., she probably won’t be lifting any tanks.)
The story begins with Desirée (Fatale), a popular Hollywood actress, on location at the site of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, filming a movie called “Cortez” (which allows us to put her in an exotic, sexy Aztec costume). She’s crowded around by cast and crew, admired, fussed over.
During an action scene take, a well-organized, armored squad of terrorist types tries to kidnap Desirée—spectacular action. Desirée manages elude her kidnappers, and escapes into the maze of trailers and props around the movie set. A woman motions her to duck into a safe haven, only to grab Desirée and menace her with a knife—the woman wants to kill her!
A brief struggle, and Desirée escapes, again by the skin of her teeth. Thus begins the chase of Desirée through exotic locales throughout the world. She’s being pursued by a cult, who’ve been convinced by their high priest/leader that Desirée was the living embodiment of the death-goddess Kali, and that through a mystical ceremony involving Desirée and the priest, an “age of enlightenment” will commence—a time when the high priest will take possession of the world’s wealth and power and lead it to final death and destruction.
The woman who menaced Desirée, named Bavani, is a high-ranking member of this cult and a true believer, though she’s afraid of this “age of enlightenment.” She’s lovely (though not as stunningly gorgeous as Fatale) and deeply in love with the high priest. The high priest, however, has the hots for Desirée, and has cruelly cast Bavani aside. Bavani’s jealous of Desirée, and dependent on the high priest, and has dedicated herself to Desirée’s destruction.
Throughout this chase, we demonstrate men’s “fatale” attraction to Desirée and her devastating and mysterious power over them, as well as highlighting her charming and girlish personality, which contrasts with the wild physical action and confrontations she becomes involved in. Thanks to the world-spanning locations, she’ll also have opportunities to wear beautiful (and occasionally outrageous) clothing.
We build to a one-on-one showdown/catfight between Desirée and Bavani. Desirée manages somehow to convince Bavani that she’s right to fear the cult’s age of enlightenment. She and Bavani become allies, and they join forces to attack the cult leader.
In a climactic battle between the cult’s thugs and the two women, it is revealed that it is Bavani who is the prophesied vessel of the spirit of Kali—and that the high priest knew it all along, but cynically decided that “it’s whoever I decide it is!”—and he just wants Fatale. Together, Bavani and Desirée overthrow the priest. Bavani, who’s learned from her new friend Desirée how to be assertive and in control, assumes her rightful place at the head of the cult, and introduces a true age of enlightenment, re-dedicating the cult to world-scale creativity rather than destruction.
Here’s the first script:
Goin’ Back to Kali
Created by Broadway Comics
Written by Janet Jackson, Joseph A. James, Jim Shooter, Pauline Weiss
Cast of Characters
Various crew members, including a director, assistant directors, a matronly makeup woman, grips, best boys, electricians
Location and Reference Watch
A movie set near Tenochtitlán, Mexico. Typical movie set stuff (lights, cameras, trailers, etc.). The location includes a pyramid with a small shelter-structure at the top, jungle all around the area. See reference.
Fatale is sitting on set, in a director’s chair, wearing an exotic, sexy Aztec costume. A matronly woman is fussing with her hair and headdress while male crew members and extras are hanging around her, admiring her. She’s wearing an exotic, sexy Aztec costume. Behind her, we can see a trailer, but we can see the edge of the trailer and behind it, a confused, slightly frantic-looking assistant director.
On location in Tenochtitlán, Mexico, shooting the feature film Cortez…
Where’s the cameraman? And the grips? And the best boy, fer cryin’ out loud?
…so the director saw you on Rodeo Drive and cast you on the spot?
Wow! Shopping as a career move…!
I bet guys make you offers all the time, if you know what I mean.
Well, most men are actually very polite…and shy.
Isn’t it wonderful that you get to work with that yummy Antonio Banderas?
Uh-huh…but I’m more excited about working with Anthony Quinn!
Fatale is now standing up, so we get a full figure shot of her in costume. The grip looks stunned by her beauty. The 2nd AD, clipboard in hand, is gesturing toward the set. The AD from the previous shot is in the background, on a megaphone.
The Queen of the Aztecs never looked that good.
All ready, Miss Hopewell?
Yes, except I’d trade my empire for a box of Godiva chocolates right now!
Fatale is standing at the top of the pyramid…see reference, this is an Aztec pyramid similar to the one at Santa Cecilia, with a little sheltered structure at the top of it. This is a bit of an upshot, so that we can see the director and crew looking up at her. In the background, we can see several approaching helicopters in the distance.
Roll cameras…ready…annnnd, action!
Hold it, cut, cut! What are those helicopters doing up there?
Downshot now, as a number of masked men, clothed head to toe and armed with clubs, nets and rope, rappel down ropes from the helicopters and attempt to grab Fatale. She reacts, startled. We can see the film crew at the bottom of the pyramid
What’s going on?
I don’t know…but it looks great! Roll film!
Fatale fights off her attackers—no huge slugging action, though. She’s ducking under a thug swinging a club who’s losing his balance, and at the same time kicking another thug off the pyramid. In the background, we see another woman, Bavani, (wearing a t-shirt and safari shorts, looking like another crew member; pretty but nowhere as beautiful as Fatale) at the entrance to the structure at the top of the pyramid, motioning to Fatale.
I’ve got her—aahh!
Don’t worry! It’s not the first time some guy underestimated me!
Quick, in here!
Full figure. Shoot at the entrance of the structure from inside, as Fatale enters, unaware of Bavani. We can see the helicopters hovering behind her. Bavani is just at the entrance, behind Fatale, about to attack Fatale with a knife.
Those guys were trying to kidnap me!
And I…am trying to kill you!
Caption To be continued…
Bottom of the page caption (type)
Fatale also appears in her own comic book, on sale monthly at comics shops everywhere.
Mayan Ruins, Tikal, Guatemala
In Tikal, Guatemala, many Mayan ruins of the 3rd and 4th centuries have been excavated and studied. The area, one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centers, is believed to have sustained a population of 50,000 until it was abandoned, for unknown reasons, in the 10th century. Kevin Schafer, ALLSTOCK, INC.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Archaeologists believe that the Formative period of Mayan civilization began as early as 1500 BC, but the peak of Mayan cultural achievement came during the Classic period, AD 300 to 900. During this time, the Maya created unique art and architectural styles, made astounding astronomical observations, and developed a system of hieroglyphs for recording significant events. The contributions of this civilization continue to be felt in Mexico, and thousands of tourists visit the country’s many Mayan ruins, such as those of the Post Classic city Chichén Itzá, shown here. Randy Wells, ALLSTOCK, INC.
Northwest of Mexico City, the small pyramid in Santa Cecilia Acatitlán is the only completely intact Aztec temple in existence. Although its age is unknown, it predates the 14th-century Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, the site that later became Mexico City.
I don’t remember if we actually produced this or other episodes, or whether or not any got printed.Broadway Comics came to the beginning of its end around then. A lot of things were left undone or drifted away. More on that next time.
P.S. A number of WWF stars and execs defected to Turner’s WCW around that time. Interestingly, the WCW soon began a major storyline entitle “New World Order,” about, more or less, a hostile takeover of the WCW.
And, didn’t the WWF eventually do a hostile takeover storyline? I think so.
And didn’t they both start having male-female conflicts and combats in the ring? And more romance/sex/sexiness? I think so.
NEXT: The Web of the Snyder