Cybersix Flashback: Nazi-fighting gender bending vigilante extraordinaire!

Cybersix French CoverWhile this is primarily a book review blog, the occasional post will be on a different SF topic just to shake things up a little. So I hope this blog becomes a neat place for you to visit whenever you’re looking for some material to feed your e-reader or scratch your SF itch!

This week’s spotlight is on Cybersix.

Cybersix is a 1990s Canadian-Japanese produced young adult animated show and an adult Argentinian comic. She’s a genetically engineered superhero who protects the city of Meridiana from the creations of the Nazi mad scientist–Dr. Von Richter.

Her daytime alter-ego is a male English literature teacher, which means that she deals with the rather awkward situation of her work colleague pining over her superhero moonlit form. At night, she is accompanied by her panther half-brother (long story) and fights crime, Dr. Von Richter’s zombie-like henchmen, werewolves, goblins, and other creatures that threaten the citizenry of Meridiana.

While Superman has his KryCybersix and Adrian Seidelmanptonite, Cybersix is dependent on her sustenance–a green fluid that can only be supplied by Dr. Von Richter’s creatures. She technically isn’t human. She needs her sustenance like a vampire needs blood because (gasp) she is one of the mad scientist’s escaped creations. This creates the unique and understandably angst-inducing situation where her enemy is also her drug supplier.

I can only view the animated series through the rose-coloured lens of nostalgia, but even now, I’m still happy to watch the series, as this amazing concentration of SF B-movie trope insanity can’t be beat. The treatment of Cybersix as a heroine is both subversive and exploitative, like Pam Grier’s character in Coffy, to the extent that it requires multiple viewings just to make sense of how it fits together.

It’s a fun superhero thrill ride with Cybersix beating the monster of the week, playing the gender-bending dance with the (mostly) unwanted suitors for both identities, and of course, asking–what does it mean to be human?–whenever she sits alone in her garret tearfully choking down the Nazi scientist’s sustenance. What’s not to love?

Cybersix ComicThe other compelling part of the Cybersix universe  is how distinct the setting is. Merdiana has a very Old World feel. It’s a place where there are cobblestone streets, the architecture looks like a gargoyle-enhanced Montreal, and people sit at restaurant tables with white tablecloths and watch soccer. Perhaps Carlos Trillo and Carlos Meglia, the comic creators, were influenced by their hometown of Buenos Aires in creating the city’s aesthetic.

There’s something attractive about having a city with a strong sense of time and place. This distinctiveness is what many of the mainstream superhero comics and stories furiously try to erase except for the occasional special treatment of Gotham. Why do all the mainstream superheroes all live in New York or some other pseudo-variant? There’s the whole universe to write about.

The original comic is about as highbrow as Sin City and measures at the same level on the don’t-read-this-in-public metric of tastefulness. Considering the sensationalist and risque premise, it’s surprisinCybersix. Does that pose remind you of The Shadow, or what?g that this was ever made into a 13-episode animated show that aired on Teletoon and Fox Kids.

Both the animated show and comic are obscure hard-to-find works in the English speaking SF world. The French and the Italians have enjoyed their translated comics, but not us Anglophones. Which means that of course, Cybersix was destined for cosmic cult status, reaching the rank of “as awesome as it sounds” and “too good to last” at TVtropes. Over here in the SF English-speaking community, we’re lucky to have seen that glimpse of Cybersix while it lasted… but I’d still sign a petition for season two.

How about you? Have you heard of Cybersix? Do you love an obscure SF creation? Hit the comments and share.

You might like this if you like…
Superheroes, gender bending, Sin City, genetically engineered monsters, nazi mad scientists, telepathic panther half-brothers, other 90′s animated series like Batman Beyond and Gargoyles

Watch the first episode on Youtube.Cybersix

A fan by the name of PharmaDan has been translating the comic to English. If you have issues 35-40 of the Italian release, please get in touch with Dan and help bring Cybersix to us English-speakers =)

(P.S. I think  A Cyborg’s Manifesto should be on Cybersix’s to read list)

About Caroline Cryonic

Formerly known as Frida Fantastic. A speculative fiction book blogger from Vancouver, Canada currently living in Quezon City, Philippines.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Batman Beyond, Carlos Meglia, Carlos Trillo, Cybersix, Gargoyles, Pulp, Science fiction, SF Chatter, Sin City, Superhero and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’ve never heard of Cybersix, but sounds great!

  2. It seems to be mostly Canadians who are aware of the show, and people from Latin America + some Europeans + some Quebecois who know much about the comic books. It also explains why there’s all these Canadians who show up to conventions, dressed up as a female superhero that no one has ever heard of.

    Cybersix is pretty ridiculous and makes no attempt to have the science make any sense at all. It seems to think genetically engineered humans and cyborgs are the same thing. Not sure if it’s some translation fail along the way (since the show was co-written by the Canadians and Japanese, probably working off the French translations), but it sure is wacky.

    I still have a soft spot for this show/comic, because honestly, this combination of sensationalist elements is seriously hard to beat.

  3. To random person on the internet searching whether Cybersix the animated series covered the entire comic: I saw your search keywords on my wordpress dashboard, and hence I have to help out a fellow geek. The answer is nope, it doesn’t. They vaguely cover some of the same characters, but the comic is much longer and it’s very dark and Sin City-like. They don’t even have the same story arcs, but sometimes they have the same monster of the week. Creepy people get rewritten as nice friendly characters in the animated series.

    The animated series is for 8 years and up, whereas the comic is 18+. Since people find my blog looking for Cybersix everyday (never knew Cybersix was such a popular search query), feel free to leave a comment to ask a question. I’m a Cybersix fangirl eager to help =D

    • hey i wanted to know how cyersix ended initaily I cant read everything in between but i just want to know how the comics ended

      thanks

  4. if anyone is interested someone already has a cybersix translation going over at http://pharmadan.blogspot.ca/?zx=ca08d7434c084781

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