Sunday, August 17, 2008

RIP Carlos Meglia

Sad news to report this morning. Famed Cybersix* creator Carlos Meglia passed away at the age of 50 last Friday in Spain. World news agencies report he was suffering from heart problems for the last few years, and they are in disagreement over what it was exactly that caused his death. Some say it was an aneurysm, others say it was a stroke, and another says he died on the operating table during heart surgery. Update (Sunday Evening): We have just learned that it was in fact a heart attack after a second operation for a heart ailment which took his life. Carlos made his debut in 1974 as an illustrator for children's books in Argentina. From 1983-1986, he worked in animation on the cartoons The Smurfs, The Flintstones, and Scooby Doo. He had even worked in drawing the layouts for Batman: The Animated Series. In 1987 he teamed up with another artist, Carlos Trillo, and created some of the most memorable Argentinian comics ever, including Irish Coffee about a detective with supernatural powers, and of course Cybersix - the story of a renegade cyborg with enough humanity left within her to stop an evil scientist from destroying more lives. After Cybersix ended, he settled in Spain and began working for the US market, collaborating with Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel on many titles including Star Wars: Underworld, Adventures of Superman, and Elektra. In 2005, he created the popular series Canari along with the Belgian comic artist Didier Crisse. There is a very warm tribute to him posted by one of his friends on his official blog.

Cybersix was by far his most well known work. The comic lasted for 6 years in Argentina, and spawned a live action version in 1995 starring one of the hottest models at the time, Carolina Peleritti. An animated series also debuted in 1999, and was dubbed in English, French, Japanese, Malaysian, Polish, South American, and Thai. The cartoon was a hybrid anime, as it was produced and dubbed in Canada, and animated in Japan by Telecom Animation Film (a subsidiary of Tokyo Movie Shinsha) and it literally bought his artistic style to life. You could watch it alongside a typical anime and never know the two were animated in Japan! In an interview we were able to find, he told of how the series came to be. After the live action version was canceled, a friend of Carlos' named Alejandro had animated a pilot on his computer. A few months later, another friend tells him of a Canadian who is looking for animation projects, and Carlos told him of Alejandro's Cybersix pilot. A week after the pilot and some scripts had been sent to this Canadian, he flew to Buenos Aires to sign a contract. He had also been in talks with TMS to animate the project, and they had gained worldwide fame as being the animators behind the legendary Akira. Carlos called Carlos Trillo, and he was also happy about this deal and agreed. It took a year after that for the 13-episode series to be completed. He loved the cartoon, and though the first season ended on a cliffhanger , he never heard back from the producers. Even if he did, he said he wouldn't have known how to continue because Adrian (and Cybersix's) companion Lucas had discovered their true identity. Though fans are still hungry for a second season, the show was never picked up again. It starred Cathy Weseluck (best known for playing Kagome's mother in InuYasha) in the dual role as Adrian Siedelman and Cybersix. The cartoon also won the Special Mention for the Best Science Fiction Program at the Pulcinella Awards in 2000. Carlos also noted in the interview that this was one of the first times Japan had produced something for the world market - usually Japan produces work for the Japanese market and then it is adapted for the world. An Argentinian fan had told him once that the only thing they had seen from Japan before Cybersix was Studio Ghibli's Porco Rosso, and Cybersix was more beautiful than it.

We send our deepest condolences to Meglia's family, friends, and colleagues. He was a great talent and he will be missed.

*A lot of you may be wondering, why report about Cybersix on a Sailor Moon site? The two cartoons had one very big thing in common - gender bending superheroes. The Sailor Star Lights were men by day and women by night, and Cybersix was a female cyborg by night, and a male English teacher (Adrian Siedelman) by day. Cybersix aired uncensored on Canada's Teletoon during the late evenings, and a censored version was shown during the day on both Fox Kids. This was proof enough that if Sailor Stars aired late at night, and unedited, it could have thrived on television and kept the fans happy, while a censored version would have been just fine for those parents concerned about what their kids are watching. Carlos mentioned at the end of the interview that this was the same conflict they had when they were discussing how to market the cartoon. If they had left in all the adult scenes, it would have sold but the market would have been reduced. This was the best solution to stick with most of the integrity of the original and yet to make it marketable to countries around the world. For more information, go visit CyberSeries 5000, the best Cybersix fansite on the web! The series is one to watch, and it was only released in limited quantities on VHS in Canada. We're pretty sure that the episodes can be found somewhere and we recommend every reader of this site watches it!

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