Webmaster’s Note: This interview is from 1999. Unfortunately, Mike Frankovich passed away on December 11, 2007. He is missed! This interview is posted, as is, for posterity.
Mike Frankovich is the owner of the Film Company and the President of Super Cosmos Earthstation Entertainment. He has had a successful career in the TV and Movie industry and has long been associated with Bill Black and AC Comics, having created several comic book characters published by AC including Rayda and Dawn Hunter.
How did your association with AC Comics and Bill Black begin?
We started back toward the early 1980’s when I was putting together financing for a movie called BLACK DIAMOND which, due to certain problems, never was funded or shot.
How did the idea to do a movie based on the Femforce come about?
Bill Black, as many readers know, was a Film Student. We started discussing the possibility of putting together a package to do FF as a movie quite early on in the FF History. We came close to getting it off the ground several times including as a pilot for a TV series. Hollywood, however, had gone into heavy annorexia so the industry didn’t seem to want well built, strong Women on screen. It’s a miracle that CATWOMAN became part of the BATMAN movies and Hollywood still fails to understand why we all watched Xena…
The first series, of course, was BLACK DIAMOND and, because of the legal entanglements, I started developing DAWN HUNTER to replace that series and character. I’ve always been an affectionado of Spy material and had read the JAMES BOND books at an early age while living in Britain. Matter of history now, I was the one who gave Albert (Cubby) Brocolli the first James Bond book he’d read but it’s a long story how that came to pass. (Through our mutual affection for cars being part of it…) I was also a big fan of a British TV series called THE AVENGERS and decided that a Female James Bond was needed. (I had worked on a couple of episodes of THE AVENGERS as a third Assistant Director as well).
With RAYDA… The most successful Comic Book Superheros and Heroines have actually come out of Wartime. As a US Army Veteran (Vietnam) I worried that our men and women who were part of Desert Storm would receive the same treatment we got back in 67 through 69. RAYDA was my answer to that. I gave her some of my own background in Film and from my Military life. (I’ve coordinated and designed stunts, done Special Effects and was a part of the US Army COMBAT DEVELOPEMENTS EXPERIMENTATION COMMAND while serving my Country).
You’ve written several stories published by AC Comics and you’re also an artist, what drew you to the comics medium? Other than the characters you’ve created, who are your favorite comic book characters whether published by AC Comics or some other publisher. Who are your artistic influences?
I’ve always been a very VISUAL person and started drawing for my own pleasure, drawing the kinds of things I enjoyed. Cars and Superheroines. In fact, two cars were produced, one in Britain and one in Germany, from my designs in that field. The drawing of Superheroines and Superspies came from my script writing and “wanting to see” the costumes I wanted on my characters… I also worked as a Production Manager on the Wonder Woman TV series for a short while (First season, ABC) and ended up calling the head of programing at CBS when WW was cancelled, suggesting that if the series were based in the 1970’s, it could be a winner.
Favorite artists include the likes of George Perez and, of course, the late Eric Stanton who I worked with under a pseudonym. In finding the old PARAGON PUBLICATIONS books, I also found Bill Black and later, Mark Heike, both remarkable talents in their own rights. Other Artists who inspired me are Steve Ditko, Gene Bilbrew, Lyon and Bishop.
Are you working on any comic book related Femforce projects at the current time, and, if so, what can you tell us about them?
Time (Ah, that precious commodity) allowing, I’m working on the story for another RAYDA three parter as well as the screenplay for a DAWN HUNTER video, plus setting up SUPER COSMOS EARTHSTATION MUSEUM, which will house my classic car collection.
You’ve been integral in marketing the Femforce for non-comic book licensing opportunities. To the extent that you can tell us, what are some of the potential non-comic book projects that you’re working on that involve the Femforce?
As has been reported, I was invited to the old Soviet Union by their Govenment to discuss certain mutually beneficial ideas for Film and other business. The unfortunate part for us was the dissolution of Communism right after my initial meetings and the fall of the Russian currency. I was invited back to Russia again and came up with SUPER COSMOS, the theme park that we were to build in St. Petersburg and which would have featured FEMFORCE, DAWN HUNTER and some of my other characters. Again, financial conditions could not be met so we sought funding from outside Russia at the same time. Due to certain problems with the Russian Maffia, outside funding dried up so we pressed on and went to another Eastern European but more stable area. At this point, we have the required permits from the Government of that Country, the required land (A former Soviet Airforce Base), some of the funding through local banks and promises from US and other Capital providers. I have also visited the area and looked over facilities and approved them.
You mention your interest in cars, I understand that you own an excellent collection of classic cars. How did your collection come about and what kind of cars do you collect?
My Son and I collect some of the most unusual and rare cars from the 50’s and 60’s (Although we just aquired a 1942 Mercury Sedan- Year I was born). Several of the cars are the only ones remaining of their model including a 1958 Edsel Amblewagon that is fully complete and a 1969 English Ford Zephyr Ferguson 4 wheel drive Police car, also the only one left in the World. We also have the largest collection in the USA of licensed British Fords including two that are the only ones to be registered in North America. The theme, if you will, is the Space Age which is also the background for the Theme Park and the whole collection will be moved to Europe and to the Theme Park if that is built.
What kind of projects or hobbies are currently taking up your time?
If cars, writing, drawing and travel were not enough, I’m working on a book about automobiles. I take cars from my collection to many, many car shows and have a room full of trophies and awards won by the cars. I also publish a small but elite magazine not totally far off the ideas of beautiful, costumed Women.