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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Ron Hill

Aired July 2, 2003 - 19:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Princess Diana is coming back from the dead in a future Marvel comic. It's true. The "X-statix" comic book will portray her as a resurrected mutant in an ironic comment on the power of fame. That's her sort of -- I don't know if you can see it on that graphic, if we can put it up again, that's her sort of right in the middle of the screen. There she is. There's outrage and let's just say Buckingham Palace will stick with Richy Rich for now.
Meanwhile, Marvel's publicity department is happy, and "X- statix's" wrier has proven his point that Princess Di wields formidable powers even after her death. Joining us now is Ron Hill, manager of the Manhattan branch of Jim Hanley's Universe, a comic store book store here in New York. Thanks for being with us, Ron.

RON HILL, MANAGER, JIM HANLEY'S UNIVERSE: Hello.

COOPER: All right. First of all, what is this comic book "X- statix" and why is Princess Diana in it?

HILL: Well, "X-statix" is a comic book about a team of superheroes who have PR agents, you know, and have the costumes designed by Madison Avenue.

COOPER: It's an offshoot of "The X-Men."

HILL: It's an offshoot of "The X-Men."

COOPER: So it's basically, they're not just mutants, but they're mutants who have gained celebrity because they're mutants?

HILL: Yes. Now, in "The X-Men" film, "The X-Men" are hated by the general public. "X-statix" have sold out and are embraced by the general public.

COOPER: So why Princess Diana? How does she fit?

HILL: Well, the writer, Peter Milligan, he felt like in his country, you know, she represented celebrity, the greatest celebrity of all in the U.K. The theme of "X-statix" is, you know, it's all about celebrity and, you know...

COOPER: She's the ultimate symbol of celebrity?

HILL: Yes. In the U.K.

COOPER: Is there -- and that's where the author of this comic book...

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Peter Milligan is a British comic writer.

COOPER: OK. Now, is there any information yet about what her powers are going to be? I mean, everyone in (ph) comic books has powers often?

HILL: They're pretty tight lipped about that right now.

COOPER: What do you envision?

HILL: You figure she would be able to heal the sick and feed the hungry and be like Wonder Woman but more compassionate.

COOPER: Now, are any of the other royals -- is Camilla Parker- Bowles going to show up as a villain?

HILL: They haven't said that yet.

COOPER: OK.

HILL: Apparently "Spider-Man" is going to show up.

COOPER: Oh, really?

HILL: Yes. He's going to show up somewhere in this first issue.

COOPER: There are some who say, look, this is just crass publicity, this is just an attempt -- we're talking about this book, we probably never would have talked about this comic book otherwise. What do you think?

HILL: Well, it's fantasy, you know, and you know, Marvel Comics always resurrects their characters. You know, comic book characters always come back from the dead. They killed "Superman," he came back six months later. And you know, because it's a kind of a pointed satire of media and, you know, how it's exploitive, you know, it's kind of a cruel trick to use Diana, which is going to outrage many people to sell this cruel trick.

COOPER: We have a quote from the author, and we're going to put it on the screen here. It says, quote -- "At a glance, Diana may not resemble the flying, teleporting, lethally oscillating characters that populate my comic, but the strange power she exerts from beyond the grave certainly makes her a valid subject to explore, and of course, she looks great in spandex!"

HILL: I haven't seen her in spandex yet, so I don't know.

COOPER: All right. But do you think this is an appropriate -- I mean, you think because of the nature of the comic, and this is really a comic book not geared toward, you know, 8-year-old kids. This is a comic book geared towards older teens and adults, really? HILL: Yes. And I think it is appropriate. I think it's a little controversial. You know, it certainly got the news media ablaze. But it fits in with the point of the comic, you know, that it's about, you know, how power, you know, corrupts and, you know, superheroes who are celebrities who exploit that for their own personal game. So it's kind of like Marvel is exploiting Diana's legacy, but it fits in thematically with the work.

COOPER: This hasn't hit the comic stands yet?

HILL: No.

COOPER: It's coming out in a couple of months, I imagine.

HILL: Yes, this is coming out in a few months.

COOPER: All right, Ron Hill, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.

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