LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Three months after standing down as California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a comeback as a cartoon superhero version of himself, the Governator.
The former champion bodybuilder turned Hollywood star -- catchphrase "I'll be Back" -- has teamed up with Marvel comics veteran Stan Lee to create the character that will star in an animated TV show and comic book.
More details will be announced next week, but Schwarzenegger and Lee revealed the plans to Entertainment Weekly, which published details on its website this week.
"The Governator is very simple. It takes my entire career basically, if it is bodybuilding, if it is action movies, if it is the governorship," the famously Austrian-accented 63-year-old told the magazine.
"It takes all those things and combines it into one. That guy is designed to fight crime, to fight natural disasters, this guy will be jumping into action," he added in a video clip on the weekly's website.
Arnie's new persona will have a fleet of super-vehicles at his disposal in an Arnold Cave under his house and a wardrobe of "Super Suits" to help him fly and perform other stunts.
Ranged against him will be super-villains, including an evil organization called Gangsters Imposters Racketeers Liars & Irredeemable Ex-cons -- or GIRLIE Men for short, after Arnie's infamously politically incorrect phrase for wimps.
"I love the idea of a control center below my house with a path so that boats and submarines can go right into the ocean," Schwarzenegger told the weekly, in his first interview since leaving public life in January.
"In the cartoon, my house is much closer to the beach than where we live, but, you know, it's a cartoon."
The animated TV show and comic book won't be out until next year, but Lee -- co-creator of Spider Man and a raft of other comic superheros, revealed that it will be based on Schwarzenegger's personal life.
"The Governator is going to be a great superhero, but he'll also be Arnold Schwarzenegger," he said.
"We're using all the personal elements of Arnold's life. We're using his wife (Maria Shriver). We're using his kids. We're using the fact that he used to be governor.
"Only after he leaves the governor's office, Arnold decides to become a crime fighter and builds a secret high-tech crime-fighting center under his house in Brentwood," he added.
Schwarzenegger came to the United States as a penniless 21-year-old in 1968, but became a millionaire and won the Mr Universe title four more times. He then shrugged off barbs about his thick accent as he turned to acting.
Joining Hollywood's royalty, his ominous "Terminator" catchphrases "I'll be back" and "Hasta la vista, baby" have now entered the English lexicon -- and he still uses them frequently as a politician.
Along the way, he married into a political dynasty, in taking as his wife Maria Shriver, a niece of former president John F. Kennedy, before becoming California governor in 2003.
Arnie had remained tight-lipped about his future plans in the run-up to handing power to veteran Democrat politician Jerry Brown at the start of year, and had mostly dodged the question until now.
While reportedly hitting the lecture circuit, he is said to be in talks for a sequel to 1994 blockbuster "True Lies" -- fueled by recent photos of him with director James Cameron.
He is expected to reveal more about his plans early next week in Cannes, France, according to a spokeswoman for California-based A Squared Entertainment, one of the companies involved in the Governator project.