Egomaniacal and insulting

He promised he’d be back—and now Arnold Schwarzenegger is making good on that threat.

It’s only been a few months since Schwarzenegger stepped down as the governor of California, but already the bodybuilder/actor turned politician is looking to capitalize on his stint at the state Capitol.

A new comic book and animated series, The Governator, is a collaboration between Schwarzenegger, Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee and producer Andy Heyward—the latter whose credits include the TV series Speed Racer X and, disturbingly enough, Mary Kate and Ashley in Action!

Clearly, Schwarzenegger is back in realm that best suits him: fantasy.

Scheduled for arrival on your TV sets sometime in 2012, the new series follows the man who once held the Golden State’s highest office and chronicles his adventures after trading a life of bodybuilding, movie-making and politics for one of crime-fighting heroics.

In the series trailer (available on YouTube), the cartoon version of Schwarzenegger is one who lives a high-tech, futuristic “Arnold Cave,” shoots laser beams from his eyes and possesses the superhuman strength to physically outrun cars and overtake villains such as the nefarious G.I.R.L.I.E. Men.

Schwarzenegger explained his inspiration for the series in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly magazine.

“When I ran for governor back in 2003, and I started hearing people talking about the ‘Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” Schwarzenegger said. “[The Governator] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the True Lies [movie].”

Because politics, bodybuilding and action films, apparently, just begged to be combined into an unholy alliance of pop culture.

While the idea of turning his time in office into a fantastical world with clear-cut villains and triumphant victories is, in theory, fun—the truth of the matter is much more sobering.

Schwarzenegger handily won the 2003 recall election that unseated Gov. Gray Davis—despite a positively Girlie Man-esque political résumé with highlights that included appearing in an ’80s-era anti-drug public-service announcement and serving as the chairman for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during Bill Clinton’s administration.

Indeed, Schwarzenegger nailed his win largely on the strength of his charisma, deep pockets and apparently the public’s belief that an actor with limited political experience could boldly save a struggling state.

Californians placed high hopes on Schwarzenegger when he won the recall election to become governor of the Golden State, expecting him to make miracles to lead California out of the deteriorating economy and huge deficit.

Instead, when Schwarzenegger left office in January, he had an abysmally low approval rating and left behind a disastrously high state deficit of nearly $30 billion.

To be fair, Schwarzenegger’s legacy includes a few victories, including passage of a bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions—but it’s hardly the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters.

And yet, throughout his 86 months in office, Schwarzenegger repeatedly resurrected images of his movie-making past.

“If I would do another Terminator movie, I would have [the] Terminator travel back in time and tell Arnold not to have a special election,” Schwarzenegger told a reporter after voters rejected all four measures on the governor’s special-elections ballot.

Ah, but there’s the problem. This wasn’t a Terminator movie and—news flash—Schwarzenegger isn’t really a murderous cyborg assassin. (Please correct me if I’m wrong on that one.)

On one hand, The Governator is just harmless entertainment—fiction, fantasy, possibly fun. On the other hand, California’s struggles, many of them created or exacerbated by Schwarzenegger, shouldn’t be fodder for the former governor’s return to the Land of Make-Believe. It’s ridiculously egomaniacal and more than a little insulting.