Hugh Hefner is Stan Lee's new Professor X. In the Marvel guru's new TV toon, the Playboy chief will lead a team of heroic ''superbunnies''

By Gary Susman
Updated July 18, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Here’s an idea for a TV show: a suave, rich, older gentleman in a secret lair oversees a bevy of curvy, crimefighting babes. No, it’s not ”Charlie’s Angels,” it’s ”Hef’s Superbunnies,” an upcoming 30-minute cartoon from the brains of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee. According to a Playboy press release, Hefner and Lee will coproduce the toon, in which an animated Hef, operating out of a ”hidden world” beneath the Playboy Mansion, sends out teams of well-trained Playmates of the Month ”to combat the merciless, deadly enemies of democracy.”

The adult-oriented series, which Hefner and Lee were expected to announce on Friday at ComiCon in San Diego, sounds like a combination of Lee’s ”X-Men” (with Hef as the Professor X-like mentor to a band of genetically superior do-gooders) and his ”Stripperella,” his new cartoon series about a superheroic stripper, voiced by Pamela Anderson. There’s no outlet yet for ”Hef’s Superbunnies,” though it could make an ideal companion piece to ”Stripperella” on the new TNN (soon to be Spike TV).

”As a fan who bought and cherished the very first copy of Playboy in 1953, it is an enormous thrill for me to be partnering with a man who has done so much to shape the culture of the times we live in,” says Lee, 80. Hefner, 77, repaid the compliment, saying, ”I’m glad that a creative genius such as Stan Lee was around to take the appeal of the comic book superhero to the highest level.” Somehow, ”the highest level” doesn’t seem like what these two gentlemen are aiming for this time around.