With a full pot of coffee in his system, Michael Frizell is five weeks deep into social distancing due to COVID-19 and has a script deadline to meet by Friday.
He's used to deadlines, though. With dozens of comic books already under his belt, Frizell is writing about a new topic, the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness."
Frizell normally writes content about politicians, movie stars or singers. When his publisher told him to check out "Tiger King," Frizell said he was skeptical.
"Good grief, it was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen," Frizell told the News-Leader in a phone interview Thursday. "It reminds me of 'Dateline' gone bad."
The true-crime series explores the life of Joe Exotic (born Joseph Schreibvogel), a man with an affinity for big cats. The series examines Exotic's life at Oklahoma's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and his hatred for Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary in Tampa, Florida.
In the series, Exotic deemed Baskin a threat to his livelihood through her advocacy for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which aims to abolish the ownership of big cats as pets and the practice of cub petting.
As strange as the docuseries was, Frizell said he was ready for a creative break and launched into a script for "Infamous: Tiger King," a comic book through TidalWave Productions with art drawn by Joe Paradise. Frizell and Paradise were behind the “Political Power: James Comey” and “Female Force: Stormy Daniels” comic books.
"There was a lot to chew on, and I’ve got 22 pages to tell this story that wasn’t told in Netflix, so that makes it more difficult," Frizell said.
Frizell hopes to tell part of the story that was left out of the Netflix docuseries.
"I’ve had to do a lot of research, not only on how you raise a tiger but PETA’s stand on certain things and to dig deep into the characters," Frizell said.
Brittany Pete is PETA's foundation director of captive animal law enforcement and appeared in the show.
"PETA is excited that TidalWave Productions will reveal some of what ‘Tiger King’ left out," said Peet via a news release. "When readers learn how exotic animals suffer when they're snatched away from their mothers as babies and exploited for photo props, they'll despise 'Doc' Antle, Tim Stark, Jeff Lowe, and anybody else who profits from breeding and abusing these wonderful animals in shady, moneymaking schemes."
The comic book is slated to be released this summer, and Frizell said he's been overwhelmed with feedback. A radio show in New Zealand reached out, The Tulsa World ran a story and comic book websites are picking up the buzz.
"This kind of shocked me," Frizell said. "It’s been literally overnight. It’s an odd pressure at the end of the road to finish this script knowing that everyone is waiting for it."
To learn more about the comic book, visit Tidalwavecomics.com.