NEW YORK Celebrity chef Paula Deen, who lost book deals, contracts and her television cooking show on The Food Network after she admitted using a racial slur, is set to be a comic book star of female empowerment, a publisher said on Wednesday.
Bluewater Productions, which publishes a series of female celebrity-driven comic books, said the biography comic book called "Female Force: Paula Deen" will be released in October and include Deen's fall from grace.
"She really changed cooking - and Southern cooking - for women," said Bluewater President Darren G. Davis, who added that the comic book had been in the works for several months before many of Deen's business partners cut ties with her.
Davis said Bluewater, which has partnered with celebrities such as TV host Ellen DeGeneres and actor William Shatner, had reached out to Deen for a partnership several months earlier but the 66-year-old Southern food doyenne has not yet responded.
The partnership would involve the company donating money to a charity chosen by Deen and running ads for the charity on Deen's behalf. Deen will not receive any money from the comic.
"We're not jumping on the bandwagon," Davis said about Deen's business partners who distanced their brands from the celebrity chef.
"We're moving forward with this 'Female Force' series because she fits in with women like Julia Child and Barbara Walters," David added. "We're not going to flambé her."
The bulk of the comic book will be about the entrepreneur who turned a home-based catering business into a culinary empire. Printings of the comic books range from about 1,000 copies to 150,000, Davis said, but he didn't yet know how many Paula Deen copies would go to print.
Deen's multi-million dollar business of cookbooks, restaurants and home supplies began to crumble last month when a legal deposition was released in which Deen, who is white, said that she had used the "N-word" in the past.
Although Deen said she never intentionally hurt anyone, she lost about a dozen business deals after the deposition surfaced in court documents, including partnerships with retailers Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney, additional reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles, editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman)