Having a child’s eye-view is what makes the show unique: Ian Jones Quartey
In conversation with Adgully, Ian Jones Quartey, creator of animated cartoon series OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes, reveals what makes his show unique, his influences and his favourite animated heroes.
Cartoon Network’s new show OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is set up in the retro future which is unique and different environment from the cartoons we’ve watched so far. Could you tell us about how you came up with this?
OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is set in a mysterious world, in the far-off year of 21X, which is just a short hand of the future and is anytime close to now. While creating it, it was important to me that this alternate world and its characters give impetus to kids’ imagination.
If you had to pick up one aspect of the show that has triggered its popularity what would it be?
Many cartoons are filled with action, superheroes, robots and lots of excitement. But it’s also essential to make these cartoons relatable, friendly and inspiring for kids. The highlight of this show is the overall approach which is through a child’s perspective. Having a child’s eye-view is what makes the show unique.
Tell us about the Japanese anime and Korean animation influences on the show?
The show is inspired by some of my favorite Japanese and Korean anime. One of my favorite manga series is Dr. Slump, which is set in a small village with people who have different personalities. My inspiration for OK K.O.! came from this set-up, and I wanted to create a cartoon set in a place even smaller, which explains the shopping center. All the drama happens in this one place, where all the superheroes of the world come together.
What is the most important element according to you that is needed to create a perfect cartoon that combines both science fiction and fantasy?
I feel strongly that when you’re creating a world like this, a combination of sci-fi and fantasy should also have powerful characters. Every kid should feel like he can belong to it even if it isn’t his real world. It should fuel the viewer’s imagination.
Tell us something more about power cards?
We came up with the idea of a power card as something unique to each character. In the show, every single hero has his own unique power card stating the hero’s stats and powers, which in turn made all of them easily identifiable. Eventually, it became a fun thing for kids.
Collecting sports and superhero cards was at some point an integral part of every kid’s childhood. Trading these cards was a big part of my childhood too. We took all of this and rolled them into one cool concept of power cards. Originally, we were just going to have a big book of heroes that K.O. carried around but then we decided to include cards.
Who are your favorite animated comic heroes?
As a child, I loved Looney Tunes, they were extremely funny! Tom and Jerry was another favorite for its comic timings and physical humor. While I am usually pretty busy, I do really enjoy watching Rick and Morty.
Who is your favourite character from OK K.O.!?
This show is extremely close to my heart and honestly it is quite difficult to select a favorite character. But if I have to pick, I will choose K.O., Ian and Erin. Their strong friendship is a key factor which feels relatable.
The show premiers in India later this month so what kind of reactions are you expecting from the Indian viewers? Do you have a specific message for the Indian audience?
OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is extremely close to my heart, as we have tried to create characters influenced by our personal experiences. We wanted to incorporate universal truths about childhood and how kids look for inspiration in heroes and aspire to become like them. It definitely worked, and we saw an overwhelming response from kids when the show launched in the U.S.A. in July 2017. I really hope Indian audiences will also enjoy the show and relate to the characters.