VFX OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes' creator talks to AnimationXpress

Ian Jones-Quartey talks about the animated series ‘OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes’

Cartoon Network’s new series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes takes place in a world inspired by video-games, expressed through the medium of animation.  The creator of the series Ian Jones-Quartey gets interactive with AnimationXpress.

How did you come up with the concept and the retro-future landscape of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes?

I wanted to bring alive an alternative world that all the kids could relate to. It was important to feed their imagination as well. I created a pilot a couple of years ago, called Lakewood Plaza and worked on the idea ever since. It became the starting point to have the backdrop of a futuristic world of 201X. The show follows the journey of this cheerful, enthusiastic young boy who earns a job at hero supply store, Gar’s Bodega, at Lakewood Plaza.

What inspired you to make a superhero like K.O.? Does he resemble any person you know or any super hero you were fond of?

K.O. is very much modeled on my life as a kid. My mom was a research librarian and during my childhood days, I would always tag along with her to the library – K.O. has a similar story. Going to her workplace helped me meet new people and explore, which was a real adventure for me. With K.O., we get to make those adventures quite literal. He is so much like the kids I’ve met. Kids love him and relate to his world, since his characteristics are similar as they too aspire to be heroes.

From when you started till now, it must have been quite a journey? Can you elaborate on it?

Yes, it has been an interesting and a beautiful journey. Since its inception, it was extremely important to build K.O. as a strong character, and to be a part of a successful franchise with a new and different format. After finishing the pilot, we created a couple of more touch points for engagement – a mobile game and smaller shorts. Our aim is to show K.O. as the young protagonist learning about the world, changing his perspective and becoming a hero.

Tell us about the theme song? It’s been a hit across the globe.

Mint Potion TV, headed by Jake Kaufman, worked on the pilot with me to create the theme song. He also helped us in creating soundtracks for several videos games and music videos. We talked about the theme song and because the world of OK K.O.! is inspired by video games, we wanted something that you would not necessarily hear in a video game. That led us to creating a funky disco-inspired song which fits perfectly.

Other big influences were classic kung fu movies which had some amazing tracks as well. We collaborated on the theme and I wrote the lyrics. I agree that the theme song is very catchy and can get stuck in your head!

Would you like to say something to the Indian audience once the show launches here this month?

The response from kids in the U.S.A, where it first aired, was great. I think what worked was that the show and the characters talk about universal truths. We have created characters that are influenced by personal experiences, showing how kids are always looking for inspiring heroes and aspire to be like them. I hope that kids in India too, will be able to relate to K.O. and his friends, and enjoy the show!

OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes will be premiering in India from 28 to 30 September and the character will grab the attention of kids and promises to win a million hearts.