'Washington Post' Spotlight on SVA Alumnus Ian Jones-Quartey
August 1, 2017
From The Washington Post: “On Tuesday evening, when Cartoon Network debuts its series ‘OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes,’ viewers can spot signage that might seem to spoof almost any suburban strip mall in America. But creator Ian Jones-Quartey’s scenes of highway-spliced commercial centers are inspired by one very particular place: the terrain of his Maryland childhood.
‘The world that “OK K.O.!” takes place in is an alternative-universe Maryland,’ Jones-Quartey tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. ‘Specifically Columbia.’
Six years ago, Jones-Quartey—a 33-year-old writer-artist who has honed his skills on the network’s’ 'Steven Universe' and ‘Adventure Time’—was working up a pitch for a series about aliens, but then he scrapped it to pivot to an idea that had emotional resonance for him. The seed of ‘OK K.O.!’ sprang from how much he loved the shops and streets and bike paths of his home town’s Oakland Mills village, where his family moved when he was 9.
‘OK K.O.!’ centers on a boy’s adventures at friendly Lakewood Plaza, where his kick-butt mother runs a dojo and fitness center, and where he helps out at a bodega that supplies equipment to heroes—all across Route 175 from where villainous Lord Boxmore runs his big-box retail monstrosity that sells weapons to baddies.
The series, which is aimed to appeal to grade-schoolers, pops with video-game-style action—its short tales even affectionately nod to gaming tropes—but the adventure is grounded by how family and friends exist in this suburbia as filtered through a child’s lively imagination…” (For the full story and more images, click here)