OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes is the latest animated series to premiere on Cartoon Network. Created by Ian Jones-Quartey of Steven Universe and Adventure Time, the show is finally getting it’s time in the limelight after being originally pitched in 2011.
The show follows K.O., a wannabe hero who works at a superhero supplies store in a plaza. Living in a world exclusively populated by superheroes, K.O. is fixated on becoming the greatest hero there ever was. K.O. gets his practice fighting off the evil Boxman who owns a factory directly across the street and regularly sends evil robots to attack the plaza. OK K.O.! is packed with action, however the solutions to the conflict is never actually solved with violence and fighting.
The slapstick humor in OK K.O.! is consistent and terribly funny. Character’s over-the-top facial expressions and reactions happen almost so quickly that you’re left laughing well after it cuts away. Jones-Quarty states that this storytelling mechanism is something he learned while working at Advenure Time.
“People think of a joke as a set up and a punch line. Well that’s not all a joke is. A joke can be the funny way a character sits down in a chair. A joke can be the funny look that someone has on their face.“
Jones-Quarty worked as a storyboard artist and supervising director on Steven Universe. Within the first few minutes of the pilot, one cannot help but to see the similarities between OK K.O.! and Steven Universe.
“In Steven Universe, Steven has a favorite toy called G.U.Y.S. Guys Under Your Supervision,” Jones-Quartey states. “It’s about a bunch of weird different guys that all fight together and stuff. I created that and that’s OK K.O.! If you ever wanted to know what Steven’s favorite show is like, it’s basically this show. It’s a bunch of different guys who are a bunch of cool weird guys. A ninja guy. A fighter guy. An alien guy. That is essentially the show that I made.”
Perhaps the most obvious parallel in the two shows is the character similarities between K.O. and Steven. Both are kind-hearted kids who want to help others and be a good person. They both have an incredible amount of empathy, and just want to be loved. Oh yeah, and they’re both surrounded by ridiculously cool super humans/aliens.
The show is certainly different from anything that’s been done before. For one thing, the corresponding video game version of OK K.O.! was created at the exact same time that the show was being created. Moving away from the typical process of games being produced after a show has been established, this is an unconventional approach, but likely a better one.
The first six episodes of OK K.O.! have aired on the Cartoon Network so far, and the next air date is set for August 14th, 2017.