Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

American Boys: The Fifth Season Characters (2010) — Apr 4, 2017

American Boys: The Fifth Season Characters (2010)

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Despite what I said in the last post, I didn’t give up on America completely once I’d moved on to Canada – not quite yet. Since there were a few more months to go until I would officially begin the Canadian Boys series at this point, American Boys still had a little bit of life left in it. I calculated that American Boys would now be in its fifth season by this time, with a new season starting every six months, and so I would have to create more characters for it before another, bigger set of new characters came in.

These new characters would even interact with Vancouver, then newly created for the upcoming Canadian Boys series, in an effort for the American Boys characters to learn more about their great neighbors north of the border. (I even wrote a mock ‘newspaper’ article detailing their encounters, even giving away a little sneak peek of Canadian Boys!)

  • Altoona

A self-absorbed 16-year-old girl. She’s always praising and congratulating herself, nose turned up and eyes closed with pride. She loves looking at herself in mirrors and having conversations with her reflection. She shows off in her walking stature, with others commenting they love the “way she moves”.

  • Fort Collins

A 22-year-old man. Having a twin brother named Greeley, he is slightly aggressive, and he shows this by shouting loudly and clenching his tight fists. He consumes a lot of meat so he can build up his muscles, but he then offsets it by eating heaps of candy. He relieves his anger by thumping pillows.

  • Greeley

Fort Collins’ twin brother. Even more violent than Fort Collins, shouting very noisily and clenching his fists so tightly together that he strains them. He is also more muscular, but like Fort Collins, his diet alternates between meat and candy. He relieves his anger by thumping pillows, just like his brother.

  • Hershey

A chocolate fanatic. He says that ever since he was born, chocolate has been the only thing that’s ever made it to his stomach. He eats chocolate bars, chocolate cake and chocolate cookies, and drinks hot cocoa and chocolate milkshake. He even uses non-edible chocolate things like soap, bubble bath and candles. Due to his undying love of chocolate, he has gained quite a lot of weight. He cares about the quality of his cacao beans.

  • Redmond

A shy and timid businessman. He sports a badge that refers to a certain computing corporation, and he always carries his ‘precious’ suitcase around with him. He is rather reserved in his speech, and he often hides behind other people’s backs, shuddering. He has a habit of laughing nervously and stammering when he gets into a spot of bother. Redmond is thought to be the timid brother of Seattle, which is actually true.

  • Schenectady

A 23-year-old man. He leads his buddies, keeping them entertained when out and about. He frequently suffers from an itchy scalp, which is the reason for him often scratching his head, and regular hair washes. He loves the scent of fresh morning air. He has a brother named Tucson.

  • Tucson

Schenectady’s brother. He feels warm to the touch because of a special flame organ inside his body, providing natural central heating. Just like his brother, his head itches a lot, resulting in frequent head-scratching and hair-washing. He eats a lot of spicy food to fuel the fire in his stomach.

(In case you’re wondering what the computing company is, it’s Microsoft – the city of Redmond, Washington is its home. As it is for Nintendo of America! And Hershey is named for the eponymous chocolate factory in the Pennsylvania town of the same name, often called “Chocolatetown USA”, which is why he is a huge chocoholic. πŸ˜‰)

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Seattle vs. Vancouver (2010) — Mar 26, 2017

Seattle vs. Vancouver (2010)

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Seattle and Vancouver in the Sky

The story that started it all.

After my chance encounter with Canada via a certain film, I grew increasingly attracted to it, until one day it would take over my previous romance with America completely. At this point, however, I was still working on the American Boys series, as I’d planned the (then) new Canadian Boys series to commence that coming January.

From that tiny seed, a tree of an idea began to sprout and grow. The first leaf grew with the creation of a new character for the new series by the name of Vancouver Burnaby. I chose Vancouver as the starting point because it is the closest major city directly across the border from Seattle, which was then my most favorite place not just in America, but the world. (My favorite places change all the time! 😁)

I had this preconception that Seattle and the newly-created Vancouver would have a rivalry, so this formed the backbone of an idea for a short story, appropriately named Seattle vs. Vancouver. Conceived during a work placement at a film studio in north London, this provided me with the perfect opportunity to begin honing my scriptwriting skills; today, the original script, as well as other production items such as paper puppets, are still with me even seven years later! (A digitized version of the script can be viewed on my personal Google Drive.)

A rundown of the story:

  1. Seattle bumps into Vancouver at the park, wondering why he’s here in the city of America.
  2. Vancouver introduces himself to Seattle.
  3. Seattle and Vancouver have a bit of a banter about their similarities and differences.
  4. Seattle infuriates Vancouver by calling him “lazy”, who retaliates by calling Seattle “stupid”.
  5. Seattle and Vancouver trade insults about both their countries, with Vancouver mentioning the Canadian hockey team defeating the Americans in the then-recent Winter Olympics (which, incidentally, happened to be in Vancouver).
  6. Seattle puts this down to Canada being in perpetual winter, while Vancouver reminds him that he’s the Rainy City. Seattle says he’s not THAT rainy, and Vancouver remembers he’s just as rainy, giving his scalp a good, relieving scratch.
  7. Seattle remarks that this seems all “America-and-Canada” to him, piquing Vancouver’s burning desire to fight and see who’s the better of the two of them.

SPOILER:

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The American Boys Super Heroes Squad (2010) — Mar 12, 2017

The American Boys Super Heroes Squad (2010)

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The American people are very well-known for their love of heroes – especially superheroes. They’ve been the creators of so many famous names in the comic book world as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and of course Captain America. (Although Superman was in fact created with the collaboration of an American and a Canadian, so he’s technically a North American… or he just has dual American/Canadian nationality. 😁)

With this in mind, I decided to make some heroes out of some of the American Boys characters, calling them… the American Boys Super Heroes Squad. (Not very creative, I know… πŸ˜…) Incidentally, they were inspired by the Marvel Super Heroes Squad Show, an annual of which I had at the time. I still have it, but it’s buried deep in a pile of wheelie boxes…

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The Marvel Super Hero Squad Show, the inspiration for the American Boys Super Heroes Squad
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The American Boys Super Heroes Squad Show – Cast (Version 1)

I randomly chose the members of the American Boys Super Heroes Squad from the first 18 characters of the ‘main’ series, who all just happened to be boys. (There are only three girls within the first 18, being Atlanta, Nashville and Philadelphia.) Considering I’d redesigned Detroit for the new year with a grey superhero outfit, despite being a villain, this would fit him perfectly.

Our heroes:

  • Dallas

He aspires to make the city of America a more beautiful place. His powers are based on fire, grass and earth.

 

  • Detroit

Although he was formerly the city’s most wanted, Detroit realized his villainy was doing a lot more harm than good to himself, so he decided to reform and become a superhero for his and everyone’s good. His powers are based on metal – both the steel and musical kind.

  • Houston

Mayor by day, superhero by night, his ultimate wish is to see the city a crime-free, all-American urban utopia. His powers are based on fire, steel, earth, and water.

  • New Orleans

A jazz music lover who is also a secret immortal, since he’s impervious to otherwise fatal injuries. His powers mostly focus on the occult (i.e. psychic, ghost and dark), but grass, fire and water are also used.

  • Seattle

A disgruntled librarian who, tired of the daily grind, wished to become a superhero. Against all common logic, his wish came true. His powers greatly concentrate on water, but grass, ice and even electric is also used.

Together, they are the American Boys Super Heroes Squad, who work hard to help make the city of America great. (Not a reference to a certain President.) πŸ˜€πŸŠ

And the theme tune – lyrics written at the bottom – was meant to evoke Ghostbusters, although ironically New Orleans could be considered a ghost due to his occultist powers and apparent immortality.

There’s also a version drawn by my sister Melissa, where Houston and New Orleans look mysteriously angrier than in my own version:

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The American Boys Super Heroes Squad Show – Cast (Version 2)

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The First 18 American Boys (2010) — Mar 5, 2017

The First 18 American Boys (2010)

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My first creative work of the year 2010 on this blog! πŸ™†πŸ½

Following up from last week’s exhibition, here’s a newer drawing of the first 18 characters from the American Boys series. (I say ‘newer’, even though it’s now seven years old, and it hasn’t been updated since, due to my deep involvement in another series…)

While most of the characters look the same as before, some have had a little bit of a makeover for the new year. Most prominent is Detroit, who previously had only worn a white buttoned shirt and seemingly no pants. This time, however, he’s finally gathered up some decency and decided to wear a superhero costume in shades of gray. (No, that’s not a reference to a certain book which has been turned into two films by far…) Though why he is wearing a superhero costume when he’s the villain is one of those little imaginative quirks I have, which can’t really be explained.

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New York’s outfit, which was previously monochrome, has had a bit of color variety added to it. He now wears light blue trousers and a pair of navy-blue shoes with his brick-red shirt. He still remains as testy as ever, though.

Miami, New Orleans and Philadelphia have also had a change of outfits. In Miami and New Orleans’ case, the colors on their outfits have been swapped around – (navy) blue, lime green and sunshine yellow instead of lime green, sunshine yellow and (azure) blue. I chose to darken the blue for their new outfits, since I didn’t think a lighter blue would go well with those shades of green and yellow when the color palette is rearranged.

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Philadelphia’s azure-blue outfit comprised of a shirt and pants has now turned into what appears to be a navy-blue jumpsuit with short legs. Her “angel wings” stay the same.

The unusual way in which I drew Seattle, Olympia and Las Vegas was due to the very little white space left as I got towards the end of the sequence. Instead of leaving them out (which would only make this the first 15), I decided to draw them making bendy yoga-like poses. With Olympia, this makes a little bit of sense, since he is a health and sport enthusiast. (His name isn’t Olympia for nothing.) Las Vegas, however, is trying not to let his jar of precious rare coins fall and smash into a thousand pieces, which is why he has himself in a rather awkward position…

For a more visual guide to the changes made, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 2009 and 2010 versions of the gang:

As before, all the profiles for these characters are located at these posts.

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The First 18 American Boys (2009) — Feb 26, 2017

The First 18 American Boys (2009)

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Although I’ve covered much of the creative work I drew/wrote during 2009, there’s still a few works from that year which I overlooked.

One of those works is this drawing of the first 18 characters from the American Boys series, drawn not long after the incident I described here. The rather interesting thing about this drawing was that it was inspired by a drawing made by my sister Melissa of the gang from the Read with Biff & Chip series (then called The Magic Key – see what exactly it is at this post). I obviously updated it with my own characters, my own art style, more colors, and a slightly different layout. I would later reuse this layout in another drawing which fits my current passions more… (You’ll find out soon enough.)

From left to right:

Top row:

  • Washington

Second row:

  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • New York

Third row:

  • Memphis
  • Houston
  • Nashville
  • Des Moines
  • Miami
  • Boston

Bottom row:

  • Philadelphia
  • New Orleans
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • Olympia
  • Las Vegas

(Character profiles for all these characters can be found at these posts.)

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