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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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American Boys: The 1st Generation (2009) — Oct 2, 2016

American Boys: The 1st Generation (2009)

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In the last exhibition, I introduced Washington, Dallas and Chicago, the first three characters I created for American Boys, the Stateside version of Britain Boys from the previous year. Since they appear on this drawing too, and I’ve already given their character descriptions, I won’t go into detail about them again. Chicago is drawn with the outfit my sister Melissa designed for him, as I loved it so much I considered it his ‘canon’ (‘normal’) outfit, and would draw him like this for the duration for the series.

This drawing adds on to the initial American Boys trio, introducing what I called the first ‘generation’ of American Boys characters. I divided each ‘generation’ of characters into ten for easier grouping and identification.

(NOTE: as I already talked about Washington, Dallas and Chicago in the last exhibition, I’ve left out their character bios here.)

  • Atlanta

A 15-year-old girl confined to a wheelchair. She became this way when she was run over by a car when she was 10, which paralyzed her from the waist down and so left her needing a wheelchair. She has frequent uncontrollable tics and ‘accidents’. Her favorite food is fruit candies.

  • Detroit

The villain of the American Boys series. He causes havoc by doing bad deeds like pouring paint into the city’s water supply, stealing food from restaurants or singing very badly at live musical events. He is a huge fan of rock music, and he will blast it out at full volume on his stereo or forcefully twang the metal strings of his electric guitar to annoy and enrage the others.

  • New York

An easily irritable teenage boy. While most of the time he stays calm, any insult made to him will cause him to get into a spinning rage, shouting very noisily and often flinging things about. He has a weakness for chocolate, which worsens his hyperactivity and disorderliness.

  • Memphis

A ball collector and fan. He visits the play area at his neighborhood leisure center every day to go play in the ball pits, and he has an attachment to balls of a certain color, such as red, blue, green or yellow. He likes to juggle.

  • Houston

The mayor of the city. He makes regular speeches in public places on a variety of topics and issues affecting his rightful citizens, such as the quality of education, cleanliness of the streets, and crimes such as the illegal dumping of garbage and vandalism. His long-held dream is for the city to be a safe place for everybody, especially at night.

Nashville and Des Moines, Washington’s assistants on House of America, appear on this drawing, but since they are barely visible, I’ll leave their character bios to the next exhibition, where they’re a lot clearer to see.

(Fun fact – I made Detroit a rock music fan because of the 1976 song ‘Detroit Rock City‘ by KISS, even though the band themselves are from New York. I would also change his design much later on to a more superhero-like appearance, even though he remained the villain.)

American Boys: Washington, Dallas and Chicago (2009) — Sep 25, 2016

American Boys: Washington, Dallas and Chicago (2009)

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In last week’s exhibition, I showed off some of the final characters I created for the Britain Boys series, and dropped the hint that a new series was soon on the way afterwards. This new series, though taking much inspiration from Britain Boys and following the same formula, would be using place names from a very different country.

That country turned out to be the United States of America, and so the series was appropriately named American Boys.

Taking the Britain Boys model Stateside would bring a whole lot of changes to the basic formula. First off, the characters would need to be named after American places and speak with American accents, rather than with British as in Britain Boys (although Britain Boys was mostly from England, with some Scotland thrown in but no Wales or Northern Ireland, so it isn’t really ‘Britain’). Secondly, it would base itself on American cultures and customs rather than British. Thirdly and lastly, the characters themselves would be completely different.

So as soon as the new year rolled around and the time came (I’d set the release date for American Boys as the 4th of January 2009), it was time to get creating again! I’d already had a preconceived idea for the first few characters, so I decided to draw on those first.

So I – or rather my sister Melissa – designed Washington, Dallas and Chicago.

As with London in Britain Boys, Washington is named for the capital city, making him the protagonist. I imagined him with a grey curly-haired wig like George Washington, the first American President, whom incidentally he and his namesake city are named after. He is the host of the popular prime-time variety TV show House of America, which airs every night of the week and attracts many viewers wanting to get their evening entertainment fix. His assistants on the set are named Nashville and Des Moines (more about them in the next exhibition).

Dallas is a cook. He runs his own restaurant named ‘American Delicacies’, and has written up numerous recipe books and amassed a vast collection of food magazines and recipe cards. In his spare time, when he isn’t concocting any new recipes for his eager fans to try out, he likes surfing the Net (possibly for even more recipe ideas?), going swimming at the neighborhood pool, or listening to his tunes on his iPod.

Chicago is a writer. Writing for the child and teen audiences, his stories are frequently based on his dreams, meaning he will start writing up on his ideas the morning after while the dream is still fresh in his mind. He has won many awards for his writings, like the American Gold Medal for Literature, and they often make headlines in the papers and on TV.

Melissa actually helped design Chicago’s appearance. I can’t exactly remember what was my own imagining of him beforehand, but she probably took design cues from the musical/film Chicago or the Chicago Theater and gave him that glitzy showbusiness look. I actually seemed pretty satisfied with how she’d drawn Chicago, and soon after I designated it as his ‘canon’ (‘normal’) outfit!

Of course, American Boys had only just begun, and these three just wouldn’t be enough. As I briefly mentioned before, I obviously still had a lot more characters in the works for the new series. Starting from next week…

(And yes, I did use American spellings. They’ll be used for posts about America or American Boys from now on, but any other posts will use British/Canadian spellings.)

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