Friday, April 11, 2014

G Force 5!

Daddy here. Recently Josh and I have been enveloping ourselves in our own play world together, using his Lego toys as inspiration. We’ve coalesced several of his Lego characters into a group, which I coined G Force 5. (I got the name G Force 5 from the Quinten Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction, in which Uma Thurman’s character had once starred in a pilot episode on a team called “Fox Force Five.”). The members of the group include Jack Knife, Wildcat, Razor, Quantum, Black London, Enforcer, and Cutthroat. The reason we called it G Force 5 was because the original roster had 5 characters, namely:

·         Jack Knife,
·         Wildcat,
·         Razor,
·         Quantum,
·         Enforcer

The characters Black London and Cutthroat were soon added after the original formation of the group, and so technically they are not founding members. But rather than change the name of the group to G Force 7 (which I considered momentarily), we left it at G Force 5 because it sounds a little cooler. Also, it saves us from the obligation of modifying the group's name each time we may happen to add a character to the team (G Force 8, 9, etc.).

As for the colorful names of the characters, these were brainstormed by Josh and I. Josh is actually highly involved in sculpting the G Force 5 world and its characters. The name Black London was solely the creation of Josh, without any help from me. I simply asked him what the guy’s name was. Not bad for a five-year-old, hey? The other characters’ names were coined by myself, always with Josh’s approval. Often Josh would suggest a name that sounds not very cool, and I would say, “How about [such and such],” which would be met with a hearty, “Yeah!” from Josh.

When I drew the picture, I was envisioning Quantum as the team leader, and Black London as the resident ninja/martial arts specialist, very similar to how Snake Eyes is for GI Joes. Hence, why Quantum is in the forefront and Black London is off to the side. But Black London is Josh’s guy, and so Josh has insisted that Black London is the leader of the team. So I guess G Force 5’s ninja expert is also its leader.

So far, it’s not too clearly defined what the characters’ abilities are, except that all of the guys are tough and awesome. But a few details are already established:

·         Quantum has quantum powers, generated by his quantum gloves. It’s some kind of crackly energy that he shoots at bad guys.
·         Enforcer has super strength. This was decided on mostly by me, because after drawing the picture Enforcer looked the part.
·         Josh is always making up new powers and abilities for his guy, Black London. Pretty much he can do anything, in Josh’s mind.

There are also some side characters that are not officially members of G Force 5: These include Dark Rider and Franklin the Pirate.

Dark Rider is an ally to G Force 5. Josh has referred to him as “G Force 5’s cousin,” I think because he means an ally but doesn’t really understand the word. I’ve tried to explain the term to him, but the cousin thing has stuck with Josh. When I drew Dark Rider for Josh, I envisioned him as a cowboy with a dark mask, black hat, and a pure white costume with pearly white handguns. The fact that the Lego character had a big cowboy hat (which we got recently from the Lego store) and that we named him “Rider” pushed me in that direction, and the character does have a horse, but through Josh’s insistence he also has a motorcycle which he rides often. I’m not sure Josh understands the character’s archetype, but he did approve of the costume design after I drew it. Josh often plays as Dark Rider, and he is clearly a rival of Black London for Josh’s favorite guy to play.

Franklin the Pirate provides a whole lot of comedy for us when we play. He is an honorary member of G Force 5, and is taciturn (i.e. he rarely says anything). He is a very mysterious character, which plays into the comedy of it. For instance, no one knows how or why he’s a bonafide pirate existing in modern times. He can also accomplish amazing, yet random, things that leave everyone wondering. For instance, he wears a shirt that has no back on it (that’s how his Lego character is, so we played it up). No one knows how he accomplishes this. Sometimes he has fire coming out of the top of his hat. No one knows why or how. Once he showed up at the G Force 5 base randomly with a pet dragon, which was very ill-tempered but completely tame towards Franklin the Pirate. No explanation. Another time he was using a surfboard to surf over top of annoying bad guys and on walls, etc., defying laws of physics. Whenever Franklin does these amazing and puzzling feats, the G Force 5 characters exclaim, “How does he do that??”  which is met by Franklin’s shrugged shoulders and the murmur of, “I dunno.” Franklin the Pirate has caused me and Josh to burst out loud laughing, and just looking at the character or talking about him brings a smile to Josh’s face.

Oftentimes I will come home and Josh will request, “Dad, let’s play G Force 5!” Other times he will ask me to tell him stories about G Force 5 characters when it’s bedtime. I was home one day, and I even heard his little friend Riley say to Josh, “Hey Josh, do ya wanna play G Force 5?” I even made up a ridiculously silly theme song that Josh thinks is cool. It goes a little sumthin' like this: 

“G Force 5! G Force 5! Hey Everybody, it’s G Force Five!”

And that’s it. That’s the whole song.

It wasn’t long before our G Force 5 team needed cool bad guys to fight. And so Amanda and I took Josh to the Lego store to get a few additional guys that could be added to the group of bad guys. I had a specific character in mind that I wanted to add as the mastermind of the bad guys – Colonel Klink. Of course, the name is a rip off from the old Hogan’s Heroes television series, but neither Josh nor I care, and the name is perfect for the character. Clearly inspiration for this nefarious character is a fascist military leader - a ruthless, ambitious, organized genius of a bad guy that makes the perfect antagonist that we love to hate. Other bad guys include:

·      Black Jack; he is Jack Knife’s evil twin.
·         Apeicon (pronounced “Ape-a-con” – Josh made up the name), is a half-man, half white ape. For this reason he is referred to by us as an Animorph (another name stolen from somewhere else). I think he is Josh’s favorite bad guy that I drew in this picture.
·         Lionox, another Animorph
·         Bone Crusher, a super strong villain that often faces off against Enforcer.
·         Hot Shot, who I think of as an assassin,
·         And finally, Long-Haired Maddigon.

Long-Haired Maddigon, like Franklin the Pirate, provides a huge amount of comedy when Josh and I play G Force 5. He is definitely Josh’s favorite villain to fight, because Josh always wants me to play him. Long-Haired Maddigon used to appeal incessantly for membership into G Force 5 (as its leader, of course), but his only special ability is the fact that he has long hair, which he is convinced is a very big deal. After being spurned by G Force 5 one time too many, Long-Haired Maddigon finally has developed an eternal hatred for G Force 5, fueled by his jealousy, and he is now obsessed with destroying them. The problem is, Long-Haired Maddigon totally sucks. Not even other bad guys want to be caught dead working with him. He talks a real big game, but every time he tries to fight G Force 5 he gets beat up; every time he tries to make a dramatic jump across a distance he misses and falls; and every time he tries to throw a weapon at a G Force 5 member he totally misses and it falls pitifully short of its mark. To make things even funnier, his main weapon is a shovel that he carries around (yes, a shovel). He talks like his shovel is very formidable, but hes not kidding anyone.

Another bad guy that brings some humor is Lizardman (not pictured). Lizardman is a repitilian Animorph that has a plant that grows out of the top of his head, which he thinks gives him special powers (it doesnt).

The bad guys work together loosely, but so far have not formed a cohesive team or working arrangement. Especially Long-Haired Maddigon, who is an outcast among them because he is basically totally useless and often gets hurt and/or embarrassed.

Incidentally, this is not the only time that I’ve used Lego characters for inspiration in developing drawn characters. When I was young, I played with a bunch of Lego with my brother Wayne. Eventually, the creative nature of Lego got my mind working on a storyline with characters, etc. Even through my mission I was drawing pictures of these characters, always holding the possibility of making them into my own private Graphic Novel sometime. 

Abigail likes to play Lego with Josh, too, but as of yet she has no formal character involved with the G Force 5 team. She's usually being a Lego baby tiger or something along those lines. But lately she has been asking me to make a G Force 5 girl for her. So it looks like that might be coming around the corner soon. I think Josh likes G Force 5 as a boys club, but there's nothing stopping us from making a character for Abby and her Mommy, for instance, as part of an affiliated group.

I'm not too sure how long Josh's interest will remain with this G Force 5 world we've made together, but I guess it doesn't matter too much. The fun and creativity explored together is its own reward. I hope Josh will have good memories of playing with Dad, and that these memories will help him be a happy man.

1 comment:

  1. You guys are so creative! I love it! Franklin the Pirate is my fav!