Before yesterday, I didn't know that about Mo. His kids lit career got going after my own children were too old for his books. What we know him for around my house, and why my now-grown girls were excited I got to meet him, was that several years ago he was the head writer for the animated Cartoon Network series "Codename: Kids Next Door." (He also created the series "Sheep in the Big City" and won Emmys for a decade of work on "Sesame Street.") Laura and Robin charged me with telling Mo that their favorite KND character was "Number Four," which I made sure to do first thing, to which Mo nodded knowingly and replied, "Ah yes, the 'bad boy!'"
We later had a nice talk about that show, which intrigued me at the time because it could be incredibly dark and bleak, especially for a kids' program. You didn't see many 1984-style dystopian alternative futures in, say, Spongebob Squarepants.
But I spent much of my time with Mo playing petanque. Mo knows the game well, Cher coached me, and I seem to have a natural rough-hewn gift. I'm thinking of turning pro.
One of the nicer benefits of my cartooning semi-career has been meeting people like Mo who are in similar lines of work. When I was young, I sort of thought that if I ever reached a certain level of comics notoriety, I'd be taught the secret-society handshake and welcomed to the clubhouse. If someone had truthfully told me there's no such thing, I wouldn't have believed them. On the other hand, if they'd told me I'd someday be getting backspin tips from a person with a resume like Mo's, I wouldn't have believed that, either.
Mo gave me a copy of a little self-published sketchbook of his titled Float, and signed it to my girls. The drawing at top right is the "Kids Next Door" character Number One, because he's cooler than Number Four.