Monday, March 29, 2010


So this is it...

I've written up some fun little anecdotes about every season of KND, Operation ZERO, the finale, and last but not beast--


Most of you already know, oh how you know, that I'm sooper best mega blood brother pals with Billy and Mandy creator Maxwell Atoms. Yeah... this guy:

That's me on the left

And we had been talking about doing a KND Billy and Mandy crossover for ages... but an episode like that would take an extra sooper bonus extra amount of work. Especially when our teams were on opposite coasts! So we waited... and waited... and waited.

And before I knew it, KND was winding down and my life became a little easier. And then... like a puffy, middle-aged cobra-- I STRUCK!

Mr. Atoms was still pretty busy finishing up his BIG BOOGIE ADVENTURE movie, but we found some time to brainstorm together and came up with a story about Mandy commanding an army of pants-eating ants that ended with a big 'WE ARE THE WORLD'-type song sung at the United Nations that kinda went like this:

I believe that pants are the future,
I believe that pants can make us whole,
I believe that pants make the world go rooooooound.

So why don’t we try them on together?
Just one leg at a time.
I know that pants will make us better
If they don’t then it’s a crime

We’re wearing pants, We’re wearing trousers!
We’re wearing slacks, and that’s a fact, so let’s say wowzers!
We’re wearing pants, We’re wearing trousers,
We’re wearing slacks, won’t give them back-

Well, you get the idea.

But Cartoon Network DIDN'T get it and told us to go back to the drawing board.
And that's just what I did. Here's some of what came out:

Yes, pants were still very involved in the story... but what sold it for me was the Delightful Children From Down the Lane assimilating everyone into one big reaper.

Now THAT was a cool idea.

Now as I said, Mr. Atoms was still pretty busy finishing up his movie, so most of the writing fell to me and then I sent it off to him to make it funny. Especially the Billy and Mandy parts. For instance, I had to remove all the bits where the script said stuff like, "... Mandy grinned evilly..." since Mandy, in fact, never smiles. (Well, except for that one episode.)

So what else can I tells ya about the episode?

• Not only did we crossover two very different Cartoon Network shows, we dragged Ed, Edd and Eddy into the fray as well! And yeah-- that was Danny Antonucci and company doing all the work for that bit because if we tried to do it-- it woulda been peeyew stinky! Those guys rock HARD!

• And how could we NOT squeeze Fred Fredburger into the episode? But did you know that the voice of Fred was supplied by Billy and Mandy storyboard artist Carl H. Greenblatt? And dya know why that name sounds so familiar? Perhaps because he went on to create Cartoon Network's hit series CHOWDER!

• But before there was Fred Fredburger, Mandy was torturing Numbuh One by making him watch something else on the TV. Unfortunately, CN had this to say:

p6 – We’d rather not make the joke that Numbuh One is being made to watch Sheep in the Big City as torture. We want to avoid offending Mo and since it no longer airs, most kids won’t even get the reference.

I told them I had asked Mo beforehand and that he loved the joke... but they still wouldn't go for it. We then tried Evil Con Carne. Again, no go. So Fred got the part.

• For you continuity fans, you probably noticed that the Global KND were in their brand new Moonbase Zero, which clearly puts this story AFTER the events of Operation: ZERO!

• Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure the Mandified Treehouse below only had a teeny tiny role in the epsiode-- or was cut out all together. Perhaps you operatives from Tennessee recognize it?

• Look sooooooooper closely when all the kids are popping out of the Reaper after it's defeated. You'll see alot of other CN characters if you don't blink, like Bloo, The Powerpuff Girls, Andy from Squirrel Boy and more more more!

• And we sure had a blast coming up with those other crossover ideas during the end credits. I think Samurai Mac and Evil Camp Carne were definitely my favorites! We came up with a lot more but only had time for those five!

And that's about all my tiny brain can remember as of right now!

Thanks so much for taking these little strolls down anecdote lane with me! It's been sooper fun! And who knows, years from now I might remember even more stuff.

But more likely I'll remember less.

Monday, March 22, 2010


What's the short blonde kid in front of the Delightful Children From Down the Lane's name?

Well, it's not Rick.

And it's not Caleb.



But maybe this page from DC Comics Cartoon Network Action Pack #34 can start you off with the right letter. You'll need to look at the issues after this one to figure out the rest. Although I don't think we ever got to hide the last letter. I can't remember if we finished the scavenger hunt.

For those of you who don't care what his name is... please enjoy the sooper powered inking on this page by Rob 'The Iguana' Smith, penciled by Mr. Maurice Fontenot, of course.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Operation: INTERVIEWS was supposed to be the sooper triple grand finale LAST episode we wrote. But before that I was writing the KND/BILLY AND MANDY crossover. Maxwell Atoms and I came up with a really fun story about giant pants-eating ants--

Which was roundly rejected outright by Cartoon Network.

(More on that when I post tidbits about the crossover)

But the production machine needed to roll on, so we put the crossover aside and jumped into Operation: INTERVIEWS!

So how could we come up with a story GIHOOGIC enough to wrap up 6 seasons?!

How about a car carrier for cruise ships?!

How about a world-wide scavenger hunt?!

How about almost every character that's ever been on the show making an appearance?!

How about the final big giant huge reveal of the Galactic KND?!

And a big, fat, sloppy, weepy good-bye?!


Aw maaaaaaan, I LOVED when we came up with this...

How about LIVE ACTION interviews with the KND after they became adults?!


So what can I tell you about this mucho grande finale?

• Originally I wanted the scavenger hunt to involve an artifact from every KND episode we did. We wouldn't specifically name them all, but I thought it'd be cool to have them littered throughout the episode. A golfball from MINIGOLF, a turnip, Mr. Huggykins, the pizza from REPORT, etc etc. But it proved to be too massive of an undertaking... and some episodes didn't have blatantly obvious objects that represented themselves.

• Casting for the live action sequences was a bit challenging. We had VERY specific requirements for the characters since they had to really look like adult versions of the KND. We looked through probably 500 headshots and auditioned around 25 people for each character. It's sooooooo much easier when you can just DRAW the character the way you want... but here are some little anecdotes about each character's casting.

• We thought casting Numbuh Three was gonna be easy... but then made the mistake of asking casting agencies for a Japanese actress. And we got LOTS of Japanese actresses that would have made an awesome Numbuh Three! The problem was that they all had reeeeeeeeeally thick accents! In some cases we could barely understand a word they said when they read their lines (saying "The Rainbow Monkey Let's Go To The Lavatory Fun Park" proved especially problematic). So we had to go back and do another round of casting, but this time ask for an Asian American. And Ms. Sonnie Brown totally fit the bill and her kids were psyched she was gonna be in a KND episode!

• We met a couple really good Numbuh Fives... but Fran Jaye knocked us out of the park. Her attitude was dead on and she was a blast to work with. Which was important because she had the most lines.

• Ric Stoneback nabbed the role of Numbuh Two. While he wasn't exactly what I wanted visually, his laughter and sense of humor TOTALLY sold me on him. A very funny, easy going guy with a great personality!

• Curt Hostetter was hysterical and really threw in some great ad-libs. And his look was perfect for the aged Numbuh Four. But I think he thought we were all completely insane.

(NOTE: A lot of you have been asking for the actor's and actresses' names for a loooooong time... sorry about the wait!)

So what else can I tells ya?

• When Father grabs the KND with his 'Fists of Flame' Cartoon Network insisted they be colored green instead of fiery colors. We wouldn't want to flame-broil the kids, now would we...

• Yup... Nick and Chip are back. And I don't think it's any secret that Chip was based on baseball's own Harry Caray. And I'll assume most of you saw Better Off Dead? If not, check this out:

Can I just say that Savage Steve Holland is my hero?

• Pottymouth was originally designed as one of the background villains in Operation: MOVIE but the design department spent season after season demanding he get a speaking part in an episode. He didn't until Season 5's Operation: AWARDS where he won BEST TOILET-BASED VILLAIN-- a complete slap in the face to the Toiletnator. We originally wanted 80% of Pottymouth's words to be bleeped out, but CN was afraid viewers would be able to read the bad words on his lips. My suggestion that we record him saying NICE things and then bleep them out was also rejected. To be honest, I think his 'We're gonna flush that doody-filled poo poo cake right down da poopin' toilet' 'cursing' actually turned out better!

• Speaking of potty humor... I can't believe no one made us change the name of the log flume; The Drop-A-Log? I thought for sure that one was a goner.

• I still get the chills when Numbuh One shouts, "Because the Kids Next Door will NEVER end!"

• Since I wrote the first half of the special, Mr. Andy Rheingold was on the second half. But when he got to the big good-bye scene, he realized that he couldn't... or at least thought he shouldn't... write it. It had to be me. He probably only decided that when he saw that there was a LOST marathon on TV that weekend and figured writing would get in the way... but he was right. I needed to say good-bye to my children.
And it was painful. Reeeeeeeeeeal painful. I was bawling as I wrote each of those good-byes. Each was a killer in it's own right.

Numbuh One's Mom hugging him good-bye...

Numbuh Zero telling him to show those Galactic KND chaps how it's done...

Numbuh Two packing him some supplies...

Numbuh Three playing dumb...

The hurt Numbuh Four swearing that if Numbuh One needs help they'll come running...

and Numbuh Five leading Sector V again...


But Numbuh One's last shout of "KIDS NEXT DOOR... good-bye."


I'm gettin' all misty just typing this...
But if I wasn't, then I didn't do it right.

And I'd be remiss in not mentioning something about the little bit at the end regarding who ended up marrying who.


So I'm remiss.
(Mwa HA HA HA!)

(cough cough)

Um... Then there were the end credits. We decided we wanted to show a frame from each and every episode in those last 30 seconds. That's over 150 frames we had to pull... and when I say we I mean Post Production Potentate Oren Kaunfer and Aerial Editor Dave Courter! And it's harder than it sounds-- each frame had to immediately and totally read as the episode it was representing since it was only going to be on for a couple seconds.

But I still wanted to leave everyone with one final image.
Something that summed up what Codename: Kids Next Door was all about.
I thought about it a long time.
And I doodled a lot of ideas in my sketchbooks.
And eventually it came to me:

I'm proud of that.

Just like I'm proud of my five kids.

My Kids Next Door.

Monday, March 15, 2010


In Mr. Warburton's room
There was a sketchbook
And some pencils
And a picture of...

A squid playing music on a glass of wine?

And Numbuh One with a Samurai Sword?

And a sunflower with a cybernetic flowerpot?!

Um... yeah.
Maybe it's time to say,
Goodnight sketchbook...

Goodnight weird guy wearing a mask:

Goodnight Numbuh 513 (aka Scarf Girl)

Goodnight something that was found on the street and taped inside

Goodnight Jan Brady:

Goodnight Ugly Doll:

And goodnight dork with a guitar...

See you in the next sketchbook
Wherever you are.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I know Operation: ZERO has aired a bunch of times recently but I haven't had a chance to give you some juicy tidbits about the making of it like I did with the episodes. But I'm here now to do just that. You ready?


• Alison Wilgus (aka Numbuh 440) started out as an intern, but over the years turned into one of our best sources for story nuggets. And perhaps one of her sooper best EVER was when she pitched the idea that Numbuh One's dad was one of the greatest KND operatives ever-- but remembered none of it because of decommissioning. This made Mo and I scream like fan girls... but we knew an idea like that couldn't just be a regular 11 minute episode. It was WAY too gihoogic. So we saved the idea in the hopes of getting the opportunity to do a movie... and eventually that time came!

• In the same vein, Mo and I had always been asking ourselves, "WHO is even more evil than Father?!" GRANDFATHER, of course. There was even almost a Grandmother in this movie, but she just complicated things and got the boot early on.

• There's not a lot of extra time floating around when you're in production of an animated series. It's not like we had the time or people to make the biggest KND tale ever inbetween episodes. But there were a couple things that helped solve that problem. One was sooper producer Bruce Knapp's putting the movie into production inbetween seasons five and six and breaking it into 11 minute episode-sized chunks. The production of a movie and a series is VERY different, so treating it like a series helped us immeasurably. The next big thing was having Mo, who was done writing KND, do the screenplay. I was too busy with the series, but since Mo was the only person who knew KND as well as I did (in some cases even better) and had no other responsibilities with the show we only had to meet once or twice a week to go over stuff. The third big piece was pulling supreme storyboard artist Guy Moore (aka Numbuh D20) out of the series and dedicating him solely to plotting out the storyboarding of the movie. This was huge. He was able to roughly pre-board most of the movie HIMSELF and head off potential problems before they got to the storyboard artists.

• ZERO'S air date got changed so many times that it made it hard to keep up the continuity of the series and where ZERO fit into it. But that just became another of Guy Moore's missions and he spent countless hours adjusting things so that ZERO would work cronologicimally. And to be honest... I can't even remember how it does-- but it DOES! If you see Guy on the street, have him explain it to you. And then explain it to me.

• Over the course of the seasons we got to sprinkle a little computer animation into episodes here and there, but only because the folks running Curious Pictures were generous enough to let use their CGI staff whilst they were inbetween projects. It's not like we had extra money in the budget for such frivolities. But they helped us out, and in turn it gave them some awesome stuff to put on their reel. So when we were budgeting for Operation: ZERO, I wanted to make sure we had some money for CGI. Of course, we didn't have the money for a giant CGI space battle AND a fully rotating Moonbase like this:

But somehow Curious made it happen-- and I STILL love 'em for that!

Bonus anecdote: When we showed this scene at Comicon, sooper pal and Venture Brothers creator Chris McCullough punched me in the arm and hissed, "WHERE'D YOU GET THE MONEY FOR A CGI TREEHOUSE!"

• The montage where the Senior Citizombies gradually take over the world was originally a lot longer and included a bunch more really cool KND Treehouses including one in Las Vegas and Florida.

• Autograph-crazy Numbuh 101 was named Matt after invulnerable storyboard artist Matt Peters, who had (has) a bit of a reputation as a Superman fanboy. No physical resemblance, though.

• I still get e-mails asking whether the kiss between Numbuh Three and Four actually counts. Some people say it absolutely does. Others say that Numbuh Three obviously wasn't herself so it never happened. Me? I just think it was gross. See?

• If you ever got your hands on the script for Operation: ZERO, you'd be able see the real names of the Delightful Children! But the only one that leaked into the movie was the tall kid's (David). And we already knew Lenny's. So what about the others? Well, I ain't tellin'. But there IS a way to find out the name of the short kid who stands in front of the DCFDTL. No, REALLY! Here's how:

1. Look reeeeeeeeal carefully through the last bunch of KND stories we did in the Cartoon Network Action Pack comics.
2. In some of the comics there are some posters.
3. That's all I'm sayin'.

Can you figure it out? Maybe not. We never got to finish the scavenger hunt. But there's enough information for you to take an educated guess.

• If you don't cry when Numbuh One hugs his Dad at the end... you're a horrible person.
I mean, no offense, but you just are.

• And the end credits?! They usually get shrunk down really small or chopped out altogether on Cartoon Network, which stinks because they're really brilliant. They're basically 'snapshots' by department of everyone who worked on the movie as if they were KND operatives. For example, the storyboard artists are posing in front of a bomber, the revisionists are hunting bad guys in the swamp, and the voice actors are parachuting into enemy territory. Guy Moore did a great job laying them all out, the design team nailed all the caricatures and Alison Wilgus (and others?!) did some gorgeous coloring on these puppies. I get kinda misty looking at 'em because it really is like looking through an old collection of war photos. I wish I had some screen shots to show you but I don't. Boooooo!

I did find this, though:

So that's all the stuff that comes to mind regarding ZERO. I'm sure if I talked to Mo and Guy about it, I could dig up some more, but they'll just have to wait for another day.

All there's left to talk about are the specials... INTERVIEWS and THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF THE KND!

And I've DEFINITELY got some good stories about those...

Saturday, March 6, 2010


So last week my son's school had an awesome Family Reading Night!

That's where all the kids get dressed up in their bestest best jammies, grab their favorite stuffed animal, and then head BACK TO SCHOOL at 5:30pm! Then everyone meets at the outdoor cafeteria (so California) and chows down on pizza and an amazing assortment of treats! But after that comes the best part:


Uh-huh... everyone heads off to a classroom based on your age or grade and gets awesome books read to them!

And guess who was rockin' the Kindergarten through 2nd Grade crowd?


Not Bob Boyle and his sooper new book!


And not only did the kids get a heavy duty reading of 1000 TIMES NO! These kids...

These lucky, lucky kids...

Got a reading of my latest book in progress!

I can't tell you ANYTHING about it because it's a double mega ninjas hiding under the bed secret. But from the kid's reactions....

It's gonna ROCK!

(I hope)

There were some other awesome readers, too... who I didn't get to see since I was busy reading. But I would have loved to see my neighbor Willie Garson read!

All in all, a really fun night!