What if to a child, what appeared to be an imaginary friend, was in fact his guardian angel?Peter and Company
is a furry webcomic by artist Jonathan Ponikvar. The first strip is dated January 1, 2005, and has 170 pages in its archive as of December 2011. The comic is a solo project, with Jonathan producing each page using traditional pencil and brush ink instead of digital techniques.
The story revolves around Peter, a 12-year-old cat who is having a difficult time surviving through childhood. One day he makes a new friend in the form of Seth, a white-suited duck. Peter quickly realizes that Seth is only visible to him
, providing the backdrop for the rest of the story. Seth follows Peter around in order to offer him advice and guidance through the various plotlines. There are other children who have special friends in the world as well, and each of them can see the others' and even talk to them. Seth and the rest are referred to only as "Guardians," leaving the theological undertones up to the interpretation of the viewer.
Other main characters in the comic include Iggy, a simple-minded gecko who is Peter's only non-Guardian friend; Skin, a snake, and Iggy's Guardian; Chelsea, a bear who is the main antagonist in the comic and Peter's primary bully; Ezzy, Peter's sister, a tomboy-ish calico cat who thinks the Guardians are "ghosts" haunting their home; the Worms
, a sub-set of Guardians who are troublemakers and thrive on chaos; and Whitney, Peter's main crush and love interest, who is actually directly based on the artist's real-life wife of the same name.
The commentary on each page reveals that the comic is semi-autobiographical; while the artist claims that he did not have an imaginary friend growing up, the majority of situations that Peter finds himself in are directly based on events that did happen to him. In his foreword for the first Peter & Company book collection, he reveals that Peter is meant to be himself at age 12, while Seth is his modern-day representation. In other words, the entire comic can be viewed as Jonathan giving himself advice he wished he could have received when facing these problems as a child.
The first 75 strips of the archives are presented in a four-panel newspaper format. After that point it changes to a full-page comic with varying panel layouts. A few comics are also in color, which are presented as bonuses for donations made by the readers.
At present, Word of God
reports that an animated pilot based on this webcomic is being developed; plans are to shop it around to a television network to be made into an animated series.
This comic provides examples of:
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Whitney, an anthropomorphic cat, has purple fur.
- Animated Adaptation: A reality, if the aforementioned pilot gets picked up by a network.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Practically the whole cast.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Iggy.
- The Comically Serious: Korgar. He's an orc with No Indoor Voice...who happens to be a teacher at the title character's school.
- Furry Confusion: The comic features anthropomorphic cats, among other species. Yet Korgar has several non-sentient housecats ("minions") that he keeps in his desk and brings to restaurants. Peter, being a cat, freaked out upon discovering them in the desk. But apparently it's an accepted thing in-universe, as the wolf waitress who served Korgar at the pizza place had no problem with him owning cats or bringing them there. And then there's the fact that Chelsea has a pet bunny (who's really Persephoni, her Guardian).
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Chelsea sets up a prank for Peter to give Whitney a special perfume. Whitney is allergic to said substance, but it affects her far worse than expected and she ends up going to the hospital. (See My Fist Forgives You for the aftermath.)
- Guardian Entity
- Invisible to Normals/Invisible to Adults
- Jerkass: Chelsea, especially when bullying Peter.
- Kids Are Cruel/Teens Are Monsters
- Karma Houdini: Played with for Chelsea; early on, she gets away with doing things to Peter. Her JerkAss nature eventually catches up with her.
- Kick the Dog: Happens to Peter a lot (bonus points if it's Chelsea doing it).
- Love at First Sight: When Peter sees Whitney for the first time.
- My Fist Forgives You: How Whitney "forgives" Chelsea◊ for her birthday prank.
- No Indoor Voice: Korgar.
- Pet the Dog: Chelsea seems to be...intrigued by Peter's clay flowers. In fact, this was inspired by the Real Life version of Chelsea.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The author admits that it is based (somewhat) off of experiences he had when he was a kid, including his Real Life version of Chelsea.
- Stalker with a Crush: Chelsea, who watched and kept notes of Peter's habits on several occasions and went into a rage when he showed interest in another girl.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Seth does this to Peter on occasion, much to the irritation of the latter.
- Stuffed into a Locker: Has happened to Peter on occasion.