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Intelligent Life

Last week was a pretty emotional week for me because sandwiched into our week at Gen Con was a reunion with my oldest and dearest friend, a meeting ten years in the making, and a meeting 35 years in the making.

I’ve known David Reddick for at least 10 years, but last week was the first time we’ve met in person, which is something I think occurred to both of us the moment we were standing face to face exchanging “how have we never met in person until now” looks.

David is an exceptional cartoonist and you’ve probably seen his webcomics The Legend of Bill and Trek Life (which ran at Startrek.com). Both have been around for a while and been impressing people for years. But I want to make sure you know what David’s working on now, which is his comic Intelligent Life.

Intelligent Life follows Skip, Gwen, Mike, and Barry at work and at play as they deal with relationships, work, and everyday life (with a healthy dose of gaming, film, comic, TV, cosplay, conventions and sports obsessions)

Here’s what’s really interesting about Intelligent life: It’s syndicated with King Features. David is working with some forward thinking editors who are listening and interested in how webcomics work and they’re letting David do his own thing. Which is huge to me. For a national syndicate that’s a step in the right direction. It’s what we like to call a “noble experiment” and I like to encourage such things. The great news is that Dave is a talented cartoonist and Intelligent Life is a funny comic that you can read with your family. It’s right up there with Evil Inc and Sheldon (and PvP if I can be so bold as to include myself in such company).

David’s got a pretty cool day job too. He works at PAWS Inc, the company that Garfield built, which leads me to a meeting 35 years in the making.

Many of you know that my origin story as a cartoonist starts with that very first Garfield comic in the very first Garfield book. Jon Arbuckle saying that he was a cartoonist started me on this path and It’s been my dream to one day meet Jim Davis and thank him for... well... everything. I got that chance last week, the Monday after Gen Con. The Toonhound crew rented a car and drove from Indianapolis to Albany, Indiana because David and Jim had invited us out to PAWS to say hello and talk comics.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about our visit. I’m still unpacking and processing the experience. I really don’t want to say too much about it for fear that doing so will somehow diminish it. I will say that the old adage about never meeting your heroes is wrong. It worked out just fine for me. Jim was humble, welcoming, and most amazingly he treated me as a colleague. Which I still can't really wrap my head around. David said you never really get used to it. No kidding.

Everyone at PAWS was amazing, including Jim’s son James who is a kick in the pants. James saw me flop-sweating and freaking out at the prospect of meeting his dad and he offered me some woodchuck cider to help calm my nerves (which worked). James writes Garfield with his dad, is quick with a cool chuck from the truck, and he's a big fan. He loves PvP and PLOX and halfway through our visit he was suddenly wearing a PLOX ballcap and a huge smile.

We were all smiling. It was Bucket List stuff.

David might be writing about Intelligent Life, but I'm leading a charmed life. That's for sure.