“What if, to a child, what appeared to be an imaginary friend…
…were in fact his guardian angel?”
Such is the premise behind Peter and Company, a comic strip written and illustrated by Jon Ponikvar. It is a concept that is a combination of a little theory, a little theology, and a whole lot of imagination.The idea is simple enough. Say a child is having a rough time making friends, or is picked on and given a hard time at school. Or perhaps they lost their parents in an accident and have been forced to live through a series of foster homes throughout their childhood. Poverty, pain and heartbreak are all things that children sometimes have to go through… and sometimes they don’t know how to handle it if they’re forced to do so on their own.
It’s not an uncommon belief that everyone has a guardian angel who looks out for them throughout their lifetime. Sometimes it’s just in the blink of an eye when an accident is averted, or perhaps it’s something more involved. Suppose that, to a child who is forced through hard times growing up, his guardian angel reveals themself to him in a form that a child would be able to understand: the form of an imaginary friend.
After all, to anyone who has ever witnessed a child playing with such an “imaginary friend” in real life, you would know that it seems they can carry on entire conversations with this mystery guest within the realm of their own imagination.
In Peter and Company, the story follows this premise very closely. Peter, an adolescent cat, is having difficulty keeping friends when suddenly a new friend walks into his life in the form of Seth, a white-suited duck. Peter enjoys the time he spends with his friend, but soon realizes that he is the only one who can see him.
Seth is known and referred to in the strip simply as a “Guardian.” Other characters have Guardians as well, but the only people who can see them are the children who are already made aware of them. Throughout the strip, Peter learns how to deal with things through the help of his invisible friend. Wherever Peter goes, Seth is always following, even if he can’t be seen. A Guardian’s work is never done.