‘It’s a Good Life’ Drags ‘Calvin and Hobbes’-style Artwork into Adulthood
When I first heard that there was a webcomic called It’s a Good Life drawn in the style of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, I immediately assumed that it was a retelling of the Twilight Zone episode with Calvin in the role of Anthony Fremont. Then I took a closer look at Timothy Lim and Mark Pellegrini’s webcomic and saw that it stars a twenty-something Asian dude and his leggy girlfriend, and that no one is getting wished into the cornfield. Instead, It’s a Good Life is about a young man happily teetering between childhood and adulthood — and his troublemaking guinea pigs.It’s a Good Life is a love letter to childish things. Lim, who can draw in an amazing array of styles, borrows Watterson’s to draw himself with a Calvinish shape as the main character. It seems in part a reference to Tim’s small stature, especially in contrast to his girlfriend Schatzi, but all the young men in It’s a Good Life are similarly child-like for reasons go beyond height.
Tim still owns a Mickey Mouse hoodie, hunts for ghosts and plays Indiana Jones with his friends. His friend (named Bobbes, despite bearing little resemblance to a cartoon tiger), chronicles his attempts at gaining superpowers. Drawing himself in Watterson’s familiar style is just another way Lim celebrates the things he loved in his youth that still influence his nearly adult life.
There are even a few Calvin-worthy moments of existential contemplation. However, there are plenty of things you’ll find in It’s a Good Life that you’ll never see in your Calvin and Hobbes treasuries, including some racially charged humor (there are a lot of reversed Rs and Ls from pop culture Asian characters) and an extended masturbation joke that ensures I’ll never look at the Green Lantern the same way again.
With only a few dozen updates, It’s a Good Life feels like the remnants of a Sunday comic from an alternate universe. Amidst the introspection and geeky send-ups, there are odd detours, including a two-strip visit with Schatzi’s family in Austria and a handful of Christmas strips. They hint at a vaster comic strip that exists, at the moment, only inside Lim and Pellegrini’s brains. Perhaps they’ll take up It’s a Good Life again someday soon. My only request: add more guinea pigs.