The lovably absurd and absurdly lovable Bennett Buddies are the best at being best friends and the worst at being boring. If you’re on this website, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a Buddy or two in real life, on social media or maybe even on unsocial media (a handwritten letter to yourself). From the childlike brain and painterlike paintbrush of cartoonist Mike Bennett, the Buddies have been taking over the town of Portland, Oregon since 2019, popping up everywhere from sidewalks to beer cans, turning frowns upside-down and turning heads in their general direction. Now, Sonny, Terrance, Sofia, and the ever-expanding world of Bennett Buddies are ready to travel to where you are, bring a heap of joy, and definitely not raid your fridge for snacks.
…We don’t know why we said that last part.
Mike Bennett is the public joy creating Public Joy Creator who created Public Joy Creators, the Bennett Buddies.
Mike has loved imagining and drawing silly characters ever since he was born 700 years ago, frozen in a block of ice by a crabby wizard, then thawed in the late-1980s. While other children his age were doing normal kid things like little league baseball or skydiving, Mike was at home, doing oodles and oodles of doodles any chance he coodle, including his very first Bennett Buddies in comic strip form (his grandma has them laminated)!
While coming up with wacky two-dimensional characters brought him happiness, to one day see his Buddies brought to life was a hope he carried in his heart all throughout childhood, college years, preschool teaching career, and the many, MANY, times he was caught daydreaming.
Great question, you. In 2020, one of the only safe things people could leave home to do was go for walks. To give these pavement pounders a day-brightening, smile-widening outdoor activity, Mike put paint to plywood and placed Bennett Buddies cutouts all over town. These colorful cartoon creatures took the form of helpful sidewalk signage, scavenger huntables, and edutaining front lawn displays like A to Zoo.
Soon, word of these cute and zany Public Joy Creators spread like a wildfire of peanut butter, giving Mike the love and support to go bigger with his projects. People everywhere, both young and less-young, were enchanted by Mike’s immersive worlds like Dinolandia, the multi-floor peek into the prehistoric past, and Wonderwood Springs, the coffee shop that doubles as a caffeine-fueled fantasy frolic.
Over time, something extraordinary occurred, whether because of the overwhelming levels of joy Mike was generating, or the storm of cosmic radiation mysteriously focused on his house. But one-by-one, the Bennett Buddies started springing to life! Mike’s dream had finally come true, and, thankfully, not the one where he has to perform surgery in his pajamas! With his and wife Michele’s home now filling up with an increasing number of absurd roommates (and only one bathroom), Mike got an idea. He went to his garage workshop, used his third wish (different story for a different time), and created a magical gateway for the Bennett Buddies, to travel the world. Now, the Buddies can visit you and your friends, wherever, whenever, guaranteed to bring joy and fun to even the crabbiest of crabby wizard.