Master Zen-Dao Meow

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Master Zen-Dao Meow is a webcomic created by Patrick Schaefer, and drawn primarily by Bret Ward. The comic is also known as The Great American Comic Strip Koan.

The forum dedicated to this comic on The Nice eventually grew into the role-playing community known as The Napping Cat's Dream.

Note : The archive is part of The Dream's "PONDER" forum.
  • Ran from/to: Spring 1999 - March 28, 2004(?) - strip currently in hiatus.

The comic strip focuses on the title character, Zen-Dao Meow, as he reviews his past lives to solve a koan that will, in turn, save the life of a young boy. The strip integrates Eastern philosophies into a mystic storyline, one that has Zen-Dao trying to work his way to the title of "Master" - a title that, in past lives, he's arrogantly claimed anyway (hence the title of the strip).


Aside from introducing the reader to the primary goal of "solve the koan, save the boy", this chapter also gives them a preview of each Past Life in the form of lamenting Zen-Dao Meow's past "failures".

Past Lives[edit]

To date, two of his past lives have been seen:

  • The Maltese Mandala - Zen-Dao Meow is a "Transcendental Detective", working the case of the Maltese Mandala. The storyline is a parody of The Maltese Falcon.
  • The Spiraling Heart - Again, Zen-Dao Meow is a detective, this time in San Francisco. The storyline is a loose parody of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo; it was still in progress when the strip went on hiatus. This storyline had an associated role-play in the Dream, scenes from which are integrated into the comic's story.

These two storylines were the first of twelve planned, each tied to one of the the Napping Cat's twelve symbols:

Dream Ditties[edit]

There are also a number of side projects, called "Dream Ditties", that are self-contained one-shots that fall within the Master Zen-Dao Meow universe.

Dream Yourself Ditties[edit]

"Dream Yourself Ditties" are comics created from contributions by avatars (players) in The Dream. They combine ideas about Master Zen-Dao Meow with events going on in The Dream.

Napping Cat Chat Comics[edit]

Finally, "Napping Cat Chat Comics" are comics created based on the events of scheduled and unscheduled chats on The Dream's official Tag-Board-based chat system.