LAO TZU: The Sage Of Tao!

"The universe is SACRED. If you try to change it, you will RUIN it. If you try to HOLD it, you will LOSE it."

LAO TZU: The Sage Of Tao!

written by Fred Van Lente drawn by Ryan Dunlavey colored by Adam Guzowski


Panel 1: Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey stand on either side of Lao Tzu, who has his arms crossed across his chest and seems rather pleased with himself. We have duct tape covering both our mouths and our arms have been bound to our sides. FYI, Lao is traditionally depicted riding a water buffalo


FRED: Mm Mmow meh mah me mammh me mah me memernal mow.*

CAPTION (small): *: “…the TAO (Chinese=”PATH” or ”WAY”) that can be NAMED is NOT the ETERNAL Tao.”

RYAN: Mmo mmeh mmreememm merem mermpmp mom mim mmow meh mmim mmout mmommemmem!*

CAPTION (small): * “So we present the following excepts from this legendary sage’s spiritual masterpiece, the TAO TE CHING (“The Book of the Way and Its VIRTUE,” c. 600 BC), WITHOUT commentary!”  

Panel 2: A yin-yang symbol

CAPTION: Under heaven all can see beauty as BEAUTY only because there is UGLINESS. 

CAPTION: All can know good as GOOD only because there is EVIL. 

CAPTION: Therefore having and NOT having arise TOGETHER.

CAPTION: Difficult and easy COMPLIMENT each other. 

Panel 3: Lao Tzu and the water buffalo, in front of the TV, play PlayStation with zombie-eyes. Empty pizza boxes, bongs, and other slacker detritus lie all around them. 

CAPTION: Therefore the SAGE goes about doing NOTHING, teaching NO-TALKING. 

CAPTION: Work is DONE, then FORGOTTEN. Therefore it lasts FOREVER. 

Panel 4: An INFINITY SYMBOL floats, but black, with white dotted line running down it, as if it were a road. Along it, waving at the reader, walks a globe with cartoony hands and feet. On either side, in contrast, are a human fetus and gravestone. (#7)

CAPTION: Why do heaven and earth last FOREVER?

CAPTION: They are UNBORN, so ever LIVING.  

Panel 5: A handyman in overalls walks away whistling with his toolbox, hoping no one will notice that all the gears and pistons he’s added to the globe has set it on fire … it’s leaking oil, totally broken! (#29)

CAPTION: Do you think you can IMPROVE the universe? I do not believe it can be done. 

CAPTION: The universe is SACRED. If you try to CHANGE it, you will RUIN it. If you try to HOLD it, you will LOSE it. 

Panel 6: A wagon wheel with a hole in its hub; a clay pot. (#11)

CAPTION: Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub; it is the CENTER HOLE that makes it useful. 

CAPTION: Shape clay into a VESSEL; it is the space WITHIN that makes it useful. 

Panel 7: A man-shaped chocolate “bunny” has had its torso knocked off, so we can see that it is hollow inside. (#16)

CAPTION: EMPTY yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at PEACE.

CAPTION: Returning to the source is STILLNESS, which is the way of nature. 

CAPTION: The way of nature is UNCHANGING. 

Panel 8: The hollow man-head opens, and inside is a glowing brain. (#16, con’d)

CAPTION: Knowing CONSTANCY, the mind is OPEN.

Panel 9: The hollow brain opens, and inside is an open heart. 

CAPTION: With an open mind, you will be openhearted. 

Panel 10: The hollow heart opens, and inside is a crown. 

CAPTION: Being openhearted, you will act ROYALLY.

Panel 11: Inside the crown is the yin-yang symbol. 

CAPTION: Being royal, you will be at one with the TAO. 

Panel 12: Inside white dots of the yin-yang is in an infinity symbol. 

CAPTION: Being at one with the Tao is ETERNAL. 

Panel 13: Inside one curse of the infinity symbol is the broken man from Panel 7. 

CAPTION: And though the body DIES, the Tao will NEVER pass away. 

Panel 14: Lao Tzu before a mirror. He has a big light bulb over his head. His reflection – which has enormous Popeye arms – is reaching through the mirror and holding him by the neck. Both seem exceedingly placid about all of this. (#33)

CAPTION: Knowing OTHERS is wisdom; knowing the SELF is ENLIGHTENMENT.

CAPTION: Mastering OTHERS requires force; mastering the SELF needs STRENGTH. 

Panel 15: Lao Tzu stands on top of a glowing sun – his goodness – looking good. Beside him a dunce (wearing the cap), has a big black rock on his back which he tries to hold like Atlas, and he looks very unhappy. (#38)

CAPTION: A truly GOOD man is not AWARE of his goodness, and is therefore GOOD. 

CAPTION: A FOOLISH man TRIES to be good, and is therefore NOT good. 

Panel 16: Lao Tzu has his mouth stitched shut. The dunce babbles on and on on his cell phone. (#56)

CAPTION: Those who KNOW do not TALK. Those who TALK do not KNOW. 

CAPTION: Keep your mouth CLOSED. Guard your senses. Be at ONE with the DUST of the EARTH.


Panel 17: Jack Cole’s PLASTIC MAN, wearing Lao Tzu’s robes, wraps himself grinning around a brittle Grim Reaper statue. (#76)

CAPTION: A man is born gentle and WEAK. At his death he is hard and STIFF. 

CAPTION: Therefore the stiff and UNBENDING is the disciple of DEATH. 

CAPTION: The gentle and YIELDING is the disciple of LIFE. 

Panel 18: Reverse of panel 1 – Fred and Ryan have Lao Tzu tied up and gagged with duct tape, and tickle him with feathers. 

FRED: ‘Course, MODERN scholars now believe that no such guy as “Lao Tzu” (which means “OLD MASTER”) EXISTED – his Tao is actually a COMPILATION of aphorisms from MULTIPLE authors! 

RYAN: But for an APOCRYPHAL figure he sure is CUTE, ain’t he? Coochie-coochie-coo!