|George Reeves's dual identity|
Each year I like to change the Lunchbox’s visual appeal by using a new, thematically consistent Superman design. (I get bored easily.) Last year I used the George Reeves, 1950’s TV version of Superman; prior to this I drew from the brilliant 1940’s animation of Max Fleischer. For 2011 I’m going back yet another decade to 30’s—June 1938 to be more precise, the month when Superman first debuted on the cover of Action Comics #1, marking the beginning of the Golden Age era for comic books. But this isn’t the only thing on Clark Kent’s Lunchbox that’s revisiting its origins.
|Max Fleischer's Superman|
When I started this blog back in 2007 one of my initial concepts was to include a collection of posts on the paternal themes running through the full spectrum of the Superman anthology. At that point in time the economy had forced me to move away from my boys in Chicago, further upping the focus I placed on my responsibilities as a father, and this site, of course, became a part of that. Yet, aside from a few posts explaining how Superman’s life impacted my parenting and, of course, the influence it had in choosing Clark Kent’s Lunchbox as the title, I never really followed through this plan.
|Action Comics #1|
Part of why my idea never translated into action, I believe, was due largely to my overall lack of understanding when it came to the nuances endemic to blogging itself. I didn’t grasp the amount of time it takes to attract readers, or even more fundamental, that building a readership is contingent upon reciprocal interaction. Given that my early content and writing skills in general were essentially rubbish, not having an audience was probably fortuitous anyway. This being the case, I soon grew bored with blogging, and except for a few sporadic, puddles of drivel, I abandoned it altogether. With the enthusiasm gone, so too were all those great and wonderful plans I had started out with. Even so, on a larger scale, I don’t think my “Superman Daddy Issues” concept would’ve taken flight, since I had yet to learn some big lessons as a father, lessons that would’ve been the difference between coming across as contrived and preachy or authentic and relatable . Funny how losing one’s job and becoming a stay-at-home dad with a few hours to fill can change things.
For 2011 I’m returning to my idea of Superman-related posts. (Get it? Superman Returns? ...never mind.) I’ve been wanting to revisit this project for a while now, but couldn’t find the motivation until after reading posts by Just Add Father’s Wolf Pascoe (@JustAddFather) and Chris Buckley (@Chris_Buckley) of StoryWiseGuy, both of whom drew from the Superman story to illustrate two diverse aspects of fatherhood. In “Strange Visitor From Another Planet,” Pascoe recounted with poignant detail, his life without a father and how the Man of Steel filled that void even after being forced to throw out all his comic book collection. Meanwhile, in "(Anti-) Social Media and the (Post-) Parental Blogger", Buckley, who also works for Edelman PR, discussed the correlation between Superman’s use of secret identity in protecting his loved ones and the role of dads have in protecting their children’s digital identities on social media sites.
The depth and intelligence of these two posts had already convinced me the time had come to bust out the cape and keyboard, but then I got one final shove from the recently released documentary, Secret Origins: The Story of DC Comics. By the title alone, it’s obvious how intent I was in watching the history of the publication responsible for making Superman a cultural icon. As they interviewed full roster of DC’s most prolific editors, writers, and artists, past and present, someone brought up the absolute thrill gained from handing the same stories he had enjoyed as a kid down to his own children. And with this, I was already scribbling in my notebook before the credits had run. (For fellow nerds, I included the movie trailer below.)
That said, I’m not sure if this Superman series will run monthly or bi-monthly. Sometimes it’s hard to determine these things until you’re elbow deep. We’ll just play it by ear for the moment. But this isn’t my only plan for the 2011 either and readers should expect to find:
1. A more interactive Facebook page for those who “Like” Clark Kent’s Lunchbox: I’m of the opinion that, beyond serving as a broadcast platform, most Facebook pages tied to personal blogs are essentially an appendage that offer little interactive value; and so, I’m working on some customized page features that go beyond the blog. Maybe this will turn out to be a flop, who knows? I just don’t want page followers to be simply a number validating my self worth as a blogger. So, if don’t already “Like” the Lunchbox on Facebook, here’s your chance to validate me--I mean see if my idea flops.
2. Continued promotion of the best individual bloggers and the parent blog community as a whole. Although it’s been great to be working more, one of the downsides has been less time for blog reading, but I try to make up for it by promoting the best stuff out there as much as possible. For 2011, I’m looking to run at least one guest post per month featuring the best bloggers, old and new, who are interested sharing their writing. Also, if you’re a legitimate dad blogger who’s not already on my twitter list for the Dad Blogger Daily, send me tweet (@CK_Lunchbox) so I can add you. (One stipulation though, I say legitimate because there’s a growing number of guys claiming to be dad bloggers when their sites and profiles are either spam or a link to their services as a “social media guru.”)
3. And one other project that I'm really excited about but can’t give away the details just yet: Maybe it’s wrong for me to bait everyone like this, but there’s one more idea I’ve got in the works that will be a new twist from the way content is normally published here. If I can finalize the logistics, then some of the stories I blog about will be a lot more versatile for readers and hopefully more fun too. Keep an eye out for this in the next several weeks.
And with that, I’ll sign off. It’s going to be a busy 2011.