Heartman was my alter ego, the superhero part of myself that would go on with his day while my real self, “a small man,” missed Melinda. When our oldest daughter, Chloe, was a kindergartner in 1998/99, I brought Heartman back.
Each morning I quickly drew on a Post-it note a comic involving Heartman and put it in Chloe’s sack lunch. Each image had something to do with what I had recently done, often with Chloe, and with Heartman waving to her and saying, “Hi, Chloe!”
The school Chloe attended had a policy in which students were not allowed to share items in their lunches, nor were they allowed to throw anything away. The idea was for parents to have a clearer sense of what their children were and were not eating. It also meant sorting through some nasty lunch remnants at the end of each day.
On the positive side, most of my Heartman comics made it home each night. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out with the uneaten apple wedges and sandwich crusts. Instead, I stashed them away.
Several years later, I found a sandwich bag filled with the drawings and created a scrapbook of them. If nothing else, I would have them as a reminder of the sweet project. It turns out that the drawings serve as a great reminder of what was happening in our family’s life back then. I also thought that Chloe may want them some day. Given she’s about to complete graduate school and has been hired to be an elementary school counselor next fall, you’d think they’d be right up her alley.
In the summer of 2013, Melinda and I had the opportunity to visit some friends in France. One afternoon we visited the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and saw a Keith Haring art exhibit. I was inspired by the exhibit to scan my little drawings and present them online as a way to preserve and share them.
That fall, I created the Heartman Comics blog.
I posted the drawings on the blog in the order in which I drew them, something demonstrated in how the later ones are much better than the earlier ones (ever see those first animations of the Simpsons?).
In total, there are 112 drawings plus two bonus drawings when Chloe tried her kindergartner hand at making Heartman comics of her own. All in all, it’s a pretty darn sweet collection of day-to-day parenting.