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Discovering Clark Kent’s unauthorized biography

In recent years one modicum of digital storytelling has excelled into the foreground — podcasting. This multimedia form allows new creative ways for a tale to be told, and enables creators to reach audiences like never before. Isaac Bluefoot did just this with "Son of El: The Unauthorized Biography of Clark Kent."

Superman is the one that started it all. Since his emergence in 1938 the Man of Steel has befallen many a reboot. His story is always reimagined with consistent themes plucked from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s original concept.

California resident writer and artist Isaac Bluefoot is tackling his own imaginative retelling of Superman in a creative way.

Who is Clark Kent and how did he become Superman? Learn the true story, starting in Smallville, of how this humble man became our greatest hero. Being the strongest won’t help Clark meet his greatest challenges; redeem his family legacy and save humanity from our worst tendencies, before we destroy ourselves.

Story description

“Son of El: The Unauthorized Biography of Clark Kent” is Bluefoot’s own take on Superman’s story, and it’s truly an original narrative. The California based artist began sharing his retelling with friends and family in 2005.

“When you love something dearly, like Superman, and yet there’s something that aches inside of you when you think about it, you’re like, oh, I love this thing, but something is missing,” Bluefoot said.

According to Bluefoot, his son, Kalel, who is named after Superman, was one of the main driving forces for his variation on the DC hero’s mythos. Bluefoot wanted his child to understand where his name came from, but also wanted him to relate more to the character as well. So, he’d read Superman books to his son and daughter, but he noticed the stories were lacking something and wanted them to have more.

In between bedtime routines Bluefoot was listening to “Superman: The Movie” (1978) and the description of Krypton being in a far away galaxy orbiting around a distant red star didn’t sit well with the author.

“My brain just goes ‘another galaxy?'” Bluefoot stated. “And that became like the crux of what was aching me about the story. Why another galaxy? Our galaxy is so big. ‘Star Trek’ [takes place in] just one quarter of the galaxy and [Krypton’s distance] seemed excessive. And it captured to me like this, nothing against all of that Superman, I love Superman, but there was a certain excessiveness that was going on at times.”

Bluefoot stated that he had this “quintessential moment” where he threw his hands into the air questioning so many unanswered plot points for Superman.

“Why does he pass for human if he is coming from this far away,” Bluefoot questioned. “And then that little whisper of inspiration hits me.”

Bluefoot said that he’s big into mythology and the mythological line “he made them in his own” really hit things home for him.

“I’m into mythology,” Bluefoot stated. “It’s part of why comic books are so dear to me because I think they’re modern [mythology]. When that [inspiration] hit, I was really in the Sumerian mythology at the time.”

Bluefoot said that he weaved Sumerian tellings into his version of Superman so the Kryptonian could relate more with humanity.

“I just cherry picked one and put it into the beginning of Superman,” Bluefoot said. “And it felt appropriate because I feel like Siegel and Schuster had a certain Zeusness to their version of Superman. So I felt by actually making that relationship exist, by fostering a new version of the story that I think, at least for me, stuck in my heart as more relevant to who we are as a species and as a culture, and at the same time felt real for how relevant Superman is to us as a species in the culture.”

Another key component to Bluefoot’s Superman story is seeing the world through Clark Kent’s spectacles.

“It’s the only way to get to know Clark, through understanding his peers,” Bluefoot explained. “I’m really excited to see what happens there. You may have noticed that I never leave Clark. I don’t go ‘meanwhile,’ with other people. I want to be completely from his perspective the whole time.”

Bluefoot said that this story is a valued symbol for his freedom of expression, and he’s happy to create.

“The whole thing is just about telling a story about hope and giving everybody a chance.”

Isaac Bluefoot

The story

Who is Clark Kent and how did he become Superman? Learn the true story, starting in Smallville, of how this humble man became our greatest hero. Being the strongest won’t help Clark meet his greatest challenges; redeem his family legacy and save humanity from our worst tendencies, before we destroy ourselves.

Weekly episodes began with Chapter 1, Feb. 22, 2022. Listen on the “Son of El” website or wherever you enjoy podcasts.


Prologue: When Krypton Returns

What if Krypton was a part of our own solar system?


Chapter 1: A Kid in Smallville

Every day is a challenge for Clark Kent, living in a fragile world.


Chapter 2: Fortress of Solitude

Into the wild, Clark follows the call of his crystal, urging him northward.


Chapter 3: Secret Identity

Imbued with new power, Clark Kent sets out to find his place in the world.


Chapter 4: The City of Tomorrow

Adapting to life in the city, Clark makes new friends.


Chapter 5: The Daily Planet

With the ability to fly, Clark begins helping people around the world.


Chapter 6: Mister Mxyzptlk

Pixie magic wreaks havoc beyond Clark’s comprehension.


Review

I first became aware of “Son of El: The Unauthorized Biography of Clark Kent” in January, and Isaac Bluefoot later reached out to me offering me early screenings of the series. I sat in my lonely cubicle and binged the entire offered series in one sitting. I absolutely loved it. I conducted a brief interview with the author in February, but then fell ill and spent most of my remaining energy on Editor-in-Chief duties. Now, I’m finally writing out my thoughts and sharing what I loved about this original story on my favorite superhero.

I don’t claim to be a Superman expert. Although my bookshelves are laced with guides, novels and trade paperbacks on the character, I don’t know everything. However, I do love Superman. This man from Krypton, and his partner Lois Lane, have inspired me in ways beyond belief. Hell, I’m writing about Superman on a multimedia site inspired by the character.

“Son of El: The Unauthorized Biography of Clark Kent” is like seeing Superman for the first time again, and it’s all audio. From Krypton, to Smallville, to Metropolis and more, everything is painted so intricately throughout.

Bluefoot’s carefully crafted take shares an indelible perspective that is shown through the aptly described scenes and the articulate voice acting. It’s an audiobook featuring my favorite fictional characters and I feel it pays great respect to the variations that came before.

This original adventure is truly one to behold.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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