I've been thinking about this Superman project a lot lately. I'm not reconsidering things I've written, or contemplating new chapter or anything like that. I'm thinking about how it's ending. I spent two and a half years working on it, from the spark of an idea in March of 2009 to the manuscript I submitted to a publisher in October 2011. That's really not all that long for an academic book. And I haven't looked at the manuscript, or thought much about it, since October.
Right now, the only thing that will get me working on it again is the promise of publication. My hope is that, one day soon, I get a letter from a certain university press telling me that they want to publish it, and they offer some suggestions on how to improve it. Then I'll start revising it. Or, in many months' time, another press will be interested in it. Should all that fail, I'll probably break it up and make it into separate articles to send to journals.
Regardless, that will be that. But what's got me thinking now are two things: my subscriptions to Superman comics, and my Superman google alert. Every month, I purchase Superman and Action. Every day, I receive a list of links to websites that mention Superman. And I read them all. So far, in those nine months since I submitted my manuscript, I haven't encountered a single thing that I thought had to be included in my book.
So why do I still do it? I have no attachment to the stories in either Superman or Action. The interest I had when I learned that Grant Morrison would be writing a monthly title faded quickly when I saw Rags Morales' art, and the storyline has been less than I expected. Some people like it, I guess, but not me. And I have not one single good thing to say about the monthly Superman title.
As for the alerts...well, they've become nothing more than a daily list of where to find rumors and pictures of the new Man of Steel movie combined with a catalogue of which athletes have Superman as their nickname. It's not terribly interesting.
Yet I haven't stopped. What keeps me going back to these things? Three years now. Does that have something to do with it?