Here’s a dad that’s been doing his thing for awhile, and in true 8BitDad fashion, we caught on late.

Derek Benson draws video game, cartoon and movie characters on his kids’ school lunchbags. The 41 year old from Georgia played games as a kid, used to work at Namco, and enjoys playing games with his kids now – which inspires some of the art. And when he can’t think of something they like, he just draws whatever he liked as a kid.

I got a chance to talk to Benson, and he brought up an interesting point – before he had any information about himself on his Tumblr account, people assumed he was a mom. Benson would get scathing comments on his work – women betting that the lunches inside the bags were terrible, or insisting that (s)he had to have had a maid to have the time to do this sort of thing. “I added two lines about being a father, and doing this during my lunch break,” Benson told me. “Suddenly the internet was all smiles.” And that’s not all – after he was found to be a loving father, not a lazy mother, he was even featured in Parents Magazine!

“In other words,” Benson concluded, “we expect nothing from fathers and everything from mothers.” Sad but true. I think fathers get more praise for simple things because the bar’s been set too low and fathers are still looked at like big children. That’s a whole ‘nother article though.

Oh, BTW – Benson was so good that Sharpie actually “sponsored” him.

I thanked Benson for chatting with me and told him his kids must be proud. “Actually they’re pretty much over it; I’m the Embarrassing Dad now,” Benson answered. Hah!

Check out the gallery below of some of our favorites, and check the sauce for Benson’s other awesome bags! He even links to other fathers that send their kids to school with works of art on their bags. I can’t wait to be part of that list someday!