Glen Weldon

Glen Weldon is a regular panelist on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He also reviews books and movies for NPR.org and is a contributor to NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See, where he posts weekly about comics and comics culture.

Over the course of his career, he has spent time as a theater critic, a science writer, an oral historian, a writing teacher, a bookstore clerk, a PR flack, a seriously terrible marine biologist and a slightly better-than-average competitive swimmer.

Weldon is the author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, a cultural history of the iconic character. His fiction and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Slate, Story, McSweeney's, The Dallas Morning News, Washington City Paper and many other publications. He is the recipient of an NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, a Ragdale Writing Fellowship and a PEW Fellowship in the Arts for Fiction.

Pages

Monkey See
6:03 am
Tue August 18, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch: The End Of The Tour

Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in The End Of The Tour.
A24

The End Of The Tour is an odd little film, made more so by the fact that it's being rolled out at the height of summer, a span of the cinematic year not generally associated with talky two-handers about writers, writing and the wages of literary fame.

Read more
Monkey See
2:07 pm
Tue August 11, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch: Fantastic Four

From left: Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Sue Storm (Kate Mara) in the new Fantastic Four.
Twentieth Century Fox

Well, that is a thing that happened.

Fantastic Four came out last weekend, only to encounter less-than-stellar reviews and box office. Our own Chris Klimek saw it for NPR.org and summed up its squandered potential with his usual nerd-cred eloquence, so I sat down with him for Pop Culture Happy Hour to discuss what went wrong and why.

Read more
Monkey See
8:29 am
Sun July 12, 2015

French, English, Comics: Proust On Memory, In Any Language

Marcel Proust
Omikron Omikron Photo Researchers RM/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 8:04 pm

[Deep breath.]

So there's this new English translation of a French graphic novel adaptation of Swann's Way, the first of seven novels in Marcel Proust's masterwork, In Search of Lost Time.

Got all that? First there was the 1913 novel by Proust (in French!), then a graphic novel adaptation by Stephane Heuet (in French!) that was published in installments between in 1998 and 2013, and now that whole thing has been translated by Arthur Goldhammer (into English!).

Read more
Monkey See
3:35 pm
Tue July 7, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: 'Terminator Genisys'

A Series T-800 Robot in Terminator Genisys.
Melinda Sue Gordon Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions

Faithful Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners know that contributor Chris Klimek is a lifelong action-movie enthusiast, but they may not know that he is, in particular, a Terminator movie connoisseur. Which is why, for this Small Batch edition, I asked him to Skype in from the Connecticut coastline, where he is estivating while on a prestigious writing fellowship, to talk about the fifth film in the Terminator series, the enervatingly spelled Terminator Genisys.

Read more
Monkey See
12:24 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

After 25 Years, A Comics Publisher Pauses To Collect And Reflect

Drawn and Quarterly

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 2:56 pm

Drawn and Quarterly, the Montreal-based publisher of comics and graphic novels, began life as a magazine, released in April of 1990. That first issue served as a de facto mission statement, laying out what the company would one day achieve on a grander scale – and what it would strive always to avoid.

Read more
Monkey See
2:03 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch: 'Sense8'

Daryl Hannah in Sense8.
Murray Close Netflix

In this Small Batch edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour, I sat down with promising NPR up-and-comer Audie Cornish to discuss the new Netflix streaming science-fiction series, Sense8.

Read more
Monkey See
2:26 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Small Batch: 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa.
Jasin Boland Warner Bros.

Another sequel, another chance for Hollywood to hurl metal hither and yon and make with the flashy summer blockbuster blow-'em-ups. Yawn, right?

Read more
Monkey See
12:39 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Free Comic Book Day: A Guide To The Heroes, Musicians And Mutants

Help the CBLDF Defend Comics
Diamond Comic Distributors

Another first Saturday in May, another blockbuster superhero movie set to bust our collective blocks, another Free Comic Book Day.

"What's Free Comic Book Day?" you ask, because you've managed to ignore the gallons of virtual ink I've spilled about it on this blog every year since 2009.

(No look it's fine, I get it, but at this point it's starting to look like willful obtuseness on your part, ok?)

Read more
Monkey See
1:06 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

The Comedy And Good Conversation Of Harris Wittels

Along with Colton Dunn (L), Harris Wittels (R) played a bumbling member of the Pawnee animal control team on the show he co-executive-produced, Parks And Recreation.
Ben Cohen NBC

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 2:24 pm

Harris Wittels died Thursday. He was a stand-up comic, a television writer/producer, a musician, a frequent and dependably hilarious guest on comedy podcasts, and an author who unleashed the concept of the #humblebrag upon the cultural landscape.

He was 30 years old.

When anyone dies, our sadness is tinged with something darker and more selfish; we resent the time we'll never get to spend with that person, the days and months and years that will pile up without their presence.

Read more
Monkey See
2:04 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Wolverine's Death: Superheroes And The Cycle Of Eternal Return

Go on, guess what it's about.
Marvel

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 6:47 pm

The fourth and final issue of the weekly, four-issue Marvel Comics miniseries Death of Wolverine, written by Charles Soule and drawn by Steve McNiven, will be published Wednesday. This prompted an incredulous text from a friend, Golfrguy, to NPR's nerd-about-town Glen Weldon:

Golfrguy: dude they're killing off wolverine???????

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed October 8, 2014

A Hairy, Sardonic Fable In 'The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil'

(For stories are necessary lies.)

Read more
Monkey See
8:19 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Cyborgs, Simpsons And Ticks: All About Free Comic Book Day

The cover of The Tick, one of many --€” 57, in fact --€” comics you may be able to snag at no charge on Saturday, Free Comic Book Day.
Fantagraphics

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 3:25 pm

Here's the drill: This Saturday, May 3rd, is Free Comic Book Day. Walk into a comics shop (you can find the one nearest you at www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator), and they will hand you some free comics.

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Moving Fables Of Gods, Men, Love And Monsters In 'Early Earth'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:56 am

Despite its title, British writer and illustrator Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is not mere history, with its assiduous accounting of dusty facts, but is instead a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love.

Read more
Monkey See
4:37 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Alice Munro, The Punchbowl And Everyday Villainy

Short story author Alice Munro, seen here in Dublin in 2009, won the Nobel Prize in Literature today. Her stories often touched on a less obvious form of evil.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 5:59 pm

Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature today, taught me something important and abiding and true about evil.

Specifically, she taught me about that singular species of evil we swim through all our lives. It's the evil to which we petty humans default, even — especially — as we reassure ourselves that we are blessed creatures, generous of spirit. It's the evil born of thoughtlessness and self-regard, and it crouches, waiting, in every conversation, every appraising look, every single human interaction that fills up our days.

Read more
Monkey See
7:03 am
Sat July 27, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary: The Final Day

A lone, sad stormtrooper descends an escalator.
JC Moya Courtesy Glen Weldon

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 5:55 am

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.

Read more
Monkey See
11:04 am
Wed July 24, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary: The Eisner Awards

The 2013 Eisner Awards conclude with Chip Kidd planting one on Neil Gaiman over the jealous protestations of Jonathan Ross.
Maggie Thompson

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:04 pm

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.

8:28 p.m.: Jennifer and Matthew Holm are an adorable brother-sister team. They are standing at a podium less than 6 feet away from me and thanking their publisher, because their charming book, Babymouse for President, has just won the Eisner for Best Publication for Early Readers.

Read more
Monkey See
10:00 am
Mon July 22, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary, Day 2: Man Of Steel, Man Of Urgency

Beckham the dog sports a Superman costume during Comic-Con on July 19, 2013 in San Diego. For Comic-Con, this is perfectly normal.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 9:50 am

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.

9:30 a.m.: I file the Day 1 diary with Linda and send out a tweet asking Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners who are attending Comic-Con to come to the Marriott bar at 5:30 today to get a PCHH pin. It's something on the order of a "meetup," as the kids say.

Yeah, I know. I don't recognize myself either.

Read more
Monkey See
1:35 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary, Day One: Faces In The Crowd And A Book In The Middle

Fans crowd the entrance to the San Diego Convention Center on the first day of Comic-Con International 2013 in San Diego.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon is headed to San Diego Comic-Con. He's filing periodic updates from one of the largest media events in the world.

Special note: If you're at SDCC, there will be an unofficial Pop Culture Happy Hour meetup in the Marina Bar at the Marriott Marquis and Marina Friday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. (Don't get excited, It'll just be Glen handing out PCHH pins.)

9:02 a.m. (all times PT): I am sitting in a boat between Goth Wonder Woman and an entertainment lawyer.

Read more
Monkey See
1:02 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

A Comic-Con Diary, Day Zero, Part II: A Man Waits For A Batmobile On Preview Night

Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon is headed to San Diego Comic-Con. He's filing periodic updates from one of the largest media events in the world.

I am a 45-year-old man standing in line for a toy Batmobile.

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Theoretical Physicist Seeks Concrete Answers In 'Genius'

Ted is a theoretical physicist facing a slew of resolutely concrete problems. His son is racing headlong into puberty. His daughter's prodigious intellect causes her to stand out at school — the very last thing the girl wants. His elderly father-in-law isn't remembering much, these days, save for the fact that he hates Ted's guts. His wife is sick and getting sicker, just as his employer, a prominent think tank, threatens to fire him for lack of productivity. To keep his job, and its health care coverage, Ted needs an idea.

Read more

Pages