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.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Graphic-Novel Gumshoe Rounds Up Unusual Suspects

Matt Kindt is a storyteller so fully in control of his gifts that his graphic novels — 3 Story, Revolver and others — read like quietly compelling arguments for the comics medium's narrative potential.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Niffenegger Lets Fly With An Adult Fairy Tale In 'Raven Girl'

Audrey Niffenegger Abrams ComicArts

In The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger married her gently wry sensibility to a classic science-fiction conceit, and the result became a literary sensation — as much a tried-and-true staple of book-club culture as cheap malbec.

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Monkey See
10:59 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Which Comics Should I Get? Your Free Comic Book Day Cheat Sheet

Mary Ann Shilts takes one of the give away comic books from the display rack at the New Dimensions Comics store in Cranberry, Pa., Butler County, as part of Free Comic Book Day 2012. Free Comic Book Day 2013 is Saturday, May 4.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 2:08 pm

This Saturday, May 4th, is Free Comic Book Day, the comics industry's annual attempt to sail out past the shallow, overfished shoals where Nerds Like Me lazily and inexpertly spawn, to instead cast their line into the colder, deeper waters where Normals Like You swim free, blissfully unconcerned about the myriad nettlesome continuity issues surrounding Supergirl's underpants.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Stars In His Eyes, Sending Smoke Signals To Mars

ESA Getty Images

In his slim but beguiling novel Equilateral, Ken Kalfus places us inside the heads of his characters with such deftness that the line between what is true and what they believe to be true fades to obscurity. It's no coincidence that the heads in question belong to scientists who pride themselves on their evidence-based worldview; Kalfus delights in having readers continually gauge and recalibrate the distance between the world and his characters' seemingly objective observations of it.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Mundane World Illuminated In 'Hand-Drying In America'

Ben Katchor's syndicated comic strips vary in subject — his Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer, for example, explores the surreal underside of our urban environment by documenting the inner lives of the spaces and storefronts we walk past every day, while The Cardboard Valise reads like a Fodor's guide to a country that exists only in Franz Kafka's dream journal.

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Books
7:03 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Beyond Visible: LGBT Characters In Graphic Novels

The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio, was one of the first Japanese comics to deal with same-sex relationships.
Fantagraphics

OK, yes: To gay comics fans like me, DC Comics' decision to hire an anti-gay activist like Orson Scott Card to write Superman — an iconic character who exists to represent humanity's noblest ideals of justice and compassion — is deeply dispiriting.

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Monkey See
1:33 pm
Sun February 17, 2013

Man Of Tomorrow: Superman, Orson Scott Card And Me

A new version of Superman, penned by Orson Scott Card, has caused a stir in the comics world.
HO AP Photo/DC Comics

Let's make this perfectly clear at the outset: I don't work for NPR, and what I'm about to say doesn't represent NPR. I'm but a lowly freelancer they're dumb enough to publish a bunch, and what I say now I say as me, which is to say:

1. An inveterate Superman nerd, and

2. A gay dude.

DC Comics has hired Orson Scott Card to write the first two issues of a new digital-first Superman comic. I won't be reading it.

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Opinion
12:45 pm
Sun February 17, 2013

Man Of Tomorrow: Superman, Orson Scott Card And Me

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 5:00 pm

Glen Weldon is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Monkey See.

Let's make this perfectly clear at the outset: I don't work for NPR, and what I'm about to say doesn't represent NPR. I'm but a lowly freelancer they're dumb enough to publish a bunch, and what I say now I say as me, which is to say:

1. An inveterate Superman nerd, and

2. A gay dude.

DC Comics has hired Orson Scott Card to write the first two issues of a new digital-first Superman comic. I won't be reading it.

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Monkey See
1:39 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

They Call Me ... Bruce? When Characters Outlive Their Names

Bruce Wayne is only one of the many characters whose name makes him seem perhaps a little older than he is.
DC Comics

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 8:26 am

Look, don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with the name "Bruce."

There are plenty of Bruces about, and good and strong and admirable Bruces they are, contributing to society in myriad ways.

You got your Springsteen, of course. Your Campbell. Your Vilanch. Your Dern. Your ... um, Boxleitner. Your Jenner and your ... Baumgartner, was it? Baumgartner.

Bruce: A perfectly fine name. Just not as common in the U.S. as it once was, is my point.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Collaboration Leaves Couple 'Drawn Together'

Liveright

What happens to underground artists after they step, blinking, into the harsh, flat light of the upper world? If they are Robert and Aline Crumb, not a whole hell of a lot — at least, not in their approach to their art. As amply demonstrated in Drawn Together, which collects comics the two cartoonists have created together since the late '70s, their specific subjects may change, but how they go about depicting those subjects — their shared impulse for autobiographical, self-deprecating logorrhea — remains constant.

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Book Reviews
10:56 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Bits Of Beauty Amidst The Gloom In 'Building Stories'

Pantheon

For the characters of Chris Ware's astonishingly ambitious comics project Building Stories, leading lives of quiet desperation is surprisingly noisy business. Plaintive, regretful and bitterly self-recriminating thoughts play on shuffle-repeat inside their heads, like a mordant Litany for the (I Wish I Were) Dead:

"Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the end of the world."

"At that point I was starting to get acquainted with the unfairness of life and learning it was better not to expect anything rather than set yourself up for disappointment."

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