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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Monkey See
11:24 am
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 1:56 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.

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Monkey See
1:03 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.

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Monkey See
3:47 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Floating Eyeballs, Trained Bees: History's Most Cringeworthy Crusaders

Think about superheroes for a minute.

NO THANKS, you say. KIND OF SUPERHEROED OUT, you say. I'M TIRED OF BEING FORCE-FED AN ALL-SUPERHERO DIET IN MOVIES AND TV, SO ACTUALLY IT'D BE GREAT IF I COULD NOT THINK ABOUT THEM, AT ALL, FOR EVEN ONE LOUSY MINUTE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, you say.

... You are kind of touchy, has anyone told you that?

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Monkey See
1:26 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?

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Monkey See
11:39 am
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?)

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Monkey See
12:06 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 1:24 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.

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Monkey See
1:04 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 5:47 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???????

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Book Reviews
6:37 am
Wed October 8, 2014

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

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 6:03 am

(For stories are necessary lies.)

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Monkey See
7:19 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 2:25 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.

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Monkey See
4:15 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Dear Zack Snyder, Regarding Wonder Woman

Former Miss Israel and Fast & Furious actor Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 1:53 pm

TO: Zack Snyder, Big Time Hot Shot Hollywood Director
FROM: Glen Weldon, Nerd
IN RE: Wonder Woman

Dear Zack Snyder:

I see you've cast The Fast and the Furious' Gal Gadot as Diana of the Amazons, aka Wonder Woman.

I see, also, that the Internet has reacted as it can be counted upon to do, when such casting announcements occur. Namely, with fulsome, fulminating nerd rage.

I am here to tell you, Zack Snyder: Keep your head down. Ignore it. Make your movie.

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Book Reviews
6:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:56 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.

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Monkey See
4:04 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 4:59 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.

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Monkey See
6:03 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 4:55 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.

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Monkey See
10:04 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 11:04 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.

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.

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Monkey See
9:00 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 8:50 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.

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