Glen Weldon

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

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
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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Monkey See
12:35 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.

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Monkey See
12:02 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.

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Book Reviews
6:03 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.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

A Tale Of The Estranged And The Just Plain Strange In 'New School'

Dash Shaw is a graphic novelist and animator whose previous books, including Bottomless Belly Button and Bodyworld, seethe with dark, mischievous intent. He sets out to unsettle, using the unique tools the comics medium provides to expose discomfiting truths about relationships both familial and romantic. A proud experimentalist, Shaw often shuns tidy narrative conventions in favor of raw emotion.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Globetrotting Cartoonist Heads Home In 'User's Guide'

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 11:25 am

It looks like a last-minute gift, like one of those tiny tomes that live near the register on the counter of your favorite bookstore, hoping to catch the attention (or at least the impulse) of shoppers in the check-out line. Given its digest-sized dimensions and jokey title, you'd be forgiven for assuming A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting is a hastily assembled collection of cornball homilies, like those miniature books about dads, grads and golf that double as greeting cards this time of year. But don't be fooled.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Women Find More Than They Bargained For In 'The Property'

Israeli graphic novelist Rutu Modan's deceptively clear and simple line work — she can conjure a face in two dots and a single, expressive pen stroke — is a deliberate artistic choice. Narratively, Modan's work (including the acclaimed Exit Wounds and her Jamilti and Other Stories) lives in the realm of the indistinct, the undefined and the hotly disputed. In her books, conflicts between family members, lovers and nations all occur in the context of Jewish cultural history.

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Monkey See
11:52 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Death Of A Puppy: An Exclusive Imaginary Excerpt From The 'Man Of Steel' Sequel

Henry Cavill as Clark Kent in Man Of Steel.
Warner Brothers Pictures

NPR has obtained [or invented, whatever] an excerpt of the draft script for Zack Snyder's much-rumored sequel to the hugely successful Man Of Steel. The script, which was found in a booth at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on La Cienega, suggests that the distinctive tone set by Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and adopted by Snyder's Man Of Steel will continue to inform the expanding cinematic universe of DC Comics characters.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE MOVIE

Screenplay by David S. Goyer

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Movie Reviews
3:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds

Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 6:12 am

Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.

Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.

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