Superman: The Unauthorized Biography

Superman: The Unauthorized Biography

by Glen Weldon


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A celebration of Superman's life and history—in time for his 75th birthday

How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
  • Chronicles the ever-evolving Man of Steel and his world—not just the men and women behind the comics, movies and shows, but his continually shifting origin story, burgeoning powers, and the colorful cast of trusted friends and deadly villains that surround him
  • Places every iteration of the Man of Steel into the character's greater, decades-long story: From Bud Collyer to Henry Cavill, World War II propagandist to peanut butter pitchman, Super Pup to Super Friends, comic strip to Broadway musical, Lori Lemaris to Lois & Clark—it's all here
  • Affectionate, in-depth analyses of the hero's most beloved adventures, in and out of the comics—his most iconic Golden Age tales, goofiest Silver Age exploits, and the contemporary film, television, and comics stories that keep him alive today
  • Written by NPR book critic, blogger, and resident comic book expert, Glen Weldon

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681629209
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 04/28/2013
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

GLEN WELDON is a freelance writer who for the past five years has served as NPR's go-to comic book guy, reviewing all things funnybook-related for their Monkey See blog, main website, Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and national shows. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, Slate, Story, Washington City Paper, the American Literary Review, and many other publications. He has received an NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, a Ragdale Writing Fellowship, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Fiction. You can find him at

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1. “And So Begins . . . ” 5

2. Truth, Justice . . . (1938–1941) 26

3. . . . And the American Way (1942–1945) 53

4. “Strange . . . I . . . I Feel All the Strength Draining Out of Me . . . ” (1946–1949) 70

5. Powers and Abilities Far beyond Those of Mortal Men (1950–1959) 89

6. Not a Dream! Not a Hoax! Not an Imaginary Story! (1960–1969) 115

7. Kryptonite Nevermore! Briefl y! (1970–1977) 145

8. The Year of Superman (1978) 171

9. Superman Agonistes (1979–1986) 193

10. The Never-Ending Battle . . . Ends. For a While. (1986–1993) 223

11. Faster Than a Speeding Mullet (1994–2001) 255

12. Secret Origin, Re-Redux (2001–2005) 278

13. All-Star (2006–2012) 294

Epilogue: Man of Tomorrow (2013 and Beyond) 327

Acknowledgments 331

Bibliography 333

Index 341

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