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Holiday Gift Guide: Glen Weldon’s ‘Superman: An Unauthorized Biography’

Action Comics #241, DC Comics

When it comes to the holiday gift-giving season, comic book readers are notoriously difficult to shop for. I mean, most of us are down at the shop buying our favorite stuff every single week, so when the time comes for people who like us to get us something we want, well, a lot of times we already have it. That’s why we’re stepping in with a public service, bringing you comics-related items sure to make the season brighter, whether you’re browsing for a gift or just looking for something to drop hints about so that you don’t get stuck with a random assortment of back issues again.

Since you’re reading ComicsAlliance, it’s pretty safe to assume that you like reading about comics as well as reading the comics themselves. If that’s the case, then this Christmas is a good time to sit down with Glen Weldon’s Superman: The Unauthorized Biography!

Superman: The Unauthorized BiographyITEM: Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, by Glen Weldon

CLASSIFICATION: Hardcover book

AVAILABILITY: $19.86 at Amazon

Glen Weldon is a smart guy. I know that because I talked to him one time and he told me that I was a smart guy — so obviously he has good taste, too — but you may already know that from listening to him as a pop culture critic and comic book expert on NPR. Either way, Weldon is a guy who gets Superman, and to know that, you only need to read the introduction to his new book, where he goes through the 75 year history of the character, examining how he’s changed and evolved over the years, and how everything from his origin to his powers to his costume exists in a constant state of change.

It’s in the Introduction where he lays it all out:

Superman changes as our culture changes. The only thing abou thim, in fact, that has remained untouched, inviolate since Action Comics #1 hit the stands in April 1938 is his motivation. That motivation is at once the simplest of them all and the hardest to unpack: He is a hero. Specifically:

1. He puts the needs of others over those of himself.
2. He never gives up.

With that simple idea at the core of his understanding, Weldon launches into about 300 pages examining Superman, and if you’re a fan of the character (or if you’re wrapping up presents for one), it’s a fascinating look that you should definitely check out. If you’re buying for someone who loved the truly indispensable Marvel Comics: The Untold Story from last year, then more solid, entertaining history and criticism is exactly what you need under the tree!

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