It’s All Journalism: Popping the Culture

Yakking with NPR's Glen Weldon

It’s All Journalism is a weekly conversation about the changing state of the media and the future of journalism.

It all started with Jacques Cousteau.

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t follow that for a long time,” said Glen Weldon, a panelist on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. “For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist. At age 4, I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist.”

In pursuit of his dream, a young Weldon memorized the Latin names of every whale and dolphin, watched the talking cetacean flick “Day of the Dolphin” and even became a competitive swimmer.

Thankfully for fans of his NPR work, though, Weldon realized in college that writing was a better fit for his temperament.

“The marine biology station at the school was just aquariums and tubes and plastic buckets and it smelled like rotting fish on a dock,” he said. “And every time I would take an elective course in the fine arts building, it’s like I would walk in and smell the chalk, the books and leather. And it’d be like peacocks walking down the hallways and people playing harps. It just felt like this is where I belong.”

Over his career, Weldon has worn many hats. He’s been a theater critic, a science writer and a bookstore clerk. His fiction and criticism has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and many other publications.

As a contributor to NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See, Weldon writes about comic books and graphic novels. He is also the author of “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography,” which is a cultural history of the comic book hero.

Weldon joined us in studio to talk about his writer’s journey, the challenges of covering pop culture and his upcoming book, “The Caped Crusader: The Rise of Batman.”