Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
by Glen Weldon
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Wiley (first published March 20th 2013)
ISBN 1118341848 (ISBN 13: 9781118341841)
English Edition language
For those of you who are DC universe fans but not particularly a Superman fan, this book is ideal for you. Superman, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, is the most iconic superhero in comics and pop culture in general. He was the first “Super” Hero and thanks to him the Golden Age of comics was born. In this book, Glen Weldon carefully describes superman’s history not only of the comic books but also of the movies, TV series, etc… Weldon manages to condense 75 years of history and continuity into this single volume. That is a pretty impressive feat in itself. He also notices how Superman was shaped by the media portraying him and his effect on pop culture.
This book is the perfect read before or after the latest Superman movie, Man of Steel. Fans get every detail and interpretation of the man of steel throughout his rich 75 years of history. I, being a Batman fan, primarily enjoyed catching up with the most important story lines of Superman’s carrier and his many different interpretations in the media industry in general.
I recommend reading this book before watching the movie so that you can appreciate Superman’s rich history and why he has become such an important icon of the world. Then you can compare how this new movie redefines superman’s origin for the big screen.
Weldon has made me care about Superman. He has translated, explained, and represented Superman, to me, a comic book fan that has never really cared for the big guy before.
What Glen Weldon has done in this book, that is different from other people talking about Superman, is describe Superman’s history so lovingly, so thoroughly, with such humor and passion and joy that I have come to appreciate Superman.
Superman: An Unauthorized Biography is not a history of the making of Superman properties, though it touches on that. Nor is it a history of the Superman canon, though that canon is a large part of the book. What Weldon has written is exactly what it says on the cover, a biography of a fictional character, delving first into the canon, and then looking at creators, back and forth. This book does not look at the history from the real life perspective but instead offers a historic analysis of the fiction of the character. The book shows us the changes superman had to endure in his world. There are instances where superman is used as a symbol of hope during the Second World War and how it shaped a whole generation. But those are all consequences of events that happened in the comics.
We learn not only what Superman was, what he was doing, during decades past, we learn why he was those things and what the people creating him meant.
This book takes you through the early years of superman from the 30s, 40s, 50s, all the way up to the 2011 reboot, the New 52’s recent interpretations. It covers major story-lines but also small ones that might not be so popular but are significant in a way or another. I would recommend this book to any Superman fan or anyone who is interested in jumping in Superman’s world.