Glen Weldon is a non-fiction book chronicling the fictional history of the Man of Steel in comic books, radio, TV, theater, music and movies. Mr. Weldon is a contributor to NPR’s podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour and author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. Q. As you mentioned in your book, Superman is not “just” a hero, but also a symbol. This is not a marketing ploy but a status which the fan base bestowed upon him. Why do you think that is? A. Some of it comes down to timing: His status as the first true superhero sets him apart, ensuring that he’ll always be the ideal other heroes get measured against. He created an archetype that persists to this day. But if World War II hadn’t come along — which transformed him from an outlaw hero in the Batman/Shadow/Zorro mold to a patriotic symbol — who knows if he’d be seen as the icon he is today? People needed a hero to help them localize the anxieties of wartime — to show them that Good always triumphed. It’s a lesson that imprinted itself onto the collective consciousness of the country — and the world — and still hangs around….