Whether you love the man’s work or can’t stand it there’s no denying that Writer/Director/Producer Joss Whedon is on a hot streak. Cabin in the Woods, a film he co-wrote with Drew Goddard, has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike and the recently released The Avengers has already hit the $1 billion notch at the box office (HIGHLY RECOMMENED if you haven’t yet seen it). It’s no small feat to have two blockbusters on your belt before Summer even hits, but then Whedon is no stranger to sleeper hits.
I first discovered the “Whedonverse” (a fictional universe in which all of Whedon’s creations exist) back in 1997 when Buffy the Vampire Slayer made it’s debut on TV, introducing me to a world that included the saucy Sarah Michelle Gellar, tight mini skirts, vampires and supernatural violence. It was enough to keep me watching for the next 4 years and 5 seasons worth of Buffy and the “Scoobies” battling evil on a weekly basis. My Buffy fixation soon became an obsession with Angel – an edgier spin-off featuring Buffy ex-lover (Angel), a vampire with a soul.
Like all good things, though, both series came to an end and I drifted away from the Whedonverse. I never watched Firefly or the short-lived Dollhouse, I shied away from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog because I’m not into musicals, and I only read a few issues of his stint on Astonishing X-Men. Suddenly Whedon’s work had become more obscure to me, projects that I’d hear about but for one reason or another never watch. Enter Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion.
Released by Titan Books and Pop Matters, The Complete Companion is a mammoth collection of academic essays and thesis that attempt to cover every aspect of Whedon’s career. While the book does manage to touch on just about everything (it even references Cabin and Avengers), some of the entries can come across as repetitious like those on gender roles while others can be a little to heavy-handed for the likes of a casual fan such as myself. There are a few highlights, though, like Dr. Stathley’s piece on Comic-Con: A Fan’s Hope and Raz Greenberg’s analysis of the under-appreciated Alien Resurrection.
FOR SERIOUS FANS ONLY
While Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion comes packed with tons of content (you’ll literally have a solid 2 weeks of reading material – at least) it’s all academic-oriented for the serious Whedonverse scholar. Casual fans may want to pass on this one.