Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion

Book Reviews | By on Aug 19th, 2012

Edited by: Mary Alice Money
Publisher: PopMatters & Titan Books
Pages: 490
Buy on Amazon.com

This hefty tome weaves together 60 essays, mostly academic, from over 40 authors on all things Whedon. Nicely organized chronologically by canon, the essays delve deeply into Whedon’s work. For the uninitiated, it may seem breathlessly geeky to have so many intellectual treatises written about a bunch of tv shows, but as any fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Firefly could tell you, those shows have real depth.

Essays and interviews on Buffy and Angel take up nearly half off the book at 220 pages, and, you know, they deserve it. There are some lovely essays on criminally canceled Firefly (sniff), his contributions to comic books, his film work (including The Avengers, which hadn’t come out at press time), and even a chapter on cult favorite Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Even Dollhouse gets some love.

More than anyone in popular culture (JJ Abrams comes close), Joss Whedon and his work deserve this kind of analysis. Whedon is best known for his bending and blending of genres, his storytelling, his respect for his viewers, his strong female characters (a rarity in tv), and his timeless, livable, breathable worlds filled with heroes, anti-heroes, and oscillating morality. So Whedon deserves geeky, intelligent critique (yes, even the essay “Destiny and Free Will in Dr. Horrible”) because he injects geeky intelligence in everything he touches. He is a favorite of geeks because he himself is a geek, and geek culture is now front and center in the mainstream in no small part because of him.

Bottom Line: Hopefully “Complete” is premature!
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