Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion – Book Review
The Whedon Bible . . . for true believers only!
by various, Titan Books
This book’s complete title is “Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More: The Essential Guide to the Whedonverse” which sums it all up except for omitting the bit that says it is all “unofficial” and brought together by the Popmatters.com website.
It is a collection of 40 feature articles, essays and interviews (none with the man himself though) dealing with everything that Whedon has ever done – from his screenwriting duties on Alien Resurrection and the Buffy big screen movie to the glory fan cult days of Buffy and Angel, the bitter commercial disappointments of Firefly / Serenity and Dollhouse to his recent Avengers box office triumph.
As can be expected quality and interest tends to vary from article to article and author to author. Many of the essays have more than the mere whiff of the academe about them and will no doubt bring back long-repressed memories of English 101. Topics include the likes of “vampires, masculinity & language in Buffy”, “Willow’s sexuality and empowerment in Buffy” and “Evacuating the unconscious in Buffy”, and so on.
All heady stuff for a screenwriter who merely likes to play around with genre conventions and expectations as well as bump off beloved characters occasionally to mess with audiences! (For Buffy Whedon imagined what it would be like if the average female blonde-haired horror movie victim turns out to be the heroine instead.) Other articles are of a more general nature, such as one detailing how Buffy popularized serial TV.
If you are wondering whether Whedon warrants spending 480 pages of analysis on his output – and I do know of some hardcore science fiction fans who questions the slavish following Whedon engenders – then this collection is most definitely not for you. Whedonites (as fans are called) with a pop cultural interest in sociology will lap it all up though.
The unofficial Bible for Whedonites. Needless to say only devotees need apply. The more casual fan will probably want to skip some of the “heavier” essays.