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Book Review: Joss Whedon – The Complete Companion – Author PopMatters

This book pretty much covers everything that Joss Whedon has ever done in the entertainment industry. From his work on television shows, comic books, and movies, this companion piece is basically the definitive guide to all things Joss Whedon.

I have always been a fan of Joss Whedon. Besides being an insanely talented writer and director who has a very creative imagination (a trait that way too many people are lacking in the entertainment business-and life in general-these days) he also seems to be a genuinely nice, down-to-earth guy that I have never heard a single bad word about. I was one of the biggest Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans on earth during its television run (thinks mainly in part to Eliza Dushku’s presence as Faith…Meow!!!!) and I never missed a single episode (some friends and I actually had a drunken wake the night the final episode aired). I loved Angel as well and I thought that his run on the X-men comic was outstanding and right up there with the stint that the legendary Chris Claremont spent with the characters. I could go on and on and list tons of reasons why I dig Whedon and his work, but we would be here all day. In short, I am a big fan of the guy and am happy that I got my hands on this companion piece. I think that it is one item every Whedon fan should own.

What I really like about this book is that it separates all of Whedon’s works into different categories instead of shoving them all together. It starts out taking a look at all of his television shows from my beloved Buffy all the way to Firefly and Dollhouse (Which Eliza Dushku was also on. Whedon, how I envy you sometimes). The section includes interviews with people who were on these shows (including the awesome Harry Groener who owned as the evil mayor during Season 3 of Buffy and was who I consider the best “Big Bad” of the entire run of the series), different essays on the shows written by a number of contributors, and many other goodies. What I really enjoyed about this section was the fact that it takes a look at many different elements of these shows, such as Biblical connections and Willow’s sexuality and empowerment on Buffy to a look at how Nathan Fillion plays an important part in the overall Whedonverse. I spent a lot of hours with this first section, and I think that a lot of the people who read it will do so as well as I found it to be the most interesting part of the book (which isn’t to say that the rest of the book isn’t as good, but I have always been more into Whedon’s work on television than anything else).

The next section focuses on his work in the world of comic books. It starts out with an awesome bit related to the totally underrated and wonderfully entertaining comic Fray that Whedon wrote (if you haven’t read this series you are really missing out as it is so kick ass it isn’t even funny) to discussions related to his time spent on Astonishing X-men. It also takes a look at the Angel and Buffy comics, and gives a very neat chronological bibliography of all the comics that were written by Joss (I totally forgot that he worked on Runaways until I looked at this section!) which I thought was pretty interesting. Without a doubt the man has had an impact on the world of comics, and this book takes a moment to take a look at that impact in this section.

Of course we also get a section devoted to the films that Whedon has worked on as well. From taking a look at how the script for Alien Resurrection helped shape his career to listing six reasons why he is the perfect director for The Avengers, this portion of the book does a great job of covering Whedon’s career as a filmmaker. The book also includes a number of appendices that maps the Whedonverse and lists every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse that aired by date, and even a few that never saw the light of day.

If you are a fan of Joss Whedon then you must own a copy of this book. I found it to be interesting, informative, and just fun in general. All of the articles that appear in the book are very well-written and thought-out, and I had a blast reading them. I know that Christmas is a ways off as it is just July, but if you know someone who is a huge fan of Joss Whedon and his work then I highly recommend that you get that person this book as it will make a great gift for them.

Book Review: Joss Whedon – The Complete Companion – Author PopMatters

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