Spotlight: Joss Whedon

With principle photography of the Marvel Studios superhero epic The Avengers, directed by our Spotlight subject Joss Whedon, soon to commence, PopMatters considers it is a auspicious time to look back over the entirety of Whedon’s remarkable career. In the past two decades he has emerged as one of the most influential figures in all of pop culture, most famously by altering many of the standard conventions of television through series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, but also through his screenwriting for films like Toy Story and Serenity and his extensive comic book work as in The Astonishing X-Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight. The best may be yet to come, with Whedon expressing an intention to focus in the future primarily on on direct-to-Internet productions similar to his Emmy Award winning online hit Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, where he can escape the restrictions placed upon him by studios and networks. 

For the next five weeks on PopMatters, nearly 50 writers and scholars will examine and explore every one of Joss Whedon’s major—and most of his minor—series, movies, comics, and Internet musicals, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dollhouse, from Alien Resurrection to Cabin in the Woods, from Sugarshock to Runaways, from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog to The Avengers. The essays represent a wide variety of viewpoints and approaches, but the writers are united in the conviction that Joss Whedon has had an unparalleled impact on popular culture and that his work deserves and compels intense and focused examination.

— Robert Moore

(Edited and produced by Robert Moore and Sarah Zupko)