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Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion

PopMatters' latest book, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion, releases tomorrow in the US/Canada and Friday in the rest of the world. To give you a preview, you can sample many of the book's articles here, but you'll want to pick up a copy of the book for the complete articles and its many exclusive essays and features.

Recent
Film

Whedon and Company: Worlds Await

The formal creation of Buffy Studies -- and therefore Whedon Studies -- was born with the creation of the online journal Slayage 10 years ago. Here the coeditor of Slayage, Rhonda V. Wilcox, offers some reflections on our obsessions with the output of a certain TV creator.

Rhonda V. Wilcox
Film

Six Reasons Why Joss Whedon Is the Perfect Director for 'The Avengers'

It was announced last year that Joss Whedon would direct the most ambitious superhero movie ever, teaming Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye all in one enormous film. Matthew Hurd thinks Whedon was the perfect choice.

Matthew Hurd
Film

Joss Whedon 101: The Avengers

The Avengers will be Joss Whedon's most ambitious project to date, the culmination of a string of Marvel Studios superhero films, including the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America films.

Kristin M. Barton
Television

Joss Whedon: Pioneer of the Body Count

Among Joss Whedon's greatest contributions to television has been the continual use of the Body Count, the willingness to kill off recurring characters in order to ratchet up the narrative tension and create a sense of danger.

Film

The Power of Fandom in the Whedonverse

While viewers watch television and film for entertainment, it's easy to forget that these media are industries. In this essay the changing relationships between creators, studios, distributors, and an increasingly active fandom are examined.

Jack Milson
Film

Joss Whedon 101: Cabin in the Woods

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's Cabin in the Woods has been as star-crossed as a show can be. Although Goddard and Whedon had finished principle filming, MGM requested a year delay to convert the film to 3D, and then promptly went bankrupt.

Film

The Dystopian Future in Joss Whedon's Work

In contrast to the utopian vision of the future found in sci-fi series like Star Trek, Joss Whedon's creations show a different vision of the future. And it isn't pretty.

Erin Casey
Television

The Big Bad Universe: Good and Evil According to Joss Whedon

Most of Joss Whedon's work has been characterized by Big Bads. But the lines separating Good and Evil are more complex than one might expect.

Television

'Buffy' and 'Dollhouse': Visions of Female Empowerment and Disempowerment

While Buffy has been universally acclaimed as a great work of TV feminism, Dollhouse has been denounced as anti-feminist. But have the critics of Dollhouse been too quick to dismiss its feminist credentials?

Angela Zhang
Film

TV's Grim Reaper: Why Joss Whedon Continually Kills the Characters We Love

Among Joss Whedon's greatest contributions to television has been the invention of the Body Count, the willingness to kill off recurring characters in order to ratchet up the narrative tension and create a sense of danger. This is the first of two essays examining Joss Whedon as a televisual mass murderer.

Kristin M. Barton
Television

Love Hurts, or, Why Buffy Couldn't Find Love

Unlike most teen shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer wasn't constructed around romances. And while viewers followed her epic romances with vampires Angel and Spike, whether or not she would ever find true love was never really the point of the show.

Maria Vlahos
Comics

Joss Whedon 101: Angel: After the Fall

When Angel -- confronted by a small army of hostile demons, a giant, and a dragon -- said to Spike, Gunn, and Illyria, "Let's go to work" immediately before the screen went to black and the series ended, fans of Angel wanted to know what happened next. In After the Fall Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch answered our question.

Patrick Shand
Television

Zombies, Reavers, Butchers, and Actuals in Joss Whedon's Work

Zombies have been one of the more popular monster types in films and television in recent decades following the popularity of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Joss Whedon's somewhat different take on the Zombie in his various projects is here examined in detail.

Gerry Canavan
Television

Nathan Fillion Misbehaves All Across the Whedonverse

Both because of his several roles in Joss Whedon series and because of his extensive interaction with fans, Nathan Fillion has emerged as one of the best-loved actors in the Whedonverse.

Television

Identity and Memory in 'Dollhouse'

While all of Joss Whedon's shows examine the nature of personhood, none does so to the degree of Dollhouse. Here the role of memory in establishing identity is examined.

Ryan Jawetz
Television

Personal Identity in Joss Whedon's Shows

All of Joss Whedon's shows raise questions about personal identity. Here several major characters from the Whedonverse are subjected to a philosophical analysis.

Mike Bailey
Television

'Dollhouse', Fox Television, and Cultural Fragmentation

In an age of a deeply fragmented television audience, did Fox Television make a mistake in trying to market Joss Whedon's Dollhouse to a general audience instead of the niche audience that represents Whedon's fanbase?

Rana Emerson
Comics

Joss Whedon 101: Sugarshock!

Originally released in 2007 on Dark Horse's MySpace page, Sugarshock! was later released in printed form in 2009. Concerning a hard rock band led by a female lead singer with an almost pathological hatred of Vikings, the band engages in what turns out to be a literal intergalactic battle of the bands.

Jack Milson
Television

Joss Whedon 101: Dollhouse

Dollhouse is in many ways Joss Whedon's most challenging and most cutting edge show, trying to deal with issues that are rarely or never addressed on television. With low ratings making a third season unlikely, Joss Whedon and his writers packed the second and final season with several seasons' worth of story arcs, resulting in one of the richer narrative arcs found on TV.

Ian Mathers
Television

Consequence and Change in the Works of Joss Whedon, and Why It Matters

In many television series, the actions of characters neither have long-term consequences nor cause long-term change. For Joss Whedon actions always have consequences and often change the show's narrative.

Glenn Brown
Internet

The Night Billy Buddy Died: Dr. Horrible’s Tragicomic Inversion of Spider-Man

The accidental death of Penny, the girl Billy Buddy aka Dr. Horrible loves, has parallels to the deaths of several comic book deaths, though none so much as the death of Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen.

Kevin M. Brettauer
Television

'Doctor Horrible': Lessons from the Musical-Tragi-Comedy-Internet Sensation

Dr. Horrible repeats many of the themes found in Joss Whedon's television series. Here we are reminded of three "lessons" found in other creations.

Matthew Grace
Games

"What a Crazy Random Happenstance": Destiny and Free Will in 'Dr. Horrible'

Among other things, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog provides a meditation on good and evil and the role that choice plays in embracing one or the other.

Cynthea Masson
Games

Joss Whedon 101: "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"

From the moment it first hit the Internet in the summer of 2008, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog received near universal acclaim as one of the web's first great creations. With Whedon proclaiming that his future work will be direct to Internet rather than TV, this could be the shape of Whedon's work to come.

Television

In the Buff: Sexual Conservatism in the Works of Whedon

Although Joss Whedon is widely regarded as espousing a variety of liberal positions, here the author argues that this does not extend to his views concerning casual sex.

Kyle Garret
Comics

Joss Whedon 101: Runaways

Joss Whedon and comic writer Brian K. Vaughan have enjoyed an interesting relationship, shown in part by Vaughan's writing the "No Future for You" arc of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 and Joss continuing Vaughan's great series "Runaways" for Marvel.

Kevin Chiat
Comics

Joss Whedon 101: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight

Several years after the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV, Joss Whedon with the help of illustrator George Jeanty and a string of writers continued Buffy's story in comic book form.

Nick Bridwell
Television

Heroic Humanism and Humanistic Heroism in Shows of Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is famous for the many heroes in his shows, especially female heroes, but the humanistic nature of this heroism hasn't been appreciated.

Candace E. West
Comics

Joss Whedon 101: Astonishing X-Men

After the end of Angel on the WB and following his previous success with Fray, Joss Whedon has worked on a series of acclaimed comics, commencing with his pairing with John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men.

Cesar R. Bustamante Jr.
Television

The Death of Utopia: 'Firefly' and the Return to Human Realism in TV Sci-Fi

Joss Whedon's science fiction western Firefly was revolutionary in several ways, not least its embrace of a degree of realism regarding human motivation, in contrast to the utopianism of earlier TV sci-fi such as Star Trek.

Chris Colgan
Film

A Postcolonial Provocation: 'Serenity'

Joss Whedon's Firefly and its film sequel Serenity achieved acclaim for their generic hybridity, a sci-fi western offering a dystopian vision of the future. Here Serenity is positioned as a postcolonial text.

Leanne McRae
Film

Joss Whedon 101: Serenity

Although Joss Whedon's Sci-Fi Western Firefly was cancelled after the completion of only 14 episodes, DVD sales and fan support was so exceptionally high that Universal Studios acquired the rights to make a film sequel, Serenity.

Kristin M. Barton
Television

Still Flying: An Interview with Tim Minear, Part I

Both an integral part of the Whedonverse and a major television creator in his own right, Tim Minear was the co-creator of Firefly in addition to working as a writer on both Angel and Dollhouse. He is currently the showrunner of the FOX series The Chicago Code.

Tanya R. Cochran
Television

"Touch Me and Die, Vermin!": The Psychoanalysis of Illyria

The last great new character to be added to Angel was Illyria, the former hell goddess who takes over the body of the beloved Fred. Through examining the crucial Illyria episode "Time Bomb" through the lens of psychoanalysis, can we learn what makes her tick?

Nikki Faith Fuller
Television

Joss Whedon 101: Firefly

There are few if any prematurely cancelled shows whose demise is more lamented than Firefly.

Television

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Joss Whedon’s True Tragic Hero

From his debut on Buffy as a stiff, silly-ass buffoon to his eventual emergence as one of the most ruthless and competent demon hunters on Angel, few if any characters in the Whedonverse have had such a fascinating or varied history

Nick Bridwell

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