Compiled by PopMatters
Published by Titan Books
I’m a Whedonite. Since “Buffy”, I’ve been slavishly addicted to most everything he’s done. (I never got into “Dollhouse” but plan on catching up on it very soon.) His method of storytelling just fits me perfectly, even though he frequently infuriates me. (Many an episode of his shows would end with me shouting, “WHEDON, YOU SON OF A BITCH!” at the end credits.) Thus, you’d think this book would be straight up my alley. I wish that were the case.
Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion: The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More: The Essential Guide to the Whedonverse is a compilation of pieces by the magazine/website PopMatters. The problem is what those pieces consist of. Other than some interviews with folks from the Whedonverse, this massive volume (496 pages) is made up of articles, essays, and even term papers on Whedon and his projects.
We have such topics as important LGBT characters in the Whedonverse, the importance of fandom to Whedon’s projects, how feminism is presented in “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”, etc.
There are several problems here.
First of all, this reads like a textbook. That’s because you have actual papers written for college classes mixed in here. When you read “The Complete Companion” on the cover, you expect some kind of insight into Whedon and his work, but in reality you have dissertations and opinions written by fans about him and his work. In short, it’s the same amount of insight you could gain from browsing a website or forum dedicated to Whedon.
Second, as far as I can tell, none of this is original to the book. I apologize if I’m wrong, but based on some searches on the PopMatters website, I found every article I looked for. Interviews included. All of this appears to exist elsewhere, for free, should you be inclined to dig for it.
What we’re presented with is a paradox that leaves me wondering just whom this book is for. In order for it to appeal to readers at all, they’d have to be massive fans of Whedon and his work. If you’re a massive fan of Whedon and his work, there’s nothing new here. No insider information, no behind-the-scenes facts…just the opinions and analyses of other fans. If someone knew little about Whedon and his impact on the world of entertainment, this would be a treasure trove, but I have no idea why someone with little knowledge of him would ever touch a book like this.
1 out of 5