Published on May 20th, 2012 | by Mike Harding0
Mikey’s Library Hot Picks: In Joss We Trust pt 2
So, in part one I looked at Mr Whedon’s television adaptations, and how he has successfully continued his on-screen tales, via the medium of the comic book. I should have mentioned, that when he initially did Buffy Series eight, it opened the flood gates for other companies to buy the rights to other properties. Some of these however, were not as successful as Buffy and Angel (I’m looking at you Charmed).
This time around, I will be looking at some of the other books that Mr Whedon has on the shelves, and telling you why you should read them. So, firstly as a bit of a tidying up exercise, we have Firefly: Still Flying: A celebration of Joss Whedons television series, this is a great book that provides us with storyboards, interviews with cast and crew, a tribute to the Browncoats, and previously unseen stories by the series’ writers.
Next, we delve back into the Buffyverse, with a selection of both graphic novels and paperbacks, including Viva Las Buffy, and Slayer Interrupted. In the paperback section, we have a host of books, that take place between episodes of the original series.
Some libraries also have DVD’s, and Cardiff in particular holds Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once more with feeling (musical episode), and Serenity (the movie).
Moving on from this, we find Joss’ work in a number of places, firstly he writes the introduction for Brad Metzlers Identity Crisis, which I have reviewed in a previous Library Hot Pick. Then he pops up a number of times in various MySpace Dark Horse Presents books, where he presents his Captain Hammer stories, that he collaborated on with his brother Zack Whedon. Joss also had a hand in Marvel’s Civil War, although this was limited to him lending the writers advise on how to plot, and end the story. He contributed to Superman/Batman #25, which, sadly is the only issue not to be collected in any of the available graphic novels.
Joss’ main titles that are available are Runaways, and Astonishing X-men. Runaways was originally created by Brian K Vaughan (Pride of Baghdad) and Adrian Alphona. The series followed a group of children, who discover that their parents are in fact evil villains. Joss Whedon took over briefly when Brian K Vaughan left the title, and wrote what is now known as volume 8 of the series “Dead End Kids“. Whedon’s tale, which is drawn by New Excalibur artist Michael Ryan, contains six issues numbering from 25-30. Whedon takes the kids out of LA and plants them bang smack in the middle of the Marvel Universe. Moving the kids to New York brings them into contact with some well-known, and more obscure Marvel heroes, and some of it’s villains. Whilst at the time it was seen as a bit mixed up, looking back at it, the story flows well, and picks up nicely from where Vaughan left the team. My only gripe about this series is that the groups resident magic wielder Nico gets a bit “Willowed-up”, and becomes a lot more powerful, in a short space of time, although one of Whedon’s themes throughout his writing has been strong female characters.
Next up is Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-men collaborations, now I’m not going to go into too much detail with this, as I have only recently reviewed Gifted for the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection, and Dangerous is coming soon. The only thing I will mention, is that as I have previously stated, Whedon loves a strong female lead, and has openly admitted that Kitty Pryde’s attitude had been an inspiration when he was first creating Buffy. So it is no surprise that Whedon makes her the central character of his work here, at one point, he even has Emma Frost refer to Kitty as the Heart of the team. Whedon introduced many new characters to the Marvel Universe, and most of them are indeed female, with the exception of the villainous ORD. Joss brought us Hisasko Ichiki (Armour), Ruth Aldine (Blindfold), Abigail Brand, and when writing Runaways he introduced child wife Klara Plast. Whilst writing Astonishing X-men Joss won an Eisner for Best Continuing Series.
Well that end this spotlight on Joss Whedon, who knows maybe another writer will pull off something spectacular and deserve such treatment (although Scott Snyder is looking a possibility after winning so many Stan Lee awards at Kapow).