Much Ado About Whedon

I would have posted this earlier but I was writing a letter to a favourite comic book of mine. Which is, y’know, important and stuff. It’s the first time I’ve written anything to a comic, and the idea of seeing my words in print in the back pages of some future issue of Angel & Faith is very exciting to my sad little mind. I’ve written to a magazine only once before, but I had two letters printed in the same issue – one being on a serious matter (I say serious, but I think I was comparing Wii remote covers to sexual aids) and the other an insane, obscure joke sent via a pseudonym.

The editors at NGamer must have been having a slow month.

Today I was watching the Dark Horse Joss Whedon panel from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and a stray thought hit me in the brain: though Joss often gets a huge audience for his talks, being incredibly affable, insightful and constantly hilarious, there could well have been a significant number of people in the room who had no idea who this ‘Josh Wheldon’ was up until a couple months ago. Then, he was nobody; now, he’s a rock star who made “the greatest superhero movie of all time”, at least according to Buffy Season 9 editor Scott Allie.

And, yes, I know he’s always been a rock star to those of who’ve known him longer. A balding, musical-loving one who loves making nerds cry, but a rock star nonetheless.

What was my point? Oh yeah, people who didn’t know who he was. Come to think of it, most of the people in that hall probably would have known Joss, because if you’re going to go to Comic-Con in the first place (not to say decide to attend a panel with only one person on it) you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know Whedon.

My point is that if he was cult last year, he’s mainstream now, at least from an audience perspective, and most definitely from (putting on my cynical moviegoer hat now) a box office point of view. “Third highest grossing movie ever (before inflation, obv)? Sure, let’s let Joss do whatever the f**k he wants.” And that certainly seems like a realistic conversation some execs might be having after Whedon’s pretty optimistic statement at the Firefly panel that he could see a second season ofthe show happening if the Science Channel special goes down well. This coming from a man who had seemingly shaken off all ambitions to revive it for the screen and all but abandoned it as a lost cause. That, to me, sounds like power. And in the hands of an outspoken humanist who has made, is making and will continue to make some of the most compelling, thought provoking and downright funny entertainment I’ve ever seen, read and heard, I fail to see how that could be anything but a good thing.

And in true Joss style, his next projects after The Avengers? A low-budget, black & white version of Much Ado About Nothing, a dystopian web series co-written with my favourite comics author Warren Ellis, and the long-awaited (and much-teased) sequel to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Some people have been calling 2012 Joss’s year. To hell with that: this year he finally made everyone realise that he knows what he’s doing.

After Avengers, they’ll actually let him.

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