With 4 television series, 3 major motion pictures, and 2 web-based series, Joss Whedon is a prolific author, director, and producer whose works have touched on everything from love to loss.

“Burns argues that in the context of “The Message,” the hat may appear to be “just a hat, doing hat things,” but it also “signifies an entire wealth of background to this universe, where mothers still knit hats for their grown sons, where sons unconditionally love the hats their mothers send them.”

Beginning in Hollywood in the late 1990s as an oft-uncredited script doctor, Joss Whedon has come into his own as a force to be reckoned with. With such a wide collection of work, the body of scholars who examines the themes of his work has published numerous volumes. Reading Joss Whedon is a survey of scholarly works on all of Joss’s projects.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

Vampires, Shakespeare, superheroes, musicals, programmable humans, love, loss, Joss Whedon has done it all. Even the most avid fan needs help navigating the themes and symbolism behind his work.

We recieved a complimentary copy in exchange for a fair review.

Rating (4 stars)

Like most collections, parts of the book are stronger than others. The editors have done a great job of keeping the pace of the book moving without feeling like it’s skimming over a topic.

Sometimes, I felt the authors of a particular paper read a little too much into certain scenes in Joss’s work (River’s exploration of the ship as sexual awakening in “Objects in Space” seemed a bit of a stretch for me), but the papers are well written and clearly thought out.

With an index of topics, folks looking to explore how Joss Whedon views certain themes will find it easy to get to the relevant material.

The book is clearly intended for the serious Whedon scholar, but as a neophyte only superficially familiar with most of his work, I didn’t feel too lost.