While the year isn’t even half over yet, it’s going to be a hard climb for anyone to topple the summer Joss Whedon is having. If The Avengers box office wasn’t enough to give him the best summer ever (it is), his co-writing and producing on The Cabin in the Woods might be the nudge to put him over the top with most fans.
Whedon has a few projects in the pipeline (he wrote the upcoming In Your Eyes and is directing his take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing), but what if you need more Whedon right now!? Turn your eyes to the page, dear friend. Titan Books currently has three Joss-related offerings ready for your perusal. We took a look at them to give you the straight dope on whether they’re just for super-fans or if everyone can enjoy. After all, not everyone is a huge fan of Whedon. Indeed, personally, I’m at best 50/50 on the guy, finding serious flaws within some his work, absolutely loving some of it, and having not ever watched a good chunk of it. The following contains spoilers for The Cabin in the Woods and Joss Whedon’s career.
Level of Joss: High
Fan Status: Epic
Published under the PopMatters banner, “Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion” is a thick tome packed with more than 400 pages of essays about the man and his work, spanning his career up until this point. As a book of essays, there aren’t any pictures included, but the material is broken up into easily digestible sections for efficient reading while pooping.
This book is best suited towards real Whedon fans and followers of his Buffy: The Vampire Slayer television series, as the essays on that show, including Raise Your Hand If You’re Invulnerable!, Note to Self, Religion Freaky, and Women Who Hate Women, comprises about 160 of the books total pages.
Angel, Firefly, and Serenity are also sufficiently covered alongside Whedon’s work in comics and on Dollhouse. Those of you rushing out to read about The Cabin in the Woods or The Avengers will probably be met with disappointment – after all, books aren’t written and published instantly, so both of these sections are light and were written well before the films were even completed.
Final Word: With a bunch of entertaining and enlightening sections, the book is interesting and definitely full of words, a must have for Whedonites and big Buffy fans. Casual Whedon viewers or those looking for information on his most recent projects will be better served elsewhere.
Level of Joss: Moderate
Fan Status: Moderate
This was a book I was looking forward to even before I saw The Cabin in the Woods. With everything I had heard of the film, I knew I was going to want to dive deeper into the world. After seeing the film, I was even more pumped up – there was so much there, so much room for expansion.
While this Visual Companion is an awesome read, there is some room for disappointment. This was the perfect venue to really shine a spotlight on a lot of the monsters that we don’t get a good look at through the film and while most of them are in here, it’s not quite the rogues gallery it should have been.
The Visual Companion includes the complete script, hundreds of color photos, sketches, interviews with cast and creators, a forward by director Drew Goddard and an afterword by Whedon. The pictures and sketches are the highlights, even though there could have been a thousand more, what’s included is a great look into the creation of the world. There’s also a pretty clean shot of The White Board, offering a glimpse into all the horrible creatures we didn’t get to see.
Final Word: An excellent pick-up for fans of The Cabin in the Woods. It’s a beautifully put together book overflowing with images and insight into all the hectic stuff that happened in the film. Highly recommended. Also, some of my favorite monsters from the move are shown in detail and given a name: DISMEMBERMENT GOBLINS.
Level of Joss: Low
Fan Status: Low
The least tied to Whedon, the official novelization comes to us via New York Times best selling author Tim Lebbon, author of Dusk and the official novelization of 30 Days of Night. Based on the screenplay, the novelization comes in at a brisk 300 pages and features a few things, mostly dialogue, that weren’t in the movie.
When dealing with a crazy, hectic sequence like the lobby massacre in the film, a novel won’t ever be able to capture all that magic without really dragging on and throwing in pages and pages of description and, as such, Lebbon’s work doesn’t hit you with the wow factor the same way the movie does.
Still, it’s an entertaining read just as vibrant and funny as the film. If you’ve never read a horror book, you should. It’s a completely different way of experiencing the sensation.
Final Word: Best suited for fans of the movie, since it offers more insight into the minds of the characters but lacks a little pop when compared to the bat-shit insane visuals of the film. Definitely a worth-it pick up; it even offers a brief insight into just way those monsters, when released, and so fucking hungry.