Women in games: Buffy Summers vs. Juliet Starling

I wrote another piece for GamesBeat — this time questioning who the real Slayer is, Buffy Summers or Juliet Starling. I interviewed Lollipop Chainsaw story writer James Gunn, voice actress Tara Strong, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer enthusiast Lily Rothman (she contributed to Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion, which I reviewed awhile ago). The article deals with misogyny and the quality of lead female characters in video games.

Let me know what you think. I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July!

Still flying, still stylish in affordable boots, still helping the helpless: a review of Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion

As you might guess from that mouthful of a title, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion* spans the creator’s biggest productions and a number of smaller topics, such as his foray into comic books and his (returning) screenwriting days. It’s also a mammoth book. A good whack with this thing will knock a vampire right out.

Anyone who plucks down $18.95 or less will be getting exactly what they pay for: a whole lot of Joss Whedon, presented as a series of essays … after essay … after essay. The Complete Companion isn’t serious, dry-as-sand academic writing, but it is formatted that way, and that sensibility shows in some pieces more than others. You’ll likely fluctuate from bored to fascinated with each new read. Whatever your interest level or preference of writing (occasionally you’ll encounter an essay that’s bogged down with verbose and weighty language), the book caters to a variety of tastes and topics.

The Complete Companion covers it all: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, the comics (including ones you might not have read), Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, and finally Whedon’s films (counting those that came before he was famous). It’s a lot of reading, but even seasoned fans will learn some new insight or secret from behind the scenes.

But be warned: This book is laden with spoilers. If there’s absolutely anything you haven’t seen to completion but plan to, skip the entire section and return to it later. The editor didn’t censor the plentiful essays, so there’s no avoiding discussion of crucial scenes, characters, and plot points.

Luckily for me, I’ve already exposed myself to most of Whedon’s work, so I could handle the contents. Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion is a deeper look at the world of Whedon, but for the fan, it’s strictly post-show and movie-watching/comics-reading material.

*This book was provided for honest review courtesy of publisher Titan Books.