DWC professor edits book on The Avengers' Joss Whedon
His work includes film, TV, comic books
What do Iron Man and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have in common? They’re both examined in a new book edited by Juliette Kitchens, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in CAHSS’ Department of Writing and Communication.
At Home in the Whedonverse: Essays on Domestic Place, Space and Life examines the creations of writer-director Joss Whedon, whose work spans the mediums of TV, film, and comic books. Whedon worked on the original Toy Story and as a script doctor performing uncredited rewrites, but he rose to prominence through the creation of fan favorite series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), Angel (1999), Firefly (2002), and Dollhouse (2009). He has worked on comics like Astonishing X-Men and Fray, and created the Internet-distributed miniseries Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). He later achieved mainstream box office success by writing and directing Marvel Studios’ 2012 superhero film The Avengers and its 2015 sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The “Whedonverse,” as it is nicknamed by fans, has grown in the two decades since Buffy’s debut and generated copious amounts of scholarship as academics dig into the themes and characters.
“There are many reasons people pursue his work with fervor,” Kitchens said. “He isn’t afraid to do complex narratives and ask us to rise up. The stories are fun, even when they hurt.”
The 10 essays in the book examine his use of the home space, which grew out of Kitchens’ exploration of the fandom and presentations at conferences.
“I decided to put together an edited collection and wanted to see an exploration of his use of space,” she said.
Some of the topics covered include “Domestic Space and Identity: Joss Whedon’s Futuristic Frontier in Firefly” and “Militarization of the Domestic Space: Positioning Buffy as a Post-Feminist Heroine through the Lens of Choice Feminism.”
Kitchens wrote the book’s introduction and said working with her contributors resulted in new friendships.
“It’s a fantastic community to be a part of,” Kitchens said.
Kitchens is not done exploring the Whedonverse and is already working with collaborators on a second book of essays, this time on transmediation. She said the book should be out in a year and a half.
Kitchens teaches courses in the undergraduate Writing minor, as well as the M.A. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media.