Just in case you've been living on planet Mars (but I'm pretty sure even Martians know who this guy is), Joss Whedon is a screenwriter, film and television director, film and television producer, comic book author, composer and actor. He began his own production company, Mutant Enemy Productions (The fabulous GRRR-ARGG guy) and co-founded another company called Bellwether Pictures. He has a ridiculously long list of internationally famous creations such as:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Firefly (I know, WE ALL want it back!)
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog
- Toy Story (co-write)
- The Cabin in the Woods (co-write, but he produced it)
- The Avengers
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Titan A.E. (co-write)
- Alien: Resurrection
So, why is Joss Whedon so inspirational to sci-fi/fantasy writers? I can't answer that for most. I can tell you why Whedon makes it onto my list of idols, though. I can explain it in just one word:
BuffyBuffy the Vampire Slayer had a massive impact on my life. I really connected with the show from episode one, when it aired in 1997. It is 2015 - just shy of 20 years later - and I'm still watching it. DAILY. Between the expertly crafted quips, mythical creatures (which, I must add, they do a wonderful job at fully explaining), character developments, and action scenes - the show has something for everyone. No other love story has been as heartbreaking to watch unfold as the one between Angel, the tormented vampire with a soul, and Buffy. Nicholas Sparks has nothing on them. My favorite song of all time was burned into my brain during the scene where Angel kisses Buffy in the Bronze, and as she pulls away, her cross medallion is burned into his chest. That moment bonded me indefinitely to that song; I'm 30 years old now and Wild Horses is still and always will be my go-to song.
Buffy was the new version of feminist. She showed that you could kick just as much ass as the boys, but look better while doing it. Her wardrobe inspired many teenage girls to run out and buy black pleather jackets and chunky heeled, knee high boots. She was this bad-ass super hero type, with a teenage attitude, and a desire to just be loved and accepted for who she was. Buffy made it acceptable to be a strong female in a man's world (which, at the time, strong female leads were still looking to make it in the market). Several other characters paved their way into the hearts of 90s children, as well. Willow Rosenburg showed the world that being a geeky girl wasn't something to hide - but to flaunt. She managed to save the day multiple times by finding that crucial piece of information buried in the back stacks of the library, just when you thought all hope was lost. She had a solid win for the band nerd girls when she scored a date with Oz, the hot bass player in a popular rock band. Willow rocked the world when she stood up for the freedom to love movement, by coming out and announcing her love for Tara, a fellow wiccan. Xander Harris made it okay for the class clown to get the prom queen. And of course, let's not forget Angel and Spike! Both vampires who, at one point or another, had souls - causing them to repent for their crimes against humanity. These two once vicious vampires showed the world that every one deserves a second chance - a chance at redemption.
Of course, Buffy may not be the reason these other novelists favor Joss Whedon so much. I mean, just look at his laundry list of contributions to the sci-fi and fantasy universes. I can only tell you why he is one of my idols. I aspire to craft characters that are as beautifully tortured as those in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I hope that one day, someone will be changed by my characters the way that I was after I was introduced to Buffy & Angel.