As for the book as a whole, “Joss Whedon: The Biography” was written by Amy Pascale and features interviews with Whedon and many of those around him. It was released on Friday (Aug. 1). The following excerpt was first published in USA Today:
My generation, we were kind of raised on the super-cool, “I can handle anything” with a gun in his hand hero. Any situation you throw at him, he can handle it — with catchphrases. It was very cool.
But Joss Whedon’s version of a hero doesn’t always win. He loses more than he wins, and when he wins, the victories are tiny, but he takes ’em. “That’s a victory! I call that a victory!” It’s a tiny victory — he takes it, and that’s what he walks away with. And that’s something I can actually relate to.
That’s something that people can relate to — because that’s actually life. I don’t know a lot of people who win more than they lose. Life is kind of a losing proposition as you go. It’s not all winning lotteries every day. It’s a lot of “What do I do with this problem? Now how do I handle this?” I think people can relate easier to someone who isn’t prepared to handle every single situation, and everything comes out roses and their way, and all they’ve got to do is be cool. We don’t have that in real life.
A friend of mine once told me that what he finds so satisfying about Joss Whedon is his way of telling stories. As a society, we are incredibly story literate: We know story. This is the hero; this is the villain. This is the denouement; this is where the twist comes; this is where the learning experience is; this is where the turn is. We know story.
He said, “Joss Whedon will give you a story twist. But instead of twisting it to the story tradition that we know, he twists it and says, ‘That’s what happens in stories. This is what happens in real life. This is how real life went.'”
I described Joss to a friend as we were on our way over to his house for a party. And she’s heard me tell stories over the years about this fellow. We went to his house, we had a great time, and on the way home, she said, “You know, I got to say, from your description of the kind of guy this guy is, and from all the stories you’ve told me — I expected him to be six two, chiseled jaw, long, wavy golden hair and bright blue eyes and gleaming teeth, and just chesty and …” The guy, she said, “when you describe him, he’s so heroic.”
And yeah, he is. He’s heroic like that.