Taylor, your questions at the end of this post do a great job of pointing to the limitations of of the use of metaphor in supernatural shows. Despite vampirism serving as a metaphor (and thus something “different than” but also “similar to”), I do think it works best when the two subjects being compared are more closely aligned. Buffy gave us so many great stories about American middle class teenagehood and the difficulties we associate with that experience (love, sex, friendship, high school rivalries, parent-child and teacher/principle-student conflict), and its use of metaphor more often than not hightened them. This example from Angel, however, is careless both formally (it doesn’t do that much to inform the viewer of Angel’s experience) and in terms of content as it does not give viewers any substantial insight into racism but instead ultimately appropriates the affects of some of its most awful traditions for the benefit of the show’s white protagonist.
I’m curious about whether this fanboy auteur concept can also be related to the tendency in certain academic areas - particularly in popular culture studies - for critics to also “market” themselves as fans of the genre they study. I’m thinking specifically of academic criticism of horror films. It seems like every introduction to the horror film begins with the author’s discussion of how he (usually he) came to the field, as a long-time fan or, if not, defending himself for tackling the topic as a non-fan. In either case, it seems oddly necessary for these academic authors to position themselves in relation to fandom in way not typical for many other fields. But maybe this particular genre’s status as a “cult” genre lends itself to this approach more than, say, the postmodern novel, which of course would also connect it to television aimed at geek audiences as well. Any thoughts on the role of “cult” status in connection with geek culture?
Thanks for this post, Maria. I would like to quickly push back on your comment, however, about Whedon as sole author. Though Whedon has undoubtedly become a name that draws audiences to texts, I do believe many fans of his work have more complicated understandings of authorship across his oeuvre. Perhaps it takes a certainly level of “geek”—one who reads the credits, goes online in between episodes, listens to box set commentary—but knowing which episodes of Buffy Jane Espenson wrote or what track Maurissa Tancheroen sang on Dollhouse (while also co-writing episodes with Jed Whedon and appearing as an actress in the finale), to give two brief examples, are pieces of information about the series’ other authors that some fans know and cherish too.
Houston Rockets play match this week, if you searching for houston rockets tickets then come at ticket dove and buy easily
It seems to me that comics and film/television share a production process that involves many people in different functions and thus makes conventional/romantic notions of authorship problematic. Auteur theory, I’d say, is one way of getting the singular author back into the game (which is important because celebrity figures make for good marketing). In superhero comics, the personal attribution of particular author functions usually involves the naming of writer and artist/penciler (and sometimes the editor), but things become more tricky when people speak of Alan Moore’s Watchmen or Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One (omitting the artists and thereby privileging the writer). I guess what I’m trying to say is that each medium and also each genre tends to produce its own notions of authorship, but in a time when storytelling is often transmedial and people like Whedon work across genres and media, it makes sense to think about the larger cultural history of “fanboys,” “geeks,” and “auteurs”. And this is where comics (going back to the 1950s) provide a particularly fertile ground - but then again, it makes sense to keep the differences between media in mind as well: as you say, Whedon does not separate himself from fan culture, unlike Miller/Moore etc.
Thanks for the comment and connection to comics, Daniel! What you said about Frank Miller probably also applies to Whedon as evident in his comment about the supermodel watching star wars whom he does not understand as geek or produce texts for. But Whedon has overall been very consistent at marketing himself as Fanboy auteur, his growing success and popularity seems to have confirmed this (self-)marketing, so there is no change or separation as for Miller.
It is interesting how their status as fans provides these creators with the legitimization to promote them as sole authors of their text (I am one of you, I know what kind of texts you enjoy and I make them) while the realities of production are so different, especially for comics because none of these creators are actual comic artists/draw comics themselves, right?
Great post, Maria. It seems to be no coincidence that Whedon has recently been involved with a number of comics-related productions. I’d say that the fanboy auteur (including the subtext you mention) has perhaps been the most significant author role/performance in superhero comics at least since the 1980s, when creators like Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, and many others sought to legitimize their work by empashizing their personal roots as long-time fans. One difference, however, seems to be that once these authors managed to establish themselves as auteurs, they tended to separate themselves from fanboy or geek culture. Miller, for instance, is notorious for claiming singular visionary/avant-garde superiority over the geek masses and so-called mainstream commercial comics production. It might be interesting to think about how this relates to Whedon.
Philadelphia Phillies team started his next season from April and fans can find cheap phillies tickets online from www.ticketdove.com
Thanks for a thoughtful and interesting post, Leora!
I wonder, too, as Casey mentions in her comment, how Much Ado’s promo campaign was influenced by the success of The Avengers. The promotional material for Much Ado made little mention of Whedon as director of The Avengers, and I think that’s hugely telling. The Avengers is the third highest-grossing movie of all time - given the way mainstream movies are marketed these days, it seems crazy that Much Ado’s marketing team wouldn’t use that to draw in audiences. The choice not to then, seems to support Casey’s point that perhaps much of Much Ado’s marketing campaign was focused on convincing Whedon fans that he hadn’t sold out or lost his underdog, left-of-mainstream cred. In almost every article or review I read about the film leading up to and immediately following its release, it was mentioned that Whedon made the film as a way to “recover” from the experience of making the The Avengers - often these were direct quotes from Whedon himself, perhaps suggesting that Whedon needed to remind himself that he hadn’t “sold out”?
Thanks for the post, Leora! Interesting take on the “Much Ado” promo campaign. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how the timing of this film in relation to “The Avengers” may have affected the branding strategies that you discuss. It seemed to me that rumblings about the “Much Ado” began as the crazy success of “The Avengers” was really sinking in (please correct me if I have the timing wrong). This film then becomes an important moment in Whedon branding—“Much Ado” attempts to reassure the fandom that Joss has not “sold out,” while also addressing a new subset of potential fans. So, a related comment: I wonder how your take on the parallel Whedon/Shakespeare branding might relate to discussions about mainstream (versus cult) success that are becoming more prevalent in mid-Marvel Whedon scholarship.