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September 26 2005

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth. Time Magazine's interview with Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman (link to the entire transcript at the end of the article).

Right on :) Great stuff!!! (except the cliche parade "promdate-less", and geeks, nerds and dorks are not the same thing [said indignant geek])

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-09-26 00:23 ]
I love it! But all the comics references made me think.

To all the non-comics people out there...
You visit a Whedon site, you love Buffy, Angel, Firefly, etc. You've read countless reviews about the Joss comics...its time to get out there and buy some comic books! If you think the continuity of Buffy and Angel are cool, you wont believe the continuity (and fun stories and surprises) to be discovered in the world of comics. Don't know where to start? My advice is go to ebay and buy a run of Astonishing X-Men (by Joss) or Powers (by a guy named Brian Michael Bendis). I say ebay b/c its easy to get a big run cheap! Then go to your comic store once a month for the next installment. Enjoy. (Sorry for the comics commercial--I just think many Verse fans would get into it. Be like Joss, read your comics!)
"There are women, it is said, who find The O.C.'s Seth Cohen sexy, and men who feel the same way about bespectacled SNLer Tina Fey, to say nothing of emerging Harry Potter hottie Emma Watson."

Dude. She's fifteen.
"...says Gaiman, who's English."

Oh he's English you say? What an amusing anecdote... ;)
"...says Gaiman, who's English."

Oh he's English you say? What an amusing anecdote... ;)

Yeah I thought that was a rather odd thing myself too. Was it just to explain the typing of 'mum' rather than 'mom'? Because otherwise I see no reason why his being english should make me see what he says in any different light.

Say, is the full article in the actual magazine of Time? I'd buy that before signing up online to it. Can't really tell if it is though. And was this truly a double interview, with Joss and Neil responding to each other as well, or did they just weave two separate interviews with the same theme and questions together?
I'm proud our tribe is getting some much-deserved love, but I am a little troubled by the mainstream tendency to lump 'geek', 'nerd' and 'dork' together. The first two are distinctive subgroups within the general nonconformist category, while the third is a negative term in any sense:

  • Geek -- n. -- [Informal] An intellectually inclined person, especially one who is interested in scientific or technical subjects; as, a group of geeks wearing pocket protectors; -- originally a deprecatory and contemptuous term, but in the 1990's, with the increase in popularity of computers and the frequency of accumulation of great wealth by computer entrepreneurs, it has come to be used with noticeable frequency by technically competent people to refer to themselves, ironically and sometimes proudly. The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48, sense 4.

  • Nerd -- n. -- 1. [Mainstream slang] Pejorative applied to anyone with an above-average IQ and few gifts at small talk and ordinary social rituals. 2. [Jargon] Term of praise applied (in conscious ironic reference to sense 1) to someone who knows what's really important and interesting and doesn't care to be distracted by trivial chatter and silly status games. Compare {geek}. The word itself appears to derive from the lines "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep and a Proo, / A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker, too!" in the Dr. Seuss book "If I Ran the Zoo" (1950). (The spellings `nurd' and `gnurd' also used to be current at MIT, where `nurd' is reported from as far back as 1957.) Jargon File (4.3.1, 29 Jun 2001).

  • Dork -- n. -- [Slang] A dull stupid fatuous person [syn: {jerk}] WordNet (r) 2.0; also, [vulgar slang] the penis. PJC
[And yes, only a nerd/geek would care about such things, but y'know, to thine own self be true 'n' all that ;)

Re: interview -- It's wonderful to get both these guys chatting together. Now, can we actually entertain the idea they might someday work on a project together? I mean, seriously, can you imagine?
Re: interview -- It's wonderful to get both these guys chatting together. Now, can we actually entertain the idea they might someday work on a project together? I mean, seriously, can you imagine?
With Neil Gaiman working with more movies these days who knows it could happen!

Ages ago in an interview with Gaiman, he mentioned the ill-fated Sandman movie and while he hopes that it never comes out of development hell, if the right director with the right vision took it on, maybe it could work. Joss Whedon's name was brought up but was mentioned that he was likely too busy with his own projects to take on Sandman. I think the interview was linked to Whedonesque.com if anyone wants to look for it.

As for the article itself, I thought bit disappointing that with two incredible creators like Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman that the best they could do is the nerd angle, with only the occasional quote from both of them. Not to mention that type of article has been done again and again by so many other reporters for years now and often done a lot better. It's kind of like the "WHAM! BAM! Comics Aren't For Kids Anymore!" type of articles that pops up every now and again in newspapers and magazines, despite the fact reporters have been writing the same article for the past 20 years now.
To add to alexreager's comment about getting into comics, if you are one of the many Whedonites who loves Buffy, definitely go out and start buying up Ultimate Spider-Man trade paperback collections. Don't even bother with the other Ultimate titles.

They're pretty good, yeah, but Ultimate Spider-Man is great. Very much like Buffy: Great wit, great drama, great dialogue. The art can occasionally be a tad shaky, but it doesn't matter. Brian Michael Bendis is almost a Joss 2.

(And, once you've earned some comic book credits, check out The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, the two best comic books ever made.)

Anyway, about the interview...

Loved it! Great stuff, and I do really want Joss and Neil to work together at some point...
They got Gaiman and Joss Whedon together, and just write an article I've seen a half a dozen times. Wow geekyness is cool now. Look these two guys are popular, despite being genre writers.

Woohoo

[ edited by rabid on 2005-09-26 03:03 ]
In regards to the urging to try comic books, I did try Astonishing X-Men because of Joss. I was pretty excited because it was something I had not thought of doing before and I looked forward to being introduced to something new and interesting. Unfortunately I found that they were particularly unsatisfying for me, and I think it is the medium rather than the execution.

I thought about it and realized that I have always loved the layered complex story and use of language in literature and theater. Instrumental music is less likely to enthrall me as are pure dance or paintings. When it was mentioned how the visual artist, rather than the writer, is often given most or even all of the credit in comics, I understood what my problem with them probably was. I just don't see depth or complexity. For me it is just a short bunch of pictures with captions. What can I say, there are all kinds of nerds and geeks. Theater nerd here...or theater geek? I don't know.

Hey, the comics folks here have tried Sondheim, and Shakespere, right? If not try seeing a performance. Most of the time they are done in a square box, a lot like comic books though there are hardly ever any superheros. ;-)
Huh? This article is all Grossman flapping his yap and almost nothing from Joss and Neil. And Grossman's condescending attitude toward fantasy and SF was already apparent in his article on Rowling. Someone please make him go away.
newcj, AXM is fine, especially the Gifted arc, but for layers and complexity in the comic medium, you have to try Gaiman's Sandman, (from the beginning if possible, but my fav series are collected in the TPBs A Game of You and The Kindly Ones), Alan Moore's Watchmen, or the Hernandez Brothers' Love and Rockets, in particular the sequence Human Diastrophism, which is featured in the TPB Blood of Palomar. I defy you to remain unmoved by the depth and complexity of these works (and many, many others).
Um...

The entire interview -- four pages worth! -- is here, actually. (At the end of the main article there was a link to the full transcript, which apparently escaped notice.)

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1109313,00.html

Enjoy.
Thank you, Robogeek! That was heaven.
SNT, I'm always willing to give things a try. I just looked in my local library catalog (Ain't the internet a wonderful thing?) and they have The Sandman book of dreams by Gaiman, Neil, and Watchmen by Moore, Alan, 1953-. They did not have any of the titles you said for the Hernandez Brothers and nothing that came up under Hernendez looked very likely. Nonfiction? Don't think so.

So which one should I start with when I find myself in a mood conducive trying comic books again?
Wow, the transcript was *so* much better than the article. Thanks robogeek!

Overall, while there is a trend towards greater mainstream acceptance of science fiction/fantasy/geeky things, it's pretty annoying when people act as if it there's just one big, monolithic subculture.

(Also, I *really* want to throw in my two cents with comic recommendations, but I shall resist. However, I will point out that Astonishing X-Men, while pretty good, is only the second thing that Joss has done in the medium, and he's working with company-owned *superheroes* -- full of mythic power, yes, but also *micromanaged by corporations* [see, for example, Joss' reversion to the old costumes, a move dicated largely by the whims of toy companies]. So, you know, I wouldn't take AXM as a definitive statement on what comics have to offer.]
Newcj, if you're interested in the Sandman series, I think it's best to start from the beginning, as it's very continuity based. The first volume is "Preludes and Nocturnes."
Great find Robogeek. Thanks. They made me smile from beginning to end. Boy, as rabid pointed out, the interviewer did not seem to get much out of it from what he wrote in the article.

Comic books: Other than what I have read on the posts on this site, I have never heard of the Sandman series so I can't say whether I am interested or not. In any case it makes perfect sense to start at the beginning, and that is how I like to do things, but I am not particularly interested in spending a lot of money on something I am not sure I am going to like, much less will then have to find a place for in my already over flowing house. These seem to be what the library has to offer. As far as I know, they are my choices so I go with them or I don't go at this point...unless someone has a better idea.

...And, yeah, I would imagine that SNT wouldn't mind if other people joined the game. I certainly have no objections, though I also make no promises about the results. ;-)

Edited to say that the library in the next town over has Preludes and Noctures, but I do not think they would lend it to me as I do not live there. when I get a chance I may give them a call just to check, however.

[ edited by newcj on 2005-09-26 07:34 ]
newcj -- OK, I couldn't resist. Watchmen is a pretty solid choice -- a multilayered, character-driven take on superheroes and politics, and one of the key books (along with Maus and Batman: The Dark Knight returns) in the original "comics are literature!" media wave in the mid-80s. It helps if you have some sense of the superhero stereotypes that Moore is updating and parodying, but everyone I know who's read Watchmen has been impressed, at the very least, and more often fallen totally in love.

Don't get the Book of Dreams: it's not a comic, but rather a collection of prose stories "based on" the Sandman; I don't even think that Neil Gaiman wrote anything in there other than the introduction.

Something else you should consider are the two "samplers" from Vertigo, DC's imprint for science fiction and fantasy -- they've published The Sandman, Hellblazer, and others. Each of the samplers -- Vertigo First Taste and Vertigo First Offenses -- includes five or six first issues of different Vertigo series, and they only cost about $5 each, so they're pretty ideal introductions to different styles of writing and art. First Taste is available on Amazon and in the graphic novel section of most bookstores, and First Offenses comes out in early October. (Overall, I think the work in First Offenses is stronger -- it includes the first issue of The Preacher, which I think Simon really likes, as well as the first issue of the Invisibles, which is my favorite comic.)

And hey, if you want to return the favor, what's a good place to start with Sondheim?

[ edited by bobothebrave on 2005-09-26 07:49 ]
"It really is this thing of executives loving the smell of their own urine and urinating on things. And then more execs come in, and they urinate. And then the next round. By the end, they have this thing which just smells like pee, and nobody likes it."

Gaiman's take on the Hollywood "development" process has to be the most succinct version ever!
Joss: I think there's a possibility that comic book movies are getting a tiny bit better on the one hand because they're no longer made by executives...Although we still occasionally get League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and you really can't explain that.
Neil Gaiman: Or Cat Woman.
Joss: Oh my god.

Pffff...LOL. Best exchange by creative geniuses ever.
Robogeek -- the link at the end of the article was not there when this was originally posted. There was only the text, which at the time said 'Read the whole article at Time.com' which made you think: um, I'm AT Time.com...
If you're going to read Sandman, do not skip to The Kindly Ones. That's the climax of the entire series, really. Start with Preludes and Nocturnes, or Dream Country. But I adore Sandman. It's what got me interested in comics.

The article was disappointing, but thanks for the link to the interview, Robogeek!
Aye what zeitgeist said, the link wasn't there when I posted the article last night. The transcript is very good compared to the "Is that it?" interview.
Yes, the transcript is far superior. I feel kind of stupid that I didn't see the link to it the first time through.

TIME: I'm really hoping her bustier will slip down a little bit further than it did in the show.

JW: You're just after a porno, aren't you?

TIME: Yes.

JW: It's all about priorities. Yes, it's very empowering for her to be naked all the time.


I found that unspeakably hilarious...and it certainly is the kind of reaction the mainstream gives...
Woah, that interview was soo much better than the article. Just having Joss and Neil riffing off each other was basically a fanboy dream come true :)
Did anyone feel like there was this little... bitterness from Joss about people constantly asking about Buffy-verse? It feels like just about everyone who was once involved with Buffy/Angel wants to distance themselves as much as possible from it. Not that I can entirely blame them, since it was quite some time ago, but it seems odd that the things that made most of the actors and Joss more well known is the same thing that they are trying to get as far away from as possible. Gadzooks! Do we need to truly let it go now?
You'd think Time Magazine would know not to mis-spell Joss' last name on the top of all 4 pages. Joss "Wedon". Appalling.
It doesn't suprise me that one would want to distance himself from something. Right now Joss is doing Serenity and prepping Wonder Woman, as well as Goners and a possible Spike movie. When every second question is about Buffy, that it must feel an awful lot like people don't have interest in your current projects. No one wants to think they will be remembered for only one thing, no matter how good it was.
Neil and Joss were so cute together. The article was shallow as a puddle. If that's everything the guy got out of that interview then maybe the fanboys should re-invent "The Revenge of the Nerds" behind some backstop with him.
That was such a great interview with the two of them. It was exactly what I was expecting from the original article but didn't get. Also it's interesting to see that the geek angle seem to be very personal to the reporter. He almost seems bitter than comics, fanasty, sci-fi and more are now a lot more mainstream. Personally, I think it's great and hope it continues to get bigger and bigger. Especially when it means creators like Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon get more creative freedom and more money thrown at them to do it right.
Thanks for the advice Bobothebrave, I'll look around and see what is available within the guidlines. ;-)

As far as Sonheim, This is going to be long, because, unfortunately you can’t get them on Netflix or out of the library -- at least I do not think so. The first three below have been filmed for television presentations, so maybe they are available somewhere, but of course you lose a lot when you don’t see it live. My point is, I’ll give you more info than you need so that if you have the opportunity to see one of them, you’ll have some idea of whether it is a good one to see first. BTW http://www.sondheim.com/shows/ gives a thumbnail sketch of pretty much everything he has done.

For me his work is about people figuring out who they are, how they fit in to their world, what they want and what price they are willing to pay to get it. In each show he uses a different group of people with a different premise, a different set of problems to solve, and a different set of tools to solve them, but in the end it is about coming to grips with yourself within that world. The shows are funny in a cynical, satirical and hard edged sort of way while having wonderful and complex characters. Because he did each show very differently, which one would be right for you first would depend on your tastes.

For horror lovers: "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
A touching tale of the relationship and mutually beneficial alliance between an extremely practical small business owner and her serial killer neighbor in working class Victorian England. He kills them, she gets rid of the bodies while making a profit.(This was filmed for TV.)

For fanasty lovers: "Into the Woods"
Familiar fairy tales are woven together in the first act. The second act explores the consequences of their actions and what happened after “…and they lived happily ever after.” (I’ve never seen a full production of this. I tried this summer, but I missed it. It was filmed for TV, however.)

For Bergman movie lovers, drawing room comedy lovers, and lovers of the exploration of the insanity that the relationships between men and women: "A Little Night Music"
I love this one. It has lots of great characters and character exploration. It revolves around an actress in the early 20th century , her old lover, current lover, both their wives, her daughter, her former lover’s son, her disapproving former courtesan mother, and a servant girl who all end up spending a quiet weekend in the country together. (This one was also filmed for TV and has the song Send in the Clowns.)

Then there are these that are probably not the best choices for a first time but are rarely done anyway. Still great theater though.

“Company” about young urban singles and the push and pull of whether or not to get married. Everybody has an opinion and an agenda. I love this one too, but some people feel its surface is too dated. I think the story itself is timeless, but maybe that is just me.

“Follies” about a reunion of older former show girls at their old theater as it is about to be torn down for a parking lot. Survival is a big theme.

“Pacific Overtures” the story of the forcible opening of Japan by the US as told from the Japanese view point and as if a Japanese composer had learned about musicals in NYC and then gone back to Japan to create a Japanese version of one.

There are also some classic mega-hit shows and a couple movies for which he only wrote lyrics or music and lyrics. For Gypsy and West Side Story, he wrote the lyrics. For A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum he wrote the lyrics and the music.

Hope that is not too much info.

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