by Henry Hanks, CNN.com
As T-shirt slogans go, it doesn’t get more direct than this: "Joss Whedon is my master now."
It’s a shirt common at fan conventions and anywhere else diehard pop-culture devotees gather. And few fan bases are as fervent as the one devoted to the third-generation telvision writer.
Few would have guessed that the premiere of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" 15 years ago would launch such a following for its creator. But the enthusiasm of "Buffy" fans helped Whedon build what is referred to as the "Whedonverse."
The Whedonverse includes "Buffy;" its spinoff, "Angel;" "Firefly" – which, 10 years later, is discussed by fans now more than it was during the short time it was on the air; "Serenity" (the "Firefly" movie); another short-lived but devotion-earning series, "Dollhouse;" and most recently, the critically acclaimed horror movie Whedon co-wrote and produced, "The Cabin in the Woods." (click here to buy the companion book)
But on Hollywood’s big stage, all of that is dwarfed by the $220 million "The Avengers," the upcoming action movie written and directed by Whedon. It is the unique culmination of four years of superhero films by Marvel Studios, that have all featured at least one character that will appear in "The Avengers."
With Whedon on the cusp of such a big moment in his career, it bears pondering just what it is that inspires such devotion among fans, who will surely line up alongside the masses to see Iron Man and the rest crack wise and fight off Loki’s army.
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