Hanging on the wall of my living room is the original two-page pencil-and-ink artwork from Buffy Season 8 #1 of the Hellmouth crater in what once was Sunnydale, California. And in the middle of that craggy disaster — drawn by Georges Jeanty and inked by Andy Owens — is the autograph of Joss Whedon, who signed my artwork after I beat him in armwrestling.
Why armwrestling? Because, like a lot of nerd-adjacent folks of a certain age, the work of Joss Whedon has been a major influence on my life as an artist, and as an individual. So when I had the chance to meet him and ask for an autograph, it was the first thing I blurted out. And hey, it's a good story. I have photographs!
Unfortunately, I'm not feeling so good about displaying that particular piece of pop memorabilia in my home right now, particularly reading Whedon's spectacularly disastrous attempt to save face in New York Magazine. The last 5 or so years have seen a continuous trickle of Whedon-related disappointments, from revelations of predatory infidelity to accusations of racism to, well, Justice League. Apparently, Whedon thought it would be a good idea to set down with Lila Shapiro of Vulture and set the record straight. Which he does. Quite clearly. And somehow without putting his foot in his mouth. "I'm terrified of every word that comes out of my mouth," he tells the interviewer at one point — and he certainly justifies that fear.
Case in point: this.
He felt he "had" to sleep with the[se women], that he was "power less" to resist. I laughed. "I'm not actually joking," he said.
It's a long, detailed article, but it's worth reading, as it details the depths of his douchebaggery — and his apparent inability to take responsibility for any of it, beyond the occasional "I could have handled that better." It's disappointing, sure, but it's also an impressive feat just to watch the man hang himself by his own words. I always admired his work for the way he portrayed good people doing bad things for good reasons, and bad people doing good things for good reasons, but in the end, it turned out he was more Jayne than Mal. Or, perhaps accurately, he really was The Trio from Buffy season 6 all along.
Also: if the article is not enough, you can watch the ten-hour YouTube movie above, created by one of the young women he horribly mistreated.
The Undoing of Joss Whedon [Lila Shapiro / New York Magazine]
Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)