Until this year's SXSW film festival, I'd never spoken to Joss Whedon.

It didn't really strike me as odd until after the fact.  I mean, I've been writing about this guy's work for the entire time I've been online, and we have many overlapping friends.  Even if I hadn't had the opportunity for a formal interview, it seemed like we should have at least run into each other at some point.  Even my Twitter icon sort of perfectly sums it up, a photo of the two of us standing about eight feet apart that I never even realized happened.

The SXSW chat went really well, I thought, and then I saw "The Avengers" and just flipped for what he pulled off.  Sitting down with him again at the press day for the film, it was hard to know where to start the conversation because there's so much that's worth talking about when someone's having a creative moment like the one Whedon's having right now, not to mention the body of work he's already accumulated.

We talked about how this film had to introduce Hawkeye, but under circumstances that mean you're not meeting the "real" Clint Barton at first, and how odd an introduction that is, and we talked about the balancing act that is required by a film like this, not only between the characters, but between the humor and the action.

I'm glad that we also got a chance to talk about the Hulk and Whedon's approach to writing him this time around.  It's gratifying to see that I wasn't alone in my feelings about what he and Mark Ruffalo accomplished with the character, and I think if you'd asked people six months ago who their favorite Avenger would probably be, very few would have answered the Hulk.  Now, it seems like a sure thing that we'll see Ruffalo return to the role, making him the first actor to make more than one Hulk movie in the modern comic book era.



Here's hoping this is just the first of many future conversations with Whedon.  Whatever he does next, he's going to have a different level of support from Hollywood than ever before, and for fans of what he does, it's exciting to see everyone else finally share the enthusiasm we've had for his work in the past.

"The Avengers" is open everywhere now, and if you didn't know that already, congratulations on finally coming out of that coma.