On the “death” and end of Wizard

As of yesterday, the famous/infamous comic book/comic culture/entertainment magazine Wizard has effectively shut down.

Technically “going public as a company” as well as transferring to a digital format and publishing plan, the magazine’s had an up-and-down history with comic book culture, being seen by some as a powerhouse of publishing and recognition, while derided by others as pretty much one of the reasons speculation in the 1990’s “ruined” the comic book industry. Accusations of outright theft from Marvel Comics and favoritism towards the Big Two for spotlights and their well-known Top 10 lists have always been floating around. Frank Miller called Wizard bullshit basically.

At the same time though, I’m not going to lie about me and Wizard. I do remember reading the magazine when I was actively trying to get back into reading new comics regularly, as a sort of cheat sheet/catchup.  As a very quick and shallow introduction into modern American comics, it wasn’t absolutely terrible a way to get someone looking and thinking about the medium. Not everyone knows to check out The Comics Journal or The Beat or to go to SPX at first.

Also, as several people have noted, it really does suck that so many people who were passionate about comcis and worked at the magazine are laid off (the rumors of just how badly it went down, partially confirmed, are kind of infuriating).

Personally? It’s sort of like the recent demise of the Comics Code Authority, a staple of a particular era of comics and cartooning that’s unfortunately becoming irrelevant thanks to an inability to adapt. While Wizard’s attempt at a transition to digital is a good idea (necessary really, in this day and age), they’ve got some super-stiff competition, and reports like that iFanboy interview I linked to above indicate that the magazine’s plan is kind of lame, at best.

It’s undeniable the impact the magazine’s had, good or ill, on modern American comic book culture. You can’t swing a stick at a convention without hitting someone with a crate full of old Wizard issues for sale or someone whose closet at home is full of back issues alongside old copies of NFL Superpro comics.

Goodbye, Wizard Magazine. I hope it works out online, but fuck you for the way you treated your employees.  See you ’round.

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About Costa

Writer. College professor.
This entry was posted in blogging, comic book criticism, comic books, comic news, news, random, what the fuck?, wizard magazine. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On the “death” and end of Wizard

  1. Dr. Detfink says:

    For its era, Wizard was the equivalent of Ray Gun magazine for Comic books. A great outlet for self-promotion that didn’t have too many check points. It was shit pay for illustrators and writers but double spread exposure of art and walls of text. Unfortunately, Wizard was run just as godawful as Ray Gun and so it deserved its fate.

    However I can’t help but think about all the different voices who came back on CBR who know how BETTER jobs. Many of which broke into comics on some level. Today, I’m sorry all you ambitious bloggers and journalists out there, now that the big boys are going digital you’re days are numbered. Cause web traffic is arguably HARDER than print to make a living because you have no retailer.

    Don’t feel bad for the employees of Wizard because the comic book journalism world *snicker* is about as legit as a bunch of artsy kids who wear vans getting their table at Enid’s. It’s a comfort zone for guys not taken seriously. Nor should they.

    I remember when my co-founder of my website Greg went to the Comic Book Club in the P.I.T. last June. He stayed after the show to share some drinks with their guests and talk to them as well. Greg had asked what was the proper channels to get a press pass. The room got suddenly SILENT. Now, it might have been the site of an imposing 6’0″ black man from Brooklyn who power lifts that freaked them out. However, Greg has one of the softest voices for a guy who could bench press Hulk Hogan. Justin acted like a snarky bitch and cracked a joke at Greg’s expense. It was Pete who came over and explained to Greg that they used to work at newsarama.com and now, work for them freelance. Alex Zalben is the guy who has the connections to UGO, newsarama.com, etc. He gets the guests.

    Fast forward to three weeks before Comic Con, I was at the comic book club. I talked to Alex and they hadn’t received their press pass from newsarama.com. This is the business aspect as you see sites like Comic Vine put Sara Lima on camera. Easy on the eyes but more importantly gets writers like James Robinson to appear on their podcast every other week. Alas, they DID finally get their passes and worked for newsarama.com once again.

    While Alex doesn’t write for newsarama anymore, MTV Geek picked him up to write their comic book reviews. Yet isn’t it interesting…the Comic book club has had every one from Paul Levitz, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Jeff Lemire, Joe Hill…and it BARELY averages 10-15 people.

    What am I getting at? Comic books are a VERY SMALL journalist world. You’re LUCKY to get a gig with Wizard because its so non-conformist right now, every one is fighting for attention. Linkara guy is the dumbest fraud on the internet because ANYONE can take a shit comic book and pull some yucks. Or in the case of Blair Butler, just say ANYTHING by Bendis and Millar is great and get the scoop “Black Panther takes over Daredevil’s comic book in Man without Fear arc.” *flashes image of a squirrel chasing a nut*

    G4 makes it clear, putting comedians as “long time devoted comic book collectors” works. But what about the guys who um, y’know actually READ the books? Sorry my friend, the death or Wizard is the death of YOU.

    Keep ’em coming Costa. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Wizard Falls To Its Knees « indie posit

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