Jiminy Christmas! | I Miss Wizard

In case you’ve missed all the web news Wizard magazine has been shut down.  There has been a lot of snarky good riddance pieces on the comic sites and that’s just completely unfair.  Yes Wizard as a print magazine has been in decline for some time, but to be fair so have most niche topic print publications.

Let me clarify my position: I miss Wizard magazine from my youth.  Before Wizard you could locate comic news in ads, fanzines and other low volume publications.  Overstreet Update had a good print run but the content other than prices was retailer oriented.  Wizard seemed to encapsulate everything that a comic fan would want to see and read about in one convenient place.  Let me emphasize this was a mainstream magazine that was in bookstores and lots of retail outlets including comic stores: very big exposure and accessible to all walks of comic readers.

I have the first five issues of Wizard, the rest recycled years ago, and decided to flip through and see what was so magical about the content.

The price guide took the most pages and for me was never that interesting since I relied on Overstreet; they did put writer and penciller on a lot of issues which made tracking down your favourite creator books a lot easier.

Interviews, usually more than one per issue.  By issue five they had interviewed Todd McFarlane, Eric Larson, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Bart Sears, Simon Bisley, Javier Saltares, Ron Lim, Walt and Louise Simonson, Fabian Nicieza, Peter David.

Contests.  Platinum Spider-Man #1, autographed Silver Surfer #50, autographed New Mutants #87, autographed Punisher #10.  Big books from hot creators.

Staff picks and shipping lists.  You could actually get decent information about upcoming comics.  In the same vein they had Top 100 and Market watch, a look at what was selling; this was the 90s and comic speculation was very real and rampant.

Character, genre and creator profiles.  They looked at Horror comics, Wolverine, Batman, the launch of Valiant, starting a comics section in your library, DC’s science fiction heroes.

Rounding out were comic toy and card sections, a fold out poster of the cover, columns like Collecting in the 90s and Hollywood Heroes.

All together it was a great reading experience about and for the hobby of collecting and reading comics.  Unfortunately that formula ran its course and the internet came along to do all the same things for free by thousands of people; take a look at the top 20 comic sites and they’re doing the same thing.  Wizard tried to adapt and provide a collected experience but it didn’t work: I stopped buying about six years ago.

My day job is in IT: since high school I’ve been reading about a dozen computer related magazines a month, or at least I was.  Right now I’m reading three a month as that’s seems to be all that’s left on the North American market, and they’re have to adapt just to keep going.  Most magazines faced the same hurdles and if they succeeded with finding unique content they’re still around.

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Scott VanderPloeg
Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.
Articles: 1231

7 Comments

  1. I agree, I love reading old issue of Wizard when the articles were fun and stood up over time. It’s a long time coming

  2. I think the magazine started to suffer when they switched from comic book sized to magazine sized. The page count dropped as did the quality. There are many things that were inherently wrong about Wizard magazine throught it’s entire run (particularly it’s emphasis on “hot” comics and encouraging speculation) but it was the only comics industry magazine out there on the front lines, month after month, and that was a good thing.

  3. I can almost understand the fans and readers being somewhat upset by this news, but I think that anybody who was an independent creator or self-publisher in the 90’s (like me) who may have ever dealt with them is not going to regret their passing.

    Every now and then I’d get a call from their sales department either trying to sell me over-priced ad space in their magazine (possibly overpriced because of a rumor I heard saying they were giving Marvel and DC and Image FREE ads, just to make it seem like it was worth running ads in the magazine- therefore they could justify gouging everyone else gullible enough to pay for an ad) or overpriced table space at their conventions. When I’d say no and point out their prices were too high, they’d berate me and say I was just an amateur who would never amount to anything. This happened a few times over the years and by different sales people, so it seems that insulting (or shaming) people that wouldn’t buy ads was “policy.”

    I also remember being told at a convention by Wizard writers and editors that while they loved my comic (and proved so by spending a lot of money at my table picking up back issues) they “weren’t allowed to write about it.” So a magazine that claims to be about comics has a policy to not write about certain comics?

    At a trade show, for some unknown reason a drunken high-up at Wizard boasted to me that they were responsible for making Image “big.” So it always seemed to me that they were proud of the fact they could manipulate the market. Not really what a comics news magazine should be doing.

    So pretty much from the get-go, Wizard seemed to me as a “toxic entity” (to quote Steve Bissette). I will not miss them.

  4. I was never a big Wizard fan, probably because by the time Wizard came around, I had out grown comics… or rather view them differently. As an adult I just didn’t buy all the Wizard hype. But, I did pick up select issues occasionally and found the magazine informative and entertaining.

    As a side note, I see this web site as potential replacement for Wizard. I don’t believe any one online source is doing what Wizard was but Comic Book Daily is in a position to own this space. You guys need to get a better logo… think of it as a signature that you can apply anywhere (from t-shirts to mugs), reorganize your blog topics, add entertainment value (ie; humor), more interesting articles like the “top 10 richest superheros” or “superheros who are scientists vs non-scientific superheros”. Throw in the occasional interview and possibly a market index of the hottest comics. Really, you don’t need to invent anything new… Wizard was already doing it so all you have to do is transition some of their key ideas over to this site. Build it and the ad dollars will come… **insert cash register sound here** Don’t forget the associations to publishers and other industry establishments which will help validate this site. Good luck!

    ^_^

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