Friday, January 28, 2011

Wizard Cancells Magazine; My Experiences and Thoughts Thereof

So word has gone out that Wizard is ceasing publication of their magazine immediately. This announcement was made the day after Wizard World announced that it was going public and publishing a web magazine. This makes Wizard a company that Though I have not been an active reader of the publication over all of its 19 years of publication, I do have some experience and opinions regarding it.

I first became aware of it when I started working at a comic book shop called Comic Mania located next door to the School of Visual Arts. I started work there the very day it opened, which was the day that my Freshman year at that school began. This was at the height of the comic book boom that was spearheaded by Image and Valiant. Wizard magazine seemed to be the greatest cheerleader for this boom, and for Image Comics in particular. Their “hot picks” repeatedly highlighted the latest works from Image, and their prices of back issue Image Comics seemed to escalate faster in their price list than any other. IT was often packaged in a plastic bag with collectible premiums like trading cards and comic previews. No doubt it was bought up as much for its collectible value in that bloated market of the day as for its content.

As the years passed, the comic book industry busted, and I drifted away from the scene a bit. Then I got involved in working for the Big Apple Convention. As my responsibilities in working for that convention increased, I became more aware of what was going on, and I noticed that Wizard was holding conventions. Image Comics had eveolved into a company that, frankly, had better comic than when they first started out, and Wizard Magazine gave more balanced coverage of the comic book industry, market, conventions, and related culture and media. In fact, the magazine became pretty much the pre-eminent publication of such matters.

At this time, the Big Apple Con was the only comic book convention in New York that managed to survive from the mid- 1990’s to the mid 2000’s. Then Reed Exhibitions came along and set up the New York Comic Con at the Javits Center. After a few years, Reed and Wizard started buying or starting conventions in different cities, and scheduling these events at times that sometimes made it difficult to attend them all. Wizard bought up Big Apple Con, re-naming it Big Apple Comic Con.

At the latest of these conventions, Wizard gave out free copies of their latest issue. It seemed thinner than I remembered the magazine used to be, and the content seemed light and sparse. Now the magazine is gone from the newsstands, and the content will only be available on line.

Se we can all add Wizard to our bookmarks, in the same file as Newsarama, Ain’t it Cool, and all the other sites that post up the latest announcements from the comic book, movie, TV, toy, and convention companies. WE can wonder if Wizard will or will not be interested in promoting those things that will be appearing at their conventions over those that will not, and we can wait and see if they will give insight into news items that will make their content as worth perusing, if not more so, than any of those other sites.

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