…or, Tell Me Again Why I Picked Comics as a Career?
Following a press release issued today, Wizard magazine, the self-declared standard of the comic book industry is no more. Zip. Gone. All staff let go, all freelance contracts canceled. To which I can only respond, Michael Bluth style, “her?”. Apart from collectors and completists, aka people that still buy the Overstreet Price Guide, Wizard magazine has been the after thought of the comic fan for many years now. While it sucks for anyone to lose their job in this tired ass economy, the folks at Wizard had to see this coming for miles. Twenty years ago, Wizard magazine served an important purpose. First, it was an often referenced if highly suspect price guide for speculation comic buyers and sellers. Indeed, one could argue Wizard helped fueled the false collectors market that damn near killed the industry om the mid to late 1990s.
Not that I’m bashing on the now defunct magazine for their actions. The publishers saw an opportunity from money-hungry collectors that missed the Cabbage Patch Kids wave and took it. Second, Wizard magazine was the only real source for us comic book fans to see our favorite characters as they made the transition to screen and/or video games. It was also the only way we could read about our favorite writers, artists, and was an insight into an industry we all loved. Or, at the very least, were curious about. Be honest, when Marvel Comics allowed Wizard an all-access tour of their studio, it was the coolest friggen article ever! I mean, that was were Spider-Man cam from. How could we not love it? And we did.
But that was 20 years ago.
Like so many other facets of the publishing industry, Wizard magazine is simply redundant. With real-time news from sites like IGN, Comic Book Resources, and Newsarama; and comic commentary sites like iFanboy or Comics Alliance, a magazine like Wizard just isn’t necessary. Short of the random exclusive article or image (which would often hit the Internet hours before the issue landed on the stands), there simply isn’t a point to Wizard magazine. No longer valid as a price guide, Wizard seemed to solely exist as a 65 page ad for comic book companies… That you paid $5.99 a month to read. Going to 100% online content, perhaps Wizards is just another portion of the ever-changing landscape that is the comic book industry. And yet I can’t help shake the feeling that, unlike their debut in 1991, Wizard magazine online is too little too late.
Just glad one of my professional comic goals is first comic book writer asked to drive in a reasonably priced car, not make the cover of Wizard magazine.