I remember the last issue of Dazzler (#42). Across the top, it read: "Because you demanded it... the last issue of the Dazzler!" If I were the writer of that series, I'd be pissed. Because you demanded it? Ouch. In some ways, I feel a similar mixed sympathy towards the print version of Wizard Magazine. With all due respect to the employees, I sorta wanted this to happen. In the words of one twitter post by Steve Mohundro: "I'm sad for the employees, but no love lost from me if Wizard magazine is actually folding. Not the best face for the art form or industry." I have many friends and colleagues who have benefited greatly from the support of Wizard. However, I always felt like Wizard represented the very aspects of our industry I was most embarrassed by -- misogynistic, myopic, and moronic. Wizard championed big events and big companies. The few times they did offer page space to indie comics, they weren't really "discovering" anything. They were spotlighting the obvious hits, filed under "well duh." The magazine's role in "comics journalism" was also deferred to more capable hands on the Internet. For example, Rich Johnston at BleedingCool.com and Heidi MacDonald at ComicsBeat.com, both did more investigative reporting than Wizard ever attempted.
It's a shame Wizard couldn't be more. And yet, it's hard to fault them. They were trying to sell magazines. If I were them, I'd probably also load it with Wolverine and Megan Fox as much as possible.
I understand that many people could come up with examples that refute my own criticism -- and by all means, feel free to comment and respond. I promise I won't get argumentative. I realize that Wizard did, at times, have moments of brilliance. Wizard's overall trend is well known. As comics began to get smarter, as the readership got older, they failed to adapt. Maybe I just lament their poor branding? Wizard. Have you ever heard a more terrible name for a magazine about the COMIC BOOK INDUSTRY? Instead of faulting them, maybe I should instead be upset that their occasional competition could never pose a real threat?
The magazine is one thing. The conventions were problematic too. I never appreciated how they attempted to overthrow locally-owned conventions by scheduling their shows so close. Business is business, but it's dirty and you lost my respect as a result. Even when I attended Wizard World Texas (in Arlington), they could never compete with the guests of the Dallas Comic Con or CAPE. Both conventions were also more friendly to indie creators.
More than anything, I'm upset to discover how they treated their employees. I mean, sure, I might be a real jerk about your magazine -- but these people spent years of their life trying to make your magazine (talking to you, Gareb Shamus) work. They deserved better.
I see a theme emerging: Wizard's great failing was a failure of respect -- to comics fans, to non-mainstream publishers, to convention goers, to their own employees.
This post is worth reading, and I'll end with it: click here