Wizard Magazine Closes Abruptly

Today’s breaking news, with Wizard scheduled to ship issue #235 of their magazine (for $5.99) this Wednesday, is that that will be the last issue.

Also dead is their sister publication Toyfare. (Wizard had previous cancelled their gaming magazine in 2007 and Anime Insider in 2009.) That leaves the only major print publication dedicated to current comics as Comics Buyer’s Guide.

The public statement from former magazine head Gareb Shamus was a press release promoting the Wizard World brand as a “digital magazine” beginning in February and a company going public. (Why would people invest?) The (too-many) conventions will also continue. As Tom Spurgeon points out, the idea of going online isn’t convincing, given “concurrent news out there that they’re firing people and canceling freelance gigs — not moving them to this on-line initiative”.

This news likely isn’t surprising, although employees were unpleasantly shocked by how abruptly it all happened. But with so much company news available online much faster than a monthly publication could compete with, the demise of the magazine makes sense, especially given its continually declining sales. Wizard was known for having a vision of comics that revolved around teenage boys and what they wanted, combined with encouraging speculation (and price manipulation) through its price guide.

There is no word on whether subscribers will receive a refund or substitute publication in lieu of remaining issues, or whether let-go employees will receive any kind of severance. Wizard unfortunately has a history of letting people go in snap decisions instead of actually addressing problems. While I am sorry to hear of anyone losing a job during these times, I doubt anyone will miss the magazines; their time had long passed, and their view of comics isn’t one that was good for the industry.


15 Responses to “Wizard Magazine Closes Abruptly”

  1. Scott Says:

    I guess I can’t be surprised by their decision. The numbers were abyssmally low, just looking at the DM orders. Given the collapse of the magazine industry the last couple years, it doesn’t surprise me that those numbers probably were in the tank, too.

    I don’t think Comics Journal is monthly anymore, and CBG is weekly. Neither carry a price guide. It blows my mind that noone has figured out a way to make a monthly, comics-based, print magazine viable and successful. How many people have said “I stopped reading Wizard for such-and-such a reason?” Tons. And yet, noone’s found a way to capitalize on that need. Crazy.

    S.

  2. Jason Green Says:

    “That leaves the only major print publication dedicated to current comics as Comics Buyerâ��s Guide.”

    What about Comic Shop News? I read it every week, and yeah, it’s mostly PR puff pieces, but it’s a nice way to learn about new books and get a ton of publishing news without having to dig through the billions of posts on Newsarama or CBR.

    http://csnsider.com/

  3. Johanna Says:

    Comics Journal is yearly, although it remains to be seen how long that plan will last. There are a couple of startups who have tried to be “the new Wizard”, but they put out an issue or two and then disappear. Didn’t CBG go monthly?

  4. Grant Says:

    I never cared for Wizard’s content. It was really juvenile stuff, even for a comic book fan. Their news was always several months old.

    I’d be more upset if they were canceling Comic Buyers Guide. They actually have some decent content. That and Maggie Thompson is one of my heroes, along with Gary Carter from the now defunct Comic Book Marketplace and the gang at Two Morrows.

  5. Jennifer Says:

    *groan* we JUST ORDERED that! it was the closest thing i could find to replace realms of fantasy. I give up! I wish they would change our state standards regarding periodicals. This is insane! Half of the mags I ordered last year were cancelled this year and now it looks like the same thing is happening with all the replacements I spent hours digging up and reviewing.

  6. Anthony Says:

    I used to read Wizard all the time back in the 90s, but heavier Internet usage, changing reading tastes, money issues and growing tired of Wizard’s sophomoric nature made me drop it. I haven’t bought an issue of “Wizard” in years, so guess not sorry to see it go.

    Wonder why they didn’t move to the Internet years ago, instead of ceding it to Newsarama and Comic Book Resources…

  7. Jason Says:

    In the issue which is now their second to last issue, only 29 pages out of 79 were really devoted to comics with the rest being about comic culture movies, TV, toys and video games. Plus, I really agree with Grant in that the style of writing made me wonder why anyone over 15 yr old would be reading this…made me think I was too old for their publication. Anyway moot point now!

  8. Westfield Comics Blog » KC COLUMN: THINGS THAT ARE GONE Says:

    [...] be summed up by the subject of the email I sent to my wife Johanna (who’s provided an excellent rundown of recent Wizard activities at ComicsWorthReading.com) on the day the news broke: The Other Shoe [...]

  9. KC Mourns the Passing of … » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] — and he tells some cool stories about his personal experience with it as a DC editor — Wizard magazine, and the Human Torch. [...]

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    [...] A: After abruptly closing Wizard magazine amid talk of an online presence, Gareb Shamus revealed more of his plans in an iFanboy interview. [...]

  11. Mark Says:

    Interesting. I had one more issue left in the subscription #236. The mag has really really fallen apart when it started its new format a year ago. Absolute junk, I had tried canceling it 2 or 3 times, but they never did. I guess I should have expected it. I don’t expect anyone to get a refund on their missing issues.

  12. Wizard World Digital Debuts With Toy Focus » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] closing the print magazine at the end of January, Wizard planned to create a digital magazine, an idea I found ludicrous. Now [...]

  13. Dumb Move LinkBlogging: Flaming Signs, Bad Awards, and the Long Slow Death of Wizard » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] note on the never-ending Wizard obituary: Their digital magazine staff is down to one, Carlos Mejia, after the departure of staff fixture [...]

  14. Tokyopop Threatens to Rise From the Dead … Again » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    [...] owner Stu Levy has apparently sold (or licensed?) the brand name to GeekChicDaily (a project from former Wizard magazine owner Gareb Shamus). GCD is an email newsletter that exists mostly to sell ads that they promise to [...]

  15. Robin Says:

    Goodbye and good riddance!

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