Wizard apparently didn’t care much for the general “yeah, pull the other one” response to their recent Chicago con, especially their announced attendance figures.
They fired two people responsible for convention planning. This is typical company thinking: refuse to acknowledge valid criticisms and don’t admit your strategy could be broken. Instead, sacrifice a couple of people doing what were reportedly good jobs. Heidi provides this analysis:
But with Chicago now acting as the ugly, bleary-eyed hangover to San Diego’s big night out, New York and WonderCon are vying for the #2 spot on the convention schedule. … Wizard shows are currently like comics versions of Star Trek cons, with the same seven guests being wheeled out year after year. Even hardcore message boarders were complaining about hearing the same Kevin Smith stories over and over again. Torpid and stagnant. The irony is that the comics industry and its outlying fiefdoms is anything BUT torpid and stagnant — the Wizard malaise sticks out like a sore thumb in an industry that is on the move.
Tom Spurgeon is even more blunt:
The move comes after a chaotic, rough 12-14 months for Wizard’s Wizard World conventions, including but not limited to: an abortive attempt to start a New England version of the show, an abandoned attempt to start a show in Atlanta that wilted in the face of support for the same-weekend Heroes Con, denials of that attempt, announced attendance figures at this year’s Philadelphia show very few at the show believed, getting snaked on a big New York show by Reed Exhibitions after Wizard had been circling the Big Apple with a hungry look in its eye for two-three years (they did work with Reed on show publicity), and, last Tuesday, announced Chicago attendance figures very few at the show believed and a subsequent refusal to discuss how those numbers were tabulated.
The problem with getting rid of a couple of scapegoats is that it aggravates the issue. You’ve lost people with a lot of internal company and experience-based knowledge, and you’ve made it harder to hire someone as good or better to replace them (since you’ve shown that you’re setting them up as a target the next time you don’t get the attendance you want).