Wizard Magazine Closes Abruptly

Wizard #235

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 (link no longer available) 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”.

Wizard #235

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.



4 comments

  • Scott

    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.

  • 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?

  • 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…

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