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 (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”.
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.