Robot 6

Wizard, then and now

Wizard's Class of 2006

Wizard's Class of 2006

According to an email sent to various industry contacts, Wizard Associate Editor Jim Gibbons was let go by Wizard Entertainment after work hours last night. Meanwhile, ToyFare Associate Editor TJ Dietsch indicates on his blog that he was let go as well. The pair are the latest in a long list of staffers (myself included) hemorrhaged without replacement by Gareb Shamus’s publishing, convention and online-retail enterprise — a list long enough, frankly, to defy the bite-sized blogging format. But sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

This photo of Wizard’s creative staff — editors, designers, researchers and staff writers — was taken in the summer of 2006 to celebrate the completion of a ToyFare reader scavenger hunt (hence the 3-D glasses, corncob pipes, and Burger King crowns, all mailed in by contestants). Of the 34 employees pictured here, only two — Wizard Features Editor Andy Serwin and ToyFare Editor Justin Aclin, plus the absent Wizard Editor Mike Cotton and the shot’s photographer, Research Director Dan Reilly — remain with the company. Today, including subsequent hires not seen in this photo, Wizard’s total full-time creative staff for its three magazines — Wizard, ToyFare and FunFare — numbers in the single digits.

As one of the many, many people in that picture who’ve since parted ways with the company (that’s me throwing metal in the front row), I hope you’ll indulge me when I say that whatever the company’s problems — and those of us who’ve worked there are more cognizant of them than you probably think — the personal and professional caliber of the vast majority of its creative staff is higher than that of any other place I’ve worked. And judging from the number of people in that picture who’ve since landed at DC, Marvel, Archaia, MTV News, Television Without Pity, Maxim and other industry publishers and news outlets, including here at CBR, I don’t think I’m alone in that assessment. Here’s hoping that my friends Jim and T.J. have similar luck.

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Comments

26 Comments

Ugh. You forgot to mention that even the building in that photograph isn’t technically part of the company anymore. (And it’s only still owned by Gareb because no sane person in the world wants to buy it.)

This is truth. Thanks, Sean.

they run the magazine as bad as they run conventions… screw Wizard,

They could have thrived if that hadn’t wasted so many talented people, I’m glad to hear that most have landed on their feet.

I love how Ben and I aren’t looking at Dan but are instead staring at something (obviously) much more interesting going on over by the cookie factory.

Best of luck to TJ and Jim.

Well said.

Here here, Sean! Good luck to Jim and TJ. I worked with TJ while I was still on ToyFare, and he’s a hilarious, insightful and resourceful editor and writer. And I worked with Jim often as he basically propped up the Internet for Wizard for the last two years. He’s smart, techno-savvy and funny, and he knows how to cultivate writers and readers.

I’m sure TJ and Jim will land on their feet. Best of luck to them.

I think we may have deliberately made the call to be staring off into space. I do that a lot in group pics.

Man, this just made my heart sink a little. I was a reader of Wizard since issue #9 when I was like 13 years old, it was a part of my growing-up. My personal history, because I looked forward to it so much each and every month. When I got older, the message board took-over, and I met so many awesome people, staffers included of course (props to you guys!). I had to finally cancel my subscription because the mag was just getting to hard to look at, you could just tell the heart wasn’t in it anymore. Well, probably because most of the staffers I had enjoyed were now gone.

So hey, you guys, thanks for all the amazing memories! Congrats on your new employment, and good luck to TJ and Jim! PEACE!!!

Ben AKA KingOfKings632

I remember that day, one of the many fond memories I have of working at Wizard. I’m glad to call many of those people in that picture my good friend. Sigh.

Jim, Teej: Good luck, dudes! Onwards and upwards.

Little secret: we fabricated the “cookie factory” and pumped out smells of deliciousness to drive Design Bodega sales.

TJ and Jim – I look forward to both of you popping up in great places! Best of luck!
Eric G

I was no longer part of the crew when this picture was snapped but I have to say I had a heckuva lot of fun working with all of you over the years and you are a capital group. As always good luck guys! JT

Hey, that’s me! (Front row, 4th from the right.)

When I was packing up my cardboard box the day they let me go, I actually grabbed that corncob pipe to take with me. I still have it.

Best part of that mini-era was the ToyFare scavenger hunt feature those items came from. It provided some of the greatest lunchtime conversation props ever amassed in a single room.

I guess this explains why both Wizard & Toyfare have declined greatly in the past 5 years. I remember the good old days when buying Wizard was a highlight of the month and the 1st thing I would read when I got home from the comics store. Now I don;t even get to it till a few days later. Wizard either needs to redefine itself to its former glory or someone else needs to step up and create a new comics magazine to show how it’s done!

Well said, Sean.
I miss working with all of you clowns. (Even you, Mel. ;) ). That place was part of my life for 15 years and the caliber of people, especially on the Editorial/Design side was unbelievable. Best of luck to TJ and Jim, but you guys are sure to be snapped up by some place in pretty short order.

Jesus Christ, I interned with TJ, he’s a great guy. TJ, it definitely sucks now, but at least you’re done with those cum guzzlers.

I’m sure Jim and TJ will move on to bigger and better things in no time. Though obviously not the ideal company to work for, Wizard has had a history of employing awesomely talented individuals. I’ve been lucky enough to meet many people in the picture above (after participating in the treasure hunt, actually). All great people, all (save Justin) former employees of Wizard. I wish the very best for all of them.

Thanks Sean. I now miss all my friends. TJ and Jim are gonna do fine, that’s for sure. This is just a great post, very well put. I wish I could zoom in on that pic…
I think I had left by this point…but there must be a picture of me riding around the office hallways on that mini-ATV wearing Penagos’ fez and cloth mask or whatever that was.

Good post, Sean. I left Wizard Entertainment about six years ago before the massive downsizing started. I cannot see how it’s possible to run those magazines with so few people. I hope those who are left aren’t forced to work 12 hour days every day. Thinking of you guys!

Sean,

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say bad personal things about the staff of Wizard. I would guess that most or all of them are good people. I think it is merely the stigma of Wizard that is harshly spoken against. The aura of Wizard magazine has gone from annoyingly inane to insanely cloying over the past few years.

‘throwing metal’ ?

It’s so weird that Wizard is best known these days as the place that fires talented people.

Man, I wish I had been there for that. During my (relatively) brief tenure at Wizard, I met some of the nicest, most creative and hard working people ever. I’m glad that all those that went before me are now being rightfully appreciated at other companies, and I have no doubt TJ and Jim will have similar success. They are both gods among men.

Wizard is seriously fuct. Seriously. When I was a kid the magazine was great. It turned me on to some great comics (Preacher & Sandman Mystery Theatre), had informative monthly price guide (maybe not the most accurate, but whatever), and was actually funny (Thier card price guide once had a caption on a card depicting two crying characters holding each other that said “SHH my friend, I too, shall miss Full House” that’s funny). Now they’re little more than the MTV of comics. Nothing ever sucks to them and they use overinflated hype and (three week old) internet browsing in lieu of actual journalisim, it seems. Now I won’t even use it as shitter reading.

I’m sorry Wizard screwed you guys over but I think they may have done you a favor. The less time you are associated with that heap of journalistic afterbirth the better off you’ll be.

Dark Green Lantern

September 8, 2009 at 11:59 am

Who wants to bet that ‘ToyFare’ gets canceled next?

I’m another former Wizard (specifically, Anime Insider) worker with fond memories of my time there. Sometimes I even miss that half-empty old building, where I’d hang up whatever posters I could find just to cover the rotting holes in the walls.

Best of luck to TJ and Jim. I’m sure they’ll be somewhere better very soon.

P.S. I’m in the second row up, second from the left, with my tasteful thumbs-up overshadowed by Sean’s metal-throwing.

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