Robot 6

Breaking: Wizard and ToyFare magazines fold [Updated]

Wizard #234

Wizard magazine has ceased publication after nearly 20 years, laying off its remaining staff and canceling freelance assignments. Its sibling publication ToyFare also has closed.

CEO Gareb Shamus followed a morning filled with reports of the magazines’ demise with a press release announcing the February launch of “an all-new digital magazine called Wizard World” that will target the same audience. Curiously the release, which you can read below, doesn’t mention Wizard magazine. Instead its focus is on the news that Wizard World Inc. is now a public company with Shamus as its president and CEO.

Wizard World has since confirmed the closings of Wizard and ToyFare: “Wizard Entertainment is ceasing publication of the print magazines Wizard and ToyFare. Wizard World, Inc. will begin production of the online publication ‘Wizard World’ beginning in February. We feel this will allow us to reach an even wider audience in a format that is increasingly popular and more readily accessible.”

Calls to the Wizard offices this morning office went unanswered. The Wizard bullpen blog Pie Monkey has been taken offline, with assurances from its Twitter feed to “Please stay tuned — there’s a good chance we’ll be up and operational in the next 24-48 hours.” The link to magazine subscriptions on the Wizard website is also dead.

Launched in 1991, Wizard was once a dominant, if controversial, force in the comics industry, with its price guides, Top 10 Writers and Artists lists and annual Wizard Fan Awards carrying significant weight. But in recent years the magazine’s star faded even as its scope expanded — it rebranded itself as “The Magazine of Comics, Entertainment and Pop Culture” — becoming known more for its staff firings than for its exclusive coverage. ToyFare debuted in 1997 as a companion publication devoted to toys and collectibles.

Related: Charts watcher John Jackson Miller chronicles the circulation decline of Wizard, from an estimated 100,000 copies in October 1998 — not the height of its popularity, but the last month it broke the 100,000-copy mark — to just about 17,000 copies in December 2010.

Developing …

GAREB SHAMUS UNDERTAKES PUBLIC COMPANY WIZARD WORLD, INC. AND LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE PUBLICATION ‘WIZARD WORLD’

New York, NY (January 24, 2011) – Gareb Shamus, recently appointed President and CEO of public company Wizard World, Inc. (“Wizard World”) (OTC: GOEE.PK), today announced that the Comic Con Tour, which consists of pop culture conference events that provide high visibility marketing opportunities to pop culture brands and companies in multiple venues throughout the year, is now being produced by public company Wizard World. The Wizard World Comic Con Tour intends to cover 12 cities in 2011, including major cities such as New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin and New Orleans. The Tour will include sponsors ranging from major movie studios and TV networks to gaming and toy companies to content publishers.

In addition, Wizard World plans to launch in February 2011 an all-new digital magazine called ‘Wizard World’ that will appeal to pop-culture fans, the same audience to which Mr. Shamus has catered to, for over 20 years. Wizard World digital magazine will provide coverage of the world of comic books, toys and superheroes, and the personalities behind them.

“This is a very exciting day for Wizard World and the industries it serves,” said Shamus. “Having the Tour produced by a public company provides additional opportunities to expand and grow the Tour. The new digital magazine Wizard World will give consumers the content they want in a magazine format with which they are familiar, but distributed in a form that is always available at any time on any device. It is a natural evolution for us in this market.”

Wizard World Comic Con will begin its North American tour at New Orleans Comic Con held from January 29 to 30, 2011. The full event schedule can be found at www.wizardworld.com.

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Comments

113 Comments

Interesting if true. WIZARD was already irrelevant by the time I got heavily interested in comics (say, 2004-2005), so it wouldn’t be surprising. I have never bought an issue, and see no reason I would do so. Curious whether they’ll go to a Web-only model or just close up shop. I suppose we’ll find out soon.

So the press release doesn’t mention the magazine at all. Weird.

@JK: Wow, you are right. How strange…

” It is a natural evolution for us in this market.” Hahaha this made me laugh out loud. The natural evolution of Wizard seems to be insolvency.

REST IN PEACE! Wizard was my line in to the broader world of comics as a new reader — whatever its recent misfortunes, it’ll always be the source of comics criticism (yeah, I said it) that taught me more in terms of sheer volume than any other has since.

Thank the gods. A 4 year old and a money could put out a better product.
I had worked for Wizard/Toyfare several years ago and I must say that I am more shocked they were around as long as they were then them actually closing. They are a poorly run company led by a rich over grown child (looking at u shamus’s) who has no idea how to keep relationships with the comic companies they are writing about. Word is they haven’t run any Marvel coverage because they owe Marvel some 40k but would rather sever ties with the largest comic book publisher then pay what they owe.
Shady characters and shady buissness practices. They losers only write about what they find funny and even then it seems like pointless wannabe fanboy drivel.

The Coolest Dad

January 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

Wow. Sad to hear. I haven’t checked in with the magazine in ages, but I remember pouring over it when I was younger (back in the magazine’s infancy). Can’t say I blame them in this day and age though. I mean, how can a print magazine about comics compete with the fact that you can log into Twitter and have direct access to news from the creators themselves?

@RokUrFace, did you work in the copy editing department?

Copy editing dept? They had one of those?

Wizard was still going?

That’s great. I got a subscription for it for Christmas..1st time ever. Not a great mag, but sometimes it was fun.

Anyone have a working link to the Tim Leong crying video? And Ed Brubaker’s parody of same? Those were my favorite Wizard-related items of the past decade. Well, that and Frank Miller ripping a copy of Wizard in half.

@ Dustin HArbin

*Bows and tips hat in your direction*

When I think of Wizard Magazine, I think of everything that went wrong with comics in the 90’s: Die-cut foil covers in polybags, speculators, Spider-clones, and Liefield.

Great point Jonathan. What about the subscribers?

Is the Comics Buyers Guide still in publication? ‘Cause I think they just won…

Wizard is the reason I TREASURE my old copies of Comic Scene magazine.
CSM was a wonderful, thoughtful, thorough examination about the comics of its day–Wizard was . . . not.

I will be one of the first to escort the “Current” WIZARD out the proverbial door, but I have a soft spot for the first 5 years or so of that mag.

Is the Comics Buyers Guide still in publication? ‘Cause I think they just won…

WOW. Good point.

They were great back in the day, but have become irrelevant over time. GOOD RIDDANCE!

@Dirk haha I think “is the Comics Buyers Guide still around” may make that a pyrhhic victory at best, but wow you’re so right.

I grew up reading Wizard, starting around issue 50 or so. It was never particularly mature, but for a kid without a local comic book shop, its wide availability kept me plugged into comics until I had a driver’s license.

I always hoped a little bit that it would be able to regain some of its relevance, but I guess not… RIP, Wizard: The Guide to Comics.

I didn’t even know Wizard was still publishing! The website is a mess and the forums have been closed for ages. Ever since they stopped being solely a comic magazine, they’ve gone downhill. Wizard was great when I started out reading comics in the 90’s, but with the rise of the internet, their “news” was always old. It’s unfortunate that this is happening, but that’s what you get when you shoot yourself in the foot the way Wizard has done over the years.

I remember back in the 90s when Wizard was a thicker magazine with actually storys, exclusives, etc. The past 5 years or more the magazine has lost all appeal. I recently got a free subscription with WW Tickets and it useless fluff. Not surprising.

Garbage magazine anyway

As comics go digital, it comes as no surprise that the paper “news” magazines are dying. Comics Journal, Wizard… Even CBG page count is thin as can be.

Wizard was always far too “promotional” rather than insightful or entertaining. I always had the image of some guy with a long-box full of some new comic telling us it was worth $15 and we better get it now. Reminds me of everything that went wrong in the industry during the days of “buy don’t read”.

They really didn’t bring much to the table. No surprise that fans decided to stop buying it.

Wizard was a great read in the early days. The best source of superhero comic book news I could find in London at the time. Until the internet hit big time. Great memories one and all. Definitely helped fuel my comic book passion back then. Thanks for the good times… ;)

i too read wizard back when it first started, i remember money being tight but if i still had a few dollars in my pocket i would pick up an issue. i still have those early issued packed away with my comics and still enjoy them they were funny infomative and colorful, it is sad to see the magazine go, but by the sound of it the current magazine would not resemble the one i remember fondly.

I’m just curious as to if Im gonna get a refund for both subscriptions

I’ll miss Twisted Toyfare Theatre, though it had declined in recent years…

I got a free copy of #234, February 2011.
Shrink-wrapped, but no extras or inserts.

80 pages of magazine
Regular ads: 3 interior pages, inside front cover, back cover
In-house ads: 4 interior pages, inside back cover

Six pages of price guide.
p. 6-23 comics content
p.24-67 media previews, merchandise

What was their competition? Hero Illustrated Magazine? How long did they last online?

Good riddance.

Their last reformatting was horrendous. Dropped it 6-8 months ago. Just pointless. I’ll miss Toyfare though.

I think Gareb was trying to figure out a way to drop the page count down to less than zero, realized he couldn’t do it, and unceremoniously closed up shop. I would expect nothing less from that d-bag.

But a shout out to all my displaced WUMBers!!

GreeneConsulting

January 24, 2011 at 11:21 am

Had the first few year of the mag and sold them off remember when they started but 20 years a good run and ya they priced book badly and made like people ticked off.. sad as people need to work but today its all about the net.. its wonder we have magazines at all the way things are going .. sad very sad I think overstreet’s guide is still around for pricing..

GC

JONATHAN MANKUTA

January 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

It’s probably because I was a featured interview subject in issue #235 (the last issue, on stands this Wed). I am the Doomsday of Wizard Magazine…if ever you want to have your magazine cease publication, simply ask me for an interview.
best,
JON MANKUTA

A little saddened, but not surprised. The magazine helped bring me back to comics in the late 90s, and the Thursday Morning Quarterback discussion on the old Wizard Universe site was always worth reading. The last few years saw both the magazine and website go down in quality (and page quantity, in the magazine’s case). I did like the Millenium Edition hardbacks they published, though.

Too bad about Twisted Toyfare Theatre – that was always good for a laugh.

Before you pop champagne in celebration, keep in mind people are losing their jobs over this. “Good riddance” isn’t what you want to hear if you’ve got a family to take care of and no job. Be a little sensitive.

Wizard and Toyfare Magazines, as well as the Wizard Universe Message Boards and many former Wizard staffers were responsible for the creation of PanelsOnPages.com. While we at PoP! have not agreed with the direction of the company in recent years, we can’t help but mourn the loss.

Not surprised or sad about this. Wizard has been on a downward spiral for a while. I recall fondly reading them in the 90s and early 2000’s. But then it kinda all went to hell.

I read Wizard since maybe issue 4 – and for a kid in the early 90s – before the Internet – it was freakin’ awesome. Back in those first few years, the issues were really pretty huge, I think I almost enjoyed reading Wizard more than some of the comics they promoted. It was the first time I ever heard about some characters, books and artists. Considering at that time my only source for comics was a spinner rack in the local drug store and Target when they still had comic books in the toy department. I always wanted to subscribe to it, but I knew that if I subscribed I’d get the more risque covered versions of the magazine that I saw in the comic shops and I knew my mom would toss ‘em before I read ‘em! But those were the days… especially when they actually PACKED STUFF INTO THE POLY BAG! What’s the purpose of having a polybag for a magazine that doesn’t even have anything inserted into ti? I remember religously buying Wizard every month because they always used to pack in a poster (early on it was just a poster of the cover without the copy text) later it was more random. Usually there were Wizard exclusive #0 issues – some of which were actually almost kinda critical to read. Or holographic cards or heck, there was an issue where they actually packed in a foil Avengers ID card. Not sure where it is now, but I used to keep it in my wallet when I was like 14 years old.

Although the past few years have been pretty weak and the magazine has gotten smaller and smaller and less interesting. Even the price guide has become kind of weak. So it’s time has passed. When you’ve got sites like CBR, Comics Alliance and even the creators’ Twitter pages, facebook pages, and other sources – iyou can get more indepth and more content – and you don’t have to pay, what did it get up to now, $7 bucks an issue?

Wizard, you were great while you lasted, same to you too Toyfare, how I will miss twisted mego toyfare theater, but… oh well… that’s what Robot Chicken and Itsjustsomerandomguy and other YouTuber’s and fans are for! Yak’s Pub always gives me a laugh.

Although now I feel old… it launched 91… geez… so I’ve been reading it since I was like 11 years old. And I’m almost 30…

I remember when Wizard announced with pride that they had figured out a way to leave copy off the cover (they printed it on the polybag) so the cover was just pure art.

Didn’t need a crystal ball to see this coming.

CBG is monthly.

Wizard was a piece of crap so good riddance!

endlesscommenting

January 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

toyfare is also done for the action fgaures fans that collect junk like mattel classics and he-man classics. noes1111. “where will mattle adbertise? at teh org?? or mega gear max’s tongue? or his lisp?”

The simple FACT is ANY magazine with ” news & interviews” as content– is OLD news before it even hits print.

News & interviews are updated on an HOURLY basis – why would ANYONE buy a magazine ora news paper when the same exact content is a click away.

BTW—with dozens of FREE comic sites out there…. there is NO WAY I WOULD EVER PAY for WIZARD WORLD.

Before the internet WIZARD was THE go to source for the entire indusrty. But since the millennium they were kind of irrelivant.

Also i REFUSE to buy anytype of magazine or hardcover book that is BAGGED. I need to sample somthing before i buy it.

TC: “Before you pop champagne in celebration, keep in mind people are losing their jobs over this. “Good riddance” isn’t what you want to hear if you’ve got a family to take care of and no job. Be a little sensitive.”

I’m sure those people saw the writing on the wall too, TC.

Although i prefer having a physical book or magazine in my hand– the TRUTH is…

ALL PRINT as we know it will be completely GONE within the next 2-3 yrs. Max

in 2011 with the economy the way it is and the media devices out there- one by one EVERY major publication will go digital.

Print is seriously over…. which might create renewed interest in the aftermarket. Virtyally EVERYTHING will become collectable.

“Wow I can’t believe Wizard Magazine is over!”, said Nobody.

Wizard was a creative vacuum and would rather charge $6 to list “The Top 10…” or “All Time 100 Most…” of one thing or another that was completely subjective and irrelevant. Why would I pay money to have some list for me their favorite covers? fights? creative teams? I can read that on the blogs/mssg boards.

Wizard SHOULD have gone an journalistic route had articles that chronicled the emergence of digital coloring and given readers a behind the scenes look at how it works. Movie goers have always loved seeing the Disney animators draw, paint, sketch etc. so give me what I don’t have access to. I don’t care about your staff favorites.

Wizard would squander any sort of interesting or informative writing with their letters column and would rather have someone at Wizard sit back and write one bad completely unfunny “joke” response after another. They couldn’t compete with the online sights of the immediacy of info or the ease of access when its FREE! And lets not even discuss how they had no support of the magazine online unlike magazine like Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, People, etc.

I can’t believe it lasted this long and I can’t believe they never took on the efforts to have interesting, thought provoking, informative, revealing, etc. articles in their publications and thought they could just sit around and make up a list of Wolverine’s Best Fights and people would pay good money for it.

Shame on them for trying to continue to grub that money and congrats on waking up to this new fangled world wide web the young’uns keep squakin’ bout.

Terrible news. I’ve been getting wizard magazine for over 10 years, never missed a month.

@Snikt snakt @TC

It’s always crappy to lose a job but I’m sure those good folks were way underpaid.
Wizard went a through a few rounds of layoffs in recent years. They got rid of a lot of good editors and writers. Many of them have gone on to bigger and better things.

I second the mourning of the loss of Toyfare Theater. I guess what I’ll really miss are those unreprinted episodes that were too big to be contained in a collected format. Apparently, some of these stories ran throughout the magazine, and would only make sense in that context. I’m wondering if it couldn’t be possible to re-edit those issues in a more manageable form?

I also remember a Toyfare-like comic in one of their other magazines (Inquest maybe?) where there were a bunch of the staff standing around, and Malebogia (who looked like Violator for some reason) popped up to take one of the editor’s souls.

While one of the staff thought “He’s not wearing any pants”, another tricked Malebogia in taking somebody else to hell. When the victim explained that he’d taken the wrong person, Malebogia said “Boy, is my face red!” (Ba-bumpish!)

When the poor soul asked to be let go, Malebogia explained that he couldn’t until he competed against him on a game of wits! A game of wits called…

Jeopardy!

Alex Trebek: Welcome back from commercial everybody.

Malebogia: Hi mom. (talks to side competitor) Okay Pikachu, one more year of fame, and your soul is mine.
Pikachu: Chu.

Then they showed the list of categories, which Malebogia has a hard time at. At the end of the round, the editor is ahead $10,000, Malebogia is at minus -$400, and Pikachu is at $25,000.

Malebogia: Oh quit saying your name. That that stopped being cute three years ago.
Pikachu: Chu.
Malebogia: Alright, you asked for it… (pulls out a mirror) gaze upon your true form! (shows warped version of Pikachu)
Pikachu: Pika-ARGH!
Malebogia: (looks at mirror) Huh. That really does work. Better be careful while shaving.
Off-screen voice: Cease and Desist!
Malebogia: Uh-oh.
Lawyers: We represent Nintendo and we’re suing you for killing our mascot.
Malebogia: Don’t be ridiculous. I owe 90% of your stock.
Police: Come along quietly and don’t complain.
Malebogia: And I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for Joe Queseda!
Editor: But I’m not… ah, never mind.

The rest of the sketch fell apart from there, when they used the editor to replace Pikachu.

I used to love Wizard, but I stopped reading when the magazine switched format and got thinner. It was my favorite magazine. I’d love to write something about Wizard’s best articles.

I’m not sure how anyone can be happy about this. Wizard magazine, while not perfect, helped inspire so many artists with it’s “How to Draw” series of books and artists columns. I fondly remember seeing artists like Bart Sears, Jim Lee and countless others give artists tips in those magazines and the covers were always fun to see. If it weren’t for them many artists and creators wouldn’t have enjoyed the success they had or inspired. Thats what I’ll remember about Wizard magazine. The positive. They helped the industry in my opinion as a fan growing up in the 90’s. And long live WildStorm.

Wizard wasn’t even to be used for what paper it should have been used for…Toilet….

The magazine was vapid, insulting and frankly journalistically void.

It led the industry down a path that almost destroyed it …and continued to try and feed that mentality long after it was vialble to do so.

Good riddance and don’t let the comics rack hit you on the ass Gareb.. your magazine IS one of the TOP 5 things that are/were wrong with the comics industry and how YOU herlpede shape it.

It’s a shame how many EXCELENT comics magazine failed because of the competition from Wizard.

Comic Scene and Amazing Heroes were to top of the class

Comics Buyers Guide and Back Issue do a better job currently than any wizard magazine as of late.

I used to love Wizard Magazine. They had entertaining features such as Casting Call and Last Hero Standing. My adolescent mind was thoroughly entertained by the many irreverent ToyFare parodies and the lowbrow comedy, in general. It was the best place for a young fanboy to gain information on upcoming events. Alas, the print medium is suffering everywhere, and one should consider whether or not the cancellation of what was once the most influential magazine to focus on comic books is another sign of the market’s slow demise.

“Although i prefer having a physical book or magazine in my hand– the TRUTH is…

ALL PRINT as we know it will be completely GONE within the next 2-3 yrs. Max”

I think there is a 0% chance of this happening in the next 2-3 years.

When they turned into a cut-rate version of MAXIM, I thought they would be dead in a year, but they kept going for another six years or so.

It took you long enough to cancel Wizard. The price was too high, reducing less pages, having crappy information which half of it you can get it from the internet and you can download the Wizard magazine. I used to love it for over ten years. The last five years was a joke.

I think Wizard was an awesome magazine and I’m disappointed that they’ve decided to stop publishing in the form that it’s been in all these years. It’s good to know however that it will continue in an online format.

I remember when Wizard was first launched. It coincided with the whole speculative market. It was fun to read as a young teen and the magazine did carry weight back then. I got out of comics shortly after but returned a couple years ago to find out Wizard was completely irrelevant. Magazines…who buys them anymore.

I was in high school when Wizard came out. This was during a time when “geek” wasn’t nearly mainstream. The idea of a magazine dedicated to things I was interested in was just mind blowing to me at time before the internet. I think I still have those early issues in a box in my mother’s basement. It may have morphed into something different over the years but those early issues and the couple issues my mom sent to me when I left for basic training really meant a lot to me all those years ago. I’m sad to see that it no longer exists. I’m glad I got to enjoy its heyday. RIP Wizard.

This is kind of sad, because I can remember when Wizard was actually good. I think the main selling point for me were all the extras: the inserted comics, posters, and trading cards. Also, it was nice to have a monthly price guide. 4-5 years ago, Wizard was really dumbed down. The price guide disappeared, the exclusives disappeared, and just about every article used the terms “widescreen format” and “slambang!” I guess the “good” Wizard really left a long time ago…

The worst part is that I still find Toyfare a joy to read, and yet it’s time is up too. The staff at that sister publication seemed to really care about the subject matter, as opposed to the Wizard staff. I am definately going to miss Twisted Toyfare Theatre!

surprise wizard did not do this long ago though sad to see toy fare go away for loved twisted toy fare theatre. but all things end . for wizard is proving to try and play catch up with the times. guess that explains Garub being able to expand other parts of the wizard empire extra cash now to improve wizard.

Wow!! I remember sending away for all those 1/2 issues and studying the mag like it was the holy grail.

Good-bye Wizard Guide. Although i hadn’t purchased a copy since 1999, I will always have fond memories of u.

Takea Wiz and leave it in the Toilet

January 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

“bible written by Satan,”

a”monthly vulgarity,” and a

“tree killer (which) regularly cheapens and poisons our field.”

Miller was so right…

Jeff L. Crowder

January 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

They are only intrested in the WizardWorld conventions that are choking the life out of smaller conventions across the country… Destroying the 20 year old magazine was just tying up a loose end to them. They don’t give 2 squirts about the fans that MADE them what they are today!

Having worked for Wizard Ent. from 1993 – 2003, I can honestly say one of the happiest days of my life was the day I awoke to find I no longer worked for those morons. Fred Pierce was a tyrant, Gareb was a clueless egomaniac, and the entire staff had an unwarranted arrogant smugness that still leaves me wondering today who the hell they thought they were.

I gave up on it due to their Marvel/Spider-Man fawning. Whenever they had any sort of best of/year end/whatever list, Spider-Man was always number one. Best breasts in comics? Spider-Man. Comic character most likely to be elected president? Peter Parker. The character that was inevitably the centerfold of their swimsuit issue? Spider-Man. Even as a completely undiscerning teen, it got really old really fast. Once CBR and Newsarama hit their stride it became worthless.

Pretty much elicited no Response from me. I used to LOVE Wizard, it hasn’t been any good for ten years. And, I am not exxagerating. Back in the day, they had the Bart Sears drawing column, the top ten characters, the Mort of the Month, a bunch of great features, and all sorts of stuff. I don’t think they still have that stuff, and the internet breaks most of the news. However, Wizard could be a juggernaut by just bring back the old features, adding some new ones, and devoting all of its efforts to online publication. If they put some money behind it, there’s no reason it can’t beat CBR and Newsarama. They already have a stronger brand.

I am sad about this. I know that i was like one of three people who still paid for this Mag but i loved it. I loved Wizard it is what helped me get into comics and come back to comics in the early 2000’s. I will miss wizard greatly i love print. And i hope that all the employees who have lost their jobs find work soon, that is really the saddest part of all of this. People loose their jobs because nobody wants to pay for an awesome product. God bless you guys and i hope you all land on your feet. I will miss you Wizard.

I worked for Wizard (as assistant price guide manager and later as senior price guide editor) for about 10 years. I must say that overall I liked the company and especially some of the employees (those I got to know within my department and the guys running the show). Gareb and Steve Shamus were especially great to work with. I also made quite a few friends with the vendors and attendees at the shows. They played a fun and important role in the industry.

As someone who works in print media, I hate to hear of anyone losing their job, but I can’t say I’ll miss Wizard.

It was a large part of what was wrong with the industry in the 90s, pushing the speculative craze every step of the way. Nearly every bad trend in comics (polybags, trading cards, bad girls, etc) was hyped endlessly by the magazine.

Too often it seemed that writers close to the magazine’s staff were disproportionately promoted. Shamus always seemed to be lacking in ethics – for instance, his huge push for CGC in the magazine, while not disclosing his financial interest in the company.

All too often, you had to wonder if Wizard was hyping a writers work as a favor to a friend or if they truly believed in the project.

It had its moments, though. The drawing board feature was truly informative. And, as a fan of the obscure, I loved Mort of the Month.

Wizard was faced with the same problem most print media is dealing with. Keeping readers while trying to remain profitable. Their decision to switch to an all top ten format of unessential material was obviously not the wise decision.

I worked for Wizard (as assistant price guide manager and later as senior price guide editor) for about 10 years. I must say that overall I liked the company and especially some of the employees (those I got to know within my department and the guys running the show). Gareb and Steve Shamus were especially great to work with. I also made quite a few friends with the vendors and attendees at the shows. They played a fun and important role in the industry.

Gareb?

Shame on Shamus

January 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I have to agree especially in the early days it felt like they were reporting certain comics or stories as almost a favor or to get in good with the creator or company…(how many hot books did they promote or report on that had never been released? or were suppodedly hot yet were months away from being released…)
.

The lack on Non Marvel Image/Valiasnt reporting inb the early days was crimina;l and the whole DEath of Superman story —arguably the biggest story of the decade… the failed to report anything on until it was released. and then the rushed together a special.
The list of things that were wrong with them was legion….

specualating on books that had never been announced and reporting on them over and over almost years before they were released.

making up new creative teams for titles while ignoring the current work…

ignoring lesser selling titles

speculator market ….etc..

It claimed to be a Guide to Comics… it was never that it was a very biased and shill serving magazine that was literally a fan wank of Shamus’

Good bye and good riddance.. the industry coukld have been much different and alot stronger if not for your filth

Don’t worry Comic Book Resources is here to fill the gaping void left by Wizard and then some.

Doing a spectacular job so far.

While I can agree with what a lot of people are saying I will miss Wizard. I loved the old articles on how to draw. I liked the top 10 books and artists. I loved the 1st app section and the little trivia bits it used to run. I like to hold something in my hand and read it. Not everything needs to be on a computer or other electronic device. Wizard was fun for a lot of reasons and yes comic fans do spend a lot of time on the net and do know a lot quickly, but a lot of comic fans (i.e. not geeks) don’t bother to go online to get the most up to date info so they were brought up to speed. If you didn’t follow a particular title it also provided you some broad strokes of different stories. I commend the people who worked hard and tried their best to put out a good product. I really missed the message boards. While the price guide wasnt popular it was another thing I will miss. So here is to the next thing that comes and wishing all the best to all who tried their best, may good things come your way!

Don’t get me wrong, I get a nostalgic smile thinking of 12-13 year old me enjoying things like the covers back when the character was pictured with the Wizard hat or the fan art and action figure customization but that’s about it…

Kinda strange yet encouraging that 2 of the most reductive, misguided, and hazardous forces to the art form & industry were done away with in the same week with DC (followed by those Wertham lovin’ code advocate hypocrites at Archie) ditching the comics code last week…

Man, I always wanted to have m y art on the cover of one of those things. I’m almost in the industry. ‘Almost’ doesn’t count ofcourse. But I guess I missed my chance. I guess that’s my fault for not getting going sooner.

I still have a few of the older issues lying around and read them when I’m trying to get to sleep. I liked the old artists columns they used to do and reading about new stories and books. Great stuff. But we all knew it was going this way.

R.I.P Wizard.

I’m going to miss the Twisted Toyfare collections but I haven’t read an issue of Wizard in over a decade so its no big deal there.

I also can’t for the life of me understand how anyone who regularly frequents CBR (or actually cares about content in their comics & comics journalism) could hold Wizard in any positive light…

Now, I’m in my local Half-Price Books about once a week and without fail, every 2-3 months I’ll see a guy stumble in with a longbox full of 90s crap. Ten minutes later, I’m hearing him *shocked* that they’ll only give him like 5 bucks for the box. Now, most of the time these dudes will suck it up and take the $5 but I look forward to the times when the lapsed Wizard devotee argues that “This Red Foil “Deathmate” was worth $50 the day I bought it in 1990!” or “But it’s the “Death Of Superman” and I haven’t even opened the bag!” or something to that effect…

This folks, is Wizard’s legacy to comics…

Sad to see it go as I’ve been reading it from the very start – but not surprised in the least. I had wondered whether it had actually finished a couple months ago when an issue hadn’t arrived in the usual week, and felt it was going to happen eventually.

I know it had its many, many faults but I really enjoyed the magazine for the most part. :(

And Who Disguised As

January 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm

So what happens to the poor slobs that supported the magazine, paid for it, and just sent in a check for $48 (which was cashed) for a two-year subscription renewal?

now no one can read it online now too.

@And Who Disguised As

It shouldn’t be too hard to send a couple of checks back if there’s a janitor around the office.

I wonder if the online version will be mainly ad’s (to pay for it) and if their message board is prepared for the hammering it’s going to get in the first week and the subsequent fall off when everyone’s posted the word ‘fuck’ fifty million times and come back to CBR and the like.

Ding Dong the whore is dead !!

I can see Mephisto and Neron fighting over the rotting carcass that was Wizard in Hell !

I detested it as a Marvel whore and found the price guide and over-hyping of ordinary artist as next Superstars crass.

I am glad its dead and Shamus will never make a buck off me, ever !!

Wizard was dying a slow death because how much it was pandering Marvel and DC. Never questioning anything they have done in recent years. It came more about shilling out latest comic movie and big crossover then actually doing real stories. Toyfare was still a good magazine about toys. Sad I have no idea what to replace it with a s a subscribition.

McFarlane's Green Hulk

January 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Wow. About time. They were a fun read in the 90’s, but lost a lot of steam by 2000. Change of format didn’t help them either.
And Toyfare…well, they haven’t been funny in years, but at least we got those “Best of…” Twisted Toyfare Theatre trades. Those were funny…

I miss the forums though. The Wizard World Message Boards were legendary… seriously. And I got to see what Elmo’s been packin’ behind the scenes…. LEGENDARY!

As for the mag itself… dead and gone a few years ago…

But darn it I still miss the Boards!

WOOHOO! I’ve been waiting years to bury this rag. I hated it back in the day when it was a shameless hype machine and I’ve hated it these last few years when it was nothing but Maxam for kids. Good riddance.

I bought, read and enjoyed Wizard greatly in the mid 90s/early 2000s, but then it changed format, and eventually I stopped when I realized that I was buying it out of habit for comic book stuff but it was now mostly about Lost and other non-comic things, things that if I wanted to read about then I’d be buying Starlog or whatever instead.
Anyway, like many said, it became mostly irrelevant with the internet’s growth.

The magazine was always a “flavor of the month” piece of tripe to begin with. It became more irrelevant as time went on. Good riddance.

CBG is still running for the true comics fan who wants the latest and greatest. The Blackest Night and Civil War coverage begins next month!

Wasn’t paying attention today: so– no more Wizard Magazine AND no more Comics Code, in the same week? Yay! It’s like the end of 2001!

I stopped buying a few years back when it started becoming not much more than a pamphlet. If I’m going to overpay for just a few pages it’s going to be for an actual comic, not a magazine about comics.

Have you heard of Zedura??? (they are in the 2nd year of circulation)?? I’m working with them now. They have a printed and a digital version (check them out at zedura.com), they are the up and coming magazine tying all things comic, movies, musc, pop culture, tv and art with an indie essence!!!

It’s very trendy to hate on Wizard. Sure, they didn’t always focus on the greatest comics, and sure they often schilled bad comics for the hope of getting better relations with the publishers, but they were the comics magazine for a long time.

Wizard as an online entity will be rough. These guys have never been good at maintaining a good web presence, going back almost a decade from when they closed their message boards to their constant f-ups with updates and losing content, and the fact that their current site loos a nightmare.

At least the magazine looked professional.

When my son was young his interest got me back into comics. Watching him enjoy things that I grew up with, seeing how they had changed, all of it was a joy. And when we came across Wizard Magazine we started buying it as well. IT wasn’t during the first 10 issues but at least in the first 50. The magazine was pertinent, with articles that talked to the artists and writers. Sure, you could find that on the net but with the magazine you could hold it in your hand, refer back to it and keep the issue to look back to later on.

Then it changed. Rather than articles about the business it became splash page style art with little to no article. It became a home for fanboys to make unfunny jokes at the expense of articles discussing how to break into the business, how to draw, how to write, etc. And trust me, the jokes were incredibly lame and unfunny.

My son has grown and is 25 now. Do to the economy I cut back my comic purchases to Wizard and Previews because while I enjoyed comics I either couldn’t afford them due to the price. But those 2 magazines and the net kept me informed at least. When Wizard stopped being a source of information to become more a pop culture mag that catered to poor humor and non-stop sales promotions (and at a higher price for less magazine) I stopped buying.

While I lament the situation for the folks that work there joining the unemployment line, I won’t actually miss Wizard Magazine today. I was missing it during its last years of publication.

Wizard used to be a great magazine. Once they decided to get too close to the companies, everything suffered. They stopped being critical of things. Once they decided they were an entertainment magazine rather than a comics magazine it was the beginning of the end. The mag got so thin you could slide it under a door. I used the love the price guide and all that but this current format led me and apparently a lot of others to give up. Half the time I couldn’t even tell what they were thinking when they put the thing together, countdowns throughout the whole mag and unfunny writers.

This was a mercy killing.

Ultimately, Wizard Magazine leaves a conflicted legacy even when it was at its apex in terms of generating excitement about comics and publishers in the early nineteen nineties. It brought about the speculative boon and bust in comics by raising the price (for example) of Harbinger #1 from $8 to $40 to $120 in three months.
As excited as I was to own what for a short time was a $120 comic, I still attribute Valiant’s demise in large part as a publisher to the fact that the majority of individuals who were buying up Valiant books were treating those comics like stocks because of Wizard and had no interest in reading the titles. In the late nineteen nineties and into the 2000s, the magazine’s price guide became slimmer and slimmer–eventually disappearing entirely, turning off readers. Finally, the magazine never did find a way to avoid a myriad of sexist comments and/or gender-targeted jokes running through every issue. Appealing to women readers has been and continues to be one of the most vital courses of action that will have to happen for the comics industry to survive and prosper.

Way past time these rags folded.

I happened to be at my parents’ house last night and took a few photos of the old Wizard magazines that I had in the closet. Particularly #48, the first issue that I bought when I was a kid. It was awesome, really. They had a lead article about women characters in comics, they had “Prose from the Pros,” which was an article in which several comic book writers listed what they felt was important for an upcoming writer, there was an article all about comic book inking…this was all in a single issue! And there was the usual stuff, contests, top ten lists, the price guide, photomanipulation jokes.

But let’s not sit and tell lies and pretend that Wizard never behaved like a real magazine with interest in its subject.

Of course the magazine declined terribly as the years went on. No arguments there. But a little perspective.

Stryke Redkite: “Finally, the magazine never did find a way to avoid a myriad of sexist comments and/or gender-targeted jokes running through every issue. Appealing to women readers has been and continues to be one of the most vital courses of action that will have to happen for the comics industry to survive and prosper.”

ROTFLOL thanks for the laugh Redkite!!!

Yeah, women comic fans will save the industry….buying comic books is at the top of their shopping list, I’m sure.

:(

ToyFare definitely has had its ups and downs over the years, but it was pretty darned excellent overall. My condolences to their staff. :(

I mourned the death of this magazine long ago. The writing focus and quality of the magazine has been going down ever since approximately 2005. It really meant something to me as a 10 year old when there was no internet. Sure it was a product of the speculative market and propagated the sentiment as well, but it also had humor on top of informative articles.

Sad to see folks lose jobs, but if this is the best they can muster for comic book journalism, maybe they should move on. I’ve already mourned for Wizard. I’ve moved on to the books from TwoMorrows. They might not come out as often, but it’s worth the wait.

RIP Wizard Magazine of Olde…I will miss thee.

Seeing how both destroyed the comic industry and toy
I don’t feel sorry for eithier. I oftened wonder what led
to 90’s comic melt down I found my answer.
Toyfare on the other hand, pushed hype to super hype!
and prices of toys rose to high and being in bed with dreadful
AFA B.S really tanked the toy collecting industry
besides the economy. Some people
still believe in the fantasy of over inflated guide
prices Wizard and ToyFare spoon fed them
How sad,
Good riddance to bad rubish

Ummmmm, I just renewed my subscription via credit card a few day back via USPS. Now what?

Wow….so much hate for this magazine… I say %$^ you to all the haters!! I enjoyed the @#$ outta this mag and am very disappointed that it is going away. One of my favorite things in the mag besides the interviews and lists was the commissioned art they prominently displayed.

RIP Wizard

Then Fan you were the only one.

Son of the Real Wizard

January 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I don’t know how many people will read this or even care but my dad (who was in the publishing industry) helped start Wizard in the early 1990s with Gareb for an investment of less than $75k from The Schamus family’s personal money. Ruby, as Gareb’s dad was known ran a shop for cars and they also ran a store of their own in a town called Nanuet, New York just across from the Nanuet Mall area, where at first it was controvesial because they were partial to what was in their store, what was hot. I actually worked there the first few years in its existance as the guy who tallied up the SASE response cards and I even helped pick winners of the prizes. They were using MAC computers well before they were half as powerful and Gareb truly put everything into his college dream, and at the time he was very passionate about everything. I’m not really sure the real reason he fired (or his family) fired my dad but they owe him everything and left him high and dry. I’m bitter for that, yes, however, they didn’t know that after a few years that it would be profitable. I remember the day Todd McFaland came to my house to go over the first ever Wizard cover. The Joker didn’t make it in the first 10 issues as that was my favorite. Bart Sears did a great drawing but never got used. I still have it in B&W, but the magazine was supposed to be for the fans, the kids, and it just grew and greed set in somewhere. I know dozens of people either layed off or not hired for whatever reason – HR is and was an issue, but did the magazine have the staying power past 10 years? 20 years? Look, the online community is growing and is the way to go. I actually wanted to run the Wizard BBS back in 1992 but noone cared. I wanted to see the fans connected. Just a little insight from a guy who used to look up to Gareb and company. They never truly thanked my dad (me for pushing my dad to help them on low budget). My dad is now disabled and has the rest of the story to tell if anyone ever wants to hear it.

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