Robot 6

‘The smartest business decision I’ve made in years': A look at how Wizard World Digital is doing

from Wizard World Version 1.3

from Wizard World Version 1.3

When Wizard World CEO Gareb Shamus decided to cancel his long-running magazines Wizard and ToyFare, and relaunch them in an amalgamated electronic form as a digital magazine called Wizard World, he did not do so quietly. Well, alright, the initial press release didn’t so much as mention the cancellations themselves, or the employees laid off in the process. But Shamus has been quite vocal about his new project’s prospects for success, as well as what he perceives to be the dire state of the industries surrounding it. In an interview with iFanboy’s Ron Richards, Shamus spoke of the new digital magazine sharing the things its staff likes with “the millions of people that we reach all the time,” in contrast with more traditional digital-news outlets like websites, which he said “are pretty worthless in their ability to have an impact on an audience.” And in the editor’s letter (see above) for Wizard World‘s third issue, “Version 1.3,” by way of explaining why he made the leap to digital publishing, he writes:

The creativity in the comic book industry is at an all-time high, yet it saddens me to see that publishers can’t get new people excited, and are losing existing fans at an alarming rate. The publishers keep doing what they’ve done in the past, but keep expecting better results. Not gonna happen!

Perhaps Shamus’s apparent disdain for comics publishers he deems stuck in the past explains why Wizard World‘s first three issues contain exactly zero articles on currently ongoing Marvel or DC titles. (Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Marvel/ICON book Incognito gets a graf in a piece on comics that should be made into video games, and toys for the upcoming Thor and Green Lantern movies get prominent play, though.)

“I am doing something new…and it feels good,” Shamus writes. “Starting a digital magazine feels like the smartest business decision I’ve made in years.”

Apparently, another decision made in the making of Wizard World was using the URL shortening service for all of the digital magazine’s download links. Each issue is available in one of three ways: They are directly downloadable in PDF and Issuu formats, and can also be accessed by downloading Wizard’s iPad app. And by adding a plus sign to the end of any given link (eg. ), anyone can see exactly how many times those downloads have been clicked. As of this morning, here are the stats:

Wizard World for iPad on the iTunes App Store
745 clicks total for all three issues

Wizard World Version 1.1 (aka Version 1.0), March 2
PDF: 4,695 clicks
issuu: 616 clicks

Wizard World Version 1.2, March 9
PDF: 3,277 clicks
issuu: 429 clicks

Wizard World Version 1.3, March 16
PDF: 1,779 clicks
issuu: 260 clicks

Caveats galore, of course: The stats for the iPad app link tell us nothing about how many people went to the iTunes App Store on their own and downloaded Wizard’s app directly, without first clicking through the link Wizard’s website provided. There’s also no way of knowing how many of the downloaded PDFs and issuus have circulated from person to person. And while the and ComiXology platforms Shamus promised in his interview with iFanboy have yet to materialize, that doesn’t mean they won’t at some point. Maybe that explains the delay for issue/Version 1.4: Originally slated for a March 23 release according to a house ad in #1.3, it has not yet been published.



“Starting a digital magazine feels like the smartest business decision I’ve made in years.”

My first thought is that this reflects more on his recent business decisions than it does on the digital magazine…

He may be right about print comics becoming a hobby. But it certainly doesn’t mean that ancillary products and media licenses won’t support publishers indefinitely.

Content is king.

And as such, no one’s going to crown Wizard World anytime soon.

Personally, I hope it fails. They still have my money for my subscription to Wizard which never finished.

hey no onr told me anything about this…. Where the hell is the rest of my mags !??!??!

Like a sucker, I subscribed to Wizard a few months before the digital switch-over, and received two issues of my year-long subcripton. What I wanna know is where can I get my refund. I don’t have iTunes, an iPad or iPhone or iTrowel and all that…and I don’t want ‘em. What I wanted was something informative to read while on the can following morning coffee that I could toss in the recycle bin when I was finished reading it.

Me thinks I’ve been had.

And I don’t care what any “insider” reports, print comics on some form of paper will never go the way of the dodo, at least not in my lifetime, so I’m unsure of where Shamus gets these little nuggets. I can understand magazines having a rough go; online content is faster and cheaper. But fictional stories that are collectable? Don’t see it blowing away with the latest wind.


I’ve benn a subcriber since… I don’t know when. As a subscriber, why was I not notified of the cancelation of my magazine ? More importantly, WTF ?!? are you doin with my money? I just renewed with you guys !!! I expect an explanation, I expect my REFUND….

Shame on you, seriously…

Bill Morra
former long time subscriber

P.s. there are a lot of digital magazine sites out there, you have given me no reason at all to go to yours… Nice planning…

Honestly, I’ll probably get flamed for this by many, but I’m grateful to see it return in some form or another. I grew up reading Wizard and always found it good to read. I never did read Toyfare, but now that it’s in there I tend to read through that section as well now. The only thing I do miss is the price guide. It’s always where I got my pricing. So far, I’m enjoying it on the iPad.

I can’t believe people still bought Wizard Magazine at all.

One thing’s for sure, it’s time for fresh and BOLD moves. Maybe even radical ones. Just maybe. Because make no mistake, if this thing fails….comics may no longer be a business. IT MAY BE DOOMED TO BE A HOBBY. The day reading comics is “just a hobby” that someone can’t profit from, is the day I fall on my sword. I can’t even imagine a world where comics is just a hobby. What a nightmarish scenario.

I am also doing something new…and it feels good. I am not reading Wizard. And it feels good, man.

Anyone who subscribed to that pice of trash deserved to get robbed… it wasn’t worth it in in it’s heyday.

sorry but this is becoming a bigger joke than it was… stick a fork in it because this was Forked long ago….

I love the digital magazine. why? cause it’s free and fun to read – hell i mean it’d be one thing if they were charging per issue but clearly they aren’t.

and unlike some apps MARVEL you don’t need an ipad to read it.

kudos to them for making it easy to read

hey billy boy–i totally agree with you on this. i too have been a long time subscriber and had actually just sent a check out for a renewal not knowing that they had cancelled publication of toyfare. i have actually emailed two different people about not getting the renewal and finally decided to research some more. got really pissed off this morning when i found out that they had ceased publication. WHY did they not notify their longtime subscribers??? wonder if anyone from wizard world will actually read these and let us know the answers to our questions.

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