So, unless you’re one of the three people in the comic book industry who shares a cave with Osama Bin Laden, you already know that Wizard’s existence as a print magazine is no more. Instead, it will re-invent itself as an online journal starting in February.
Now, my first reaction was a knee-jerk “What’s gonna happen with the industry now that Wizard isn’t on the stands?” Then, I realized that I got the heads-up from Comic Book Resources, my online journal of choice.
Yes, Wizard’s demise was it’s own fault. They shouldn’t have tried to franchise the convention experience (their biggest mistake, in my opinion), they should have covered indie comics more, hell, Gareb Shamus should not have tried to get into the MMA business. But, the end of Wizard truly means the end of an era… It means that the ’90s, in the comic book industry, are officially over.
Peep game, Wizard’s rise to prominence as the comic book journal of note directly coincides with the rise of Image and Valiant. It can be argued that these three entities created a symbiotic relationship that helped start a revolution in the industry. All three entities were brash and in your face. All three entities showed the power and possibility of the independent market in comics. However, Valiant caved under the miasma that was the speculator market and the ousting of Jim Shooter as EIC. Image suffered the loss of Jim Lee’s Wildstorm studio and the in-fighting of the partners, which forced its re-defintion. Wizard decided to suck on the teat of the big two, most notably, Marvel especially post-bankruptcy.
Now, let’s be clear: Wizard was never the New York Times, but it did make reading comic books fun. And, I especially enjoyed the How-To-Draw section in the mag, which was extremely useful. I enjoyed their attempt to give better coverage of the indy scene w/ Wizard’s Edge (The first one in 2002 was a great boost for my book, The Horsemen). But, those experiments quickly dissapated leaving Wizard much worse for wear. Their convention strategy blew up in their faces, pissing off everyone from fan to retailer to creative to company. When DC or Marvel decides to pass on your convention, you’re screwed.
At the end, Wizard forgot what Wizard was about, making comics fun. They started “smelling their drawers” and thought that they were the industry. That is the reason for Wizard’s demise. No one of us is the industry; not, DC, not Marvel, not Wizard. We are all a part of this industry and we all need to understand that in order for the industry to maintain and to grow. Don’t get me wrong. Marvel and DC will always be the big two Image and Dark Horse will always be the pinnacle of the second tier and the rest of us will be pushing to get our product out under these conditions… and that’s cool. I appreciate the competition. Just remember that we’re all in this together and there ain’t no “I” in team. That’s the only way that we’re all going to survive in this industry.