The big news coming out of the comic book world yesterday has been the apparent shut-down of Wizard Magazine and ToyFare Magazine, both long-standing print publications that revolutionized the reporting of all things nerdy for the last 20 years. Wizard World, started in 1991 by Gareb Shamus, was at one time the voice of the mainstream comic book industry, but due to some bad business decisions and a reluctance to fully embrace the web, the company’s influence has steadily declined over the years.
The decision meant that virtually all of the employees – teams of writers, artists, designers, and editors, as well as all freelance contracts – are to be terminated. This is definitely bad news for these people, but it could be good news for some comic book or geek-related websites who will be able to add some real talent to their stable of employees in the coming weeks. Surely there’s enough work in this nerdy field to go around.
While it might be the end of the print publication, it doesn’t mean the end of Wizard the corporation. In fact, Wizard World, Inc., will become a publicly-owned entity so that they can expand their Wizard World comic book conventions. And in a somewhat confusing move, the company will launch a new website in February that will essentially be a digital version of the print magazine they shut down yesterday. One can only assume they fired their existing magazine staff to either start the new site with a clean slate of contributors, probably at a rate of pay lower than they’re currently shelling out.
While Wizard has plenty of detractors, there’s no question the publisher was an important part of the popularization of the comic book culture, especially in the 1990s. Will it be able to recapture that flame by focusing on conventions and online efforts? Only time can tell.
How do you feel about Wizard closing up shop? Will you miss it? Do you think they have a shot at being a major force in comics again? Tell us about it in the comments section.