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Wizard Magazine Closes*

Posted on 01.28.2011 at 16:15

Depending on which circles you travel in on this crazy info superhighway, you may already have heard that Wizard: The Magazine of Comics, Entertainment and Pop Culture has ceased publication. Like the writer of this article, I’m sadder about this in the abstract than hard fact. I haven’t picked up an issue of the magazine in years. I follow only a handful of comic books now and, curious as I am, I realize have only so much time for the various interests in my life. I can’t muster much energy for comics as a whole anymore.

And yet. As it did for the writer at Omega Level, Wizard represented for me a time of comic book greatness. I got into comics back in the early ’90s. I stopped reading when storylines like Spider-Man’s “Clone Saga” and Onslaught in the X-titles estranged me. Too much confusion, too much change just for its own sake.

A cousin had a subscription to Wizard. Paging through it, I discovered the Thunderbolts, which brought me back to comics and got me reading Wizard regularly. In its pages I learned about the Ultimates universe, Kevin Smith’s budding career as a comics writer, and so many other pop culture tidbits, I’d be unable to count them all. Wizard was sometimes sophomoric, but, even as the Internet went mainstream, the magazine remained a reliable source for comics news and, frankly, cool stuff.

Now, the magazine is going online, which makes sense in this economy and as print increasingly moves to digital. For me, understanding it doesn’t make it easier to accept. Thank you and farewell, Wizard. I wave a polybag in your honor.

* Y’know, it’s not nearly as fun writing titles that are accurate but less splashy.


hallion! of the antarctic
liadaine at 2011-01-28 22:36 (UTC) ()
There is no like button on Livejournal!

But, yes, I do agree with you. I don't remember the last time I picked up a Wizard mag, but I'd say it was early 90s, or whenever the comic book store at the local mall called it quits. I never looked at a Wizard since. I think mostly I used a Wizard for the pages of comic book and trading card prices. I don't recall ever reading it.

The appeal of comic books were lost on me, like you said with the bizarre storylines and change for the sake of change. Mostly I think it was the art that attracted me. OMG JIM LEE! Then to Andy Kubert which was meh compared to Jim Lee, and then to the next guy they went to after that who was simply dreadful. No doubt the storylines of the X-Men were confuzzling at that time too, but when the artwork died, I stopped reading. I had never been that into Spider-Man; I liked the Venom spinoff. For some reason my brother never got into DC comics, so I never did either. When Jim Lee went to Image, my brother and I followed for maybe a year. It wasn't the same. What we were wanting out of the comic books they were no longer providing. They just weren't meaty enough.

Last week my curiosity got the best of me and I spent hours on Wikipedia reading about the X-Men characters and how they've retconned so many storylines that it's impossible to get a warm nostalgic feeling. Now with the death of Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four in issue #587, it makes me simply not care about comics of any shape or form.

Is that apathy for the comic world part of the reason why Wizard goes digital? With the massive success of comic and nerd conventions and people being glued to their smartphones, should it be relegated to something you can access with the flick of a finger? You go to conventions for the physical -- you want to pick up a copy of your favorite comic book, maybe you want to get it signed. It's all tangible.

It's like the popularity of e-readers. They are a fantastic idea, and you can have thousands of books in one spot as opposed to carrying around the real thing in limited, bulky quantities. Yaay technology! I hope I never get an e-reader. I feel satisfied when i close the back cover of a book and sit it down, rather than pressing a button to turn off my book or instantly start on a new one (something you also mentioned about reading short story collections).

I haven't really fleshed out this argument/discussion/reflection well enough for my liking because it feels like an enormous tangent. Wizard goes digital, comic books and magazines are still printed, having the real object in my hands feels so much better than staring at a backlit piece of plastic, fire bad, tree pretty.

iamrazorwing at 2011-02-07 16:35 (UTC) ()
I'm glad there's not a "like" button on LJ. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten all that insight. Thank you. :D

You bring up a really interesting point about e-readers. I can understand why Wizard's going digital. I don't like it, but it makes sense--the print medium continues to have economic problems. Why not cut costs? I wonder if comics will ever go the same route. I'm skeptical. Because besides just being a thing to read, comics are also collectible. They accrue value. Can the same thing be said of a file, one that can theoretically be copied at will? Hmm.

And maybe the world of comics *has* changed a lot since I was a part of it. Geek culture has certainly spread. Conventions are going mainstream. Superhero movies are bringing in loads of money, besides being--on the whole--of much greater quality than they once were. Maybe it's telling that Wizard expanded its focus to more of pop culture, beyond comics and its associated fandoms. Maybe it's always been that way and I just never noticed.

I guess things change, and we can either resist that or adapt.
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