Another Classic Print Magazine Bites the Dust

Wizard magazine is no more.  The publication that helped bring comic books into the mainstream of media entertainment has printed its final issue and laid off its staff.  Like many fan boys, including some who grew up to pen their own comics (like Kevin Smith) or make their own big screen comic book adaptations (like Jon Favreau) or star in movie versions of comic book heroes (like Nicolas Cage), I remember reading Wizard in my younger days, and it fed my imagination and my love for the genre.  Now it has joined the graveyard of other cherished magazines that have died in this new digital age.

The death of Wizard cannot be completely blamed on New Media, although the Internet certainly was a factor.  Print mags cannot present news to readers in the same instantaneous fashion as online Web sites and blogs.  Yet, the content of Wizard has diminished over recent years.  Rather than presenting interesting interviews, in-depth articles about new trends, cool examinations of comic history, and creative analysis of current storylines, with a lot of humor thrown in for good measure, issues of late have been boring "top ten" lists without anything really new or of substance to merit reading.  It was difficult at times to differentiate the editorial content from the advertising. 

Zack Smith wrote an honest eulogy for Wizard on Newsarama.com, pointing out the impact of the magazine, its nostalgic charm, but also its flaws that contributed to its demise.  A version of Wizard will still survive online (for now), the company that published it will still mount its popular Wizard World conventions, and Jerry Milani, the PR guy for Wizard, told me that they are working on a "make good plan" for existing subscribers; but an era has ended. 

The decision to fold Wizard is a sobering act.  What does it say about the print industry as a whole when the iconic mainstream comic book magazine cannot survive during what is arguably the peak of interest in the comics industry by big media? 

Despite mistakes it may have made over the years and failures by its editors and owners to find a way to keep up with the times, Wizard will be missed.  I hope it lives on in some capacity, because its classic vision of the comic book medium was one of many gateways to the entertainment world that many of us still love. 

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