Wizard Magazine Closes Doors and Plans Digital Rebirth

This morning, Wizard Magazine, the long-running industry leader in popular print commentary on comics, announced the cancellation of their magazine (and its sister publication Toyfare) effective immediately.

[At left, the delightful cover of the magazine's fiftieth issue from 1995.]

The magazine will live on as a larger online news presence called Wizard World, to strengthen branding connections with the comics-convention circuit of the same name Wizard's publisher Gareb Shamus started in 1997. The new online push is scheduled for next month, February 2o11.

Shamus himself says in his press release: "The new digital magazine Wizard World will give consumers the content they want in a magazine format with which they are familiar, but distributed in a form that is always available at any time on any device. It is a natural evolution for us in this market."

[via @bleedingcool via Robot6 via Wizard World press release]

The truth is Wizard, which began publishing in 1991, hasn't been very relevant as a source of comics news for some time. Other comics news sites have mentioned the effect of the 'instant news' ability of websites and blogs (such as ours of course) in eroding the need/desire for the comics fan to purchase a monthly print magazine about comics. Why pay for nearly the same material you already got for free? But commenters are being polite and leaving out an important truth:

Many came to think of Wizard as a joke. Partially because the magazine was full of jokes. Dick, fart, poop, tits, and monkey jokes to be exact.

The saddest part is that Wizard's industry dominance killed off the excellent and sophisticated magazine called Comic Foundry [cover of the final issue at right] published by Tim Leong (@timleong) and Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) from 2oo6 to 2oo9. (Their blog is still up here.)

Wizard Magazine was my favorite magazine for a period of my childhood. Comics industry people talking about comics with humor and irreverence. Truthfully part of why I do what I do was inspired by Gareb Shamus and Wizard. It was my generation's MAD Magazine.

This writer is hoping that if Wizard World (@WizardWorld) is making this big a change in format, it can also make the effort to make a change in tone to match the change in tone the rest of the industry has made. We can have humor and serious art commentary in the same place without dipping so deep into the vulgar stuff ten-year-old boys like.

Bring us all up a bit, Mr. Shamus.



  1. I live in Mexico and I can say this is very sad news. When I was a teenager (and had not enough money for buying comics) Wizard was the best and funniest way to stay tuned at the comic scene.

    Certainly Wizard lost his touch many years ago, but anyway I'll miss this mag :(