Friday, January 28, 2011

And Another One Down, And Another One Down...

Print media is in trouble. We know this. We've talked about this.

Print media is like the T-Rex who woke up on that special morning all those centuries ago, looked up into the sky, saw a brilliant flash of light, and said, "uh-oh."

Except, if print media was actually the T-Rex in this analogy (just go with me for a minute, okay?), instead of saying, "uh-oh," Print Media-Rex snorted indifferently, then went back to sleep.

Which is my way of saying that two more once-prominent and exceedingly profitable magazines have closed up shop, mostly due to the fact that the publisher had long since put off the inevitable switch to digital publishing.

As any tried and true geek knows, Wizard and Toyfare magazines, respectively, have been industry staples since the early 1990s.
Sure, their humor skewed towards the frat house variety, but, more than any other comics-related publication, they were "mainstream."

They were mainstream in that both magazines were sold in Borders and Barnes & Noble, and they looked like "real" mags. High quality paper, full-color covers and interiors, and, recently, big-name stars plastered all over the book.

But now, sadly, both Wizard and Toyfare have been cancelled, and will be replaced by an online version called, simply, Wizard World.

A couple of thoughts on this. First, it's about time the mags went digital. And second...boy does it stink that the mags are going digital.

I've been a Wizard reader since 2003 or so, so I missed out on its heyday of the mid-90s.

And, while my reading tendencies venture more into independent books than into the big, mainstream stuff, I always looked forward to getting, and reading, Wizard for its mostly mainstream coverage.

And if you think that's strange, Wizard was one of my brother's favorite magazines. And he doesn't really read comics, other than things like Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.

I know. Bizarre.

But I think that was the effect of Wizard. It made comics kind of, sort of, cool. Geeky-cool, for sure, but cool nonetheless. And remember, this was before geeky-cool was in.

And now, with geeky-cool being very, very in...Wizard is gone.

Now, don't get me wrong. This will be no great literary void now that the magazine is no more. There were times when I simply had to put the magazine aside, and wonder aloud how a single publication could contain so many grammatical mistakes.

And remember, I'm the guy who reads books like The Goon, and Boneyard, and Stumptown, and Magus, and The Sixth Gun, and a bunch of things from the very depths of the Previews catalog.

But I liked Wizard.

I enjoyed picking it up each month and flipping through the pages, despite the fact that they pretty much completely ignored the books I love most. But I needed my monthly fix.


I dunno. Maybe it was because its pages were filled with fun talk about comics. Sometimes, we just need more of that.

So I'll follow Wizard World online, and I'll report back on it when the first issue--or whatever--comes out sometime in February. For now, though, I'll happily thumb through the latest--and last--copy of Wizard that I picked up on Wednesday.

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