Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Does Wizard Magazine Need to Come Back?

July 7, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Wizard Magazine

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we discussed our Thoughts on Rob Liefeld’s Return to X-Force. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Al Lobama: “For supplemental reading on the subject, go to Comrade_Bullski’s Twitter page, where just a few days ago he chronicled all of comic series that Rob Liefeld solicited but never published/completed from 1991 – 2017. To give you an idea of how many that actually is, it took the guy FOUR threads to cover them all!

Kurt Busiek also recently re-shared the story about his involvement in Youngblood: Year One on his Twitter page. This was supposed to be Busiek’s follow-up to Marvels, with Liefeld planning to paint the whole mini-series a la Alex Ross. Busiek plotted out the first three issues, but didn’t bother doing the plot for the fourth issue when Liefeld hadn’t even started work on the first issue. Liefeld then passed the work off to a new artist, who only drew three pages before quitting. Then a new set of artists were hired, but once again their output was slow and Busiek didn’t like the work they were putting out (he specifically mentions how the first scene takes place in Boston, and they drew mountains in the background). Eventually, the project goes into limbo and everyone moves onto other things, until Liefeld contacts Kurt years later to finish the series. Busiek declines, but gives Rob permission to have the plots he’s written be scripted by another writer, so long as proper credit is given. Liefield solicits it as Youngblood: Genesis, and advertises Kurt Busiek as the sole writer without even crediting the new scripter. Kurt goes on what constitutes the Internet Comic Book Community in the year 2000 and tries to set the record straight that he didn’t write the series, Rob responds by calling Kurt a talentless hack, and Kurt vows never to work with Liefeld ever again. Youngblood: Genesis publishes only one of the four solicited issues and is never finished.

With that said, I’ll give you one guess as to whether or not I’ll be picking up X-Force: Killshot.”

Peter Kohler: “So a whole book with no feet showing?”

Benjamin J: “Bloody hell, you’d think after 30 years, a supposed professional illustrator would show some signs of growth or improvement…”

Jeremy Thomas: “I just can’t with The Rob anymore. Particularly not after the disaster that was Major X.”

Benjamin Kellog: “I haven’t personally read much, if any, Liefeld material. I like the various art samples I’ve seen, and it sounds like this could be a decently written mini. Now call be back when he puts out a Venom mini…”

Ken Wood: “I’ve been slowly working my way through the Dawn of X graphic novels and I love what they’ve been doing. That said, I’m glad this will just be a one shot. Fitting for Rob to have a return here but nothing big enough to screw everything up, hopefully.”

Some awesome comments last week! Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

This week we ask…

Does Wizard Magazine Need to Return?

With things opening back up I took the opportunity to visit my local Barnes & Noble shop. Perusing the magazine aisle I made notice of all the different hobby magazines on display. I saw trains, stamps, coins, action figures, and a number of others but what stood out most was the lack of comic book magazines. Not one. 

I understand that “print is dead” and magazine sales are no where what they used to be but I believe that a magazine that covers the comic book industry, in a fun and layered way, could survive on the stands. 

I’m sure for many of you, be it a comic book fan or a fan of the culture. Wizard Magazine Hero Illustrated, Amazing Heroes, or a number of other publications was your gateway to news and interviews. 
Yes, we have that on the internet and with the quickly moving world a magazine can’t compete with news updates, but a magazine focused on evergreen articles and interviews could stand out and, maybe, bring in new fans. 

I remember a few years ago there was mention of Wizard magazine, the publication Frank Miller once called a “bible written by Satan,” a “monthly vulgarity,” and a “tree killer (which) regularly cheapens and poisons our field”, was making a comeback.

According to Bleeding Cool, it was going to be published quarterly, along with daily digital video news reports. They are also reporting that Nerdist’s Brian Walton would be its Editor-In-Chief.

Founded by Gareb Shamus back in July 1991, it was both loved and hated by fans and industry folk but it made an impact that is still felt today. Wizard proved so popular that it spun-off a number of other magazines like Toy Fare, Inquest Gamer, Anime Insider, and Toy Wishes. At it’s peak, Wizard was selling 100,000. By December 2010, that figure was down to 17,000.

Wizard gave spotlight to Image and Valiant while also fanning the flames of collector speculation with its reporting on questionable collectors’ items and its price guide.

The magazine didn’t respond well to the internet and stayed around longer than many expected. It attempted to remake itself into a more open pop culture magazine but it only alienated the core group that still read it.

I still remember seeing Wizard #9 at the store and stuck with it till the end. More out of habit than anything else. Seeing zero comic book representation on the newsstand was a sad reminder of the state of things. If done right, I believe the time is ripe for a new publication, one that embraces print and the internet, to launch. But that might just be me. 

What do you think?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!