Wizard, The Guide To Comics, has announced that it is to cease existing as a monthly magazine. The current idea is for it to become an online only destination.
Wizard was a magazine dedicated to articles about mainstream American comics. Over the years it became a periodical about movies, tv, games and comics. It also went from a large readership to a much smaller readership. The content and format changed and I went from being a regular reader to not even flicking through copies I got given for free.
As much as I do believe I became more discerning between my first exposure to Wizard (both it and I were in our teens at the time) I think the change in content was far more to blame. I used to buy Wizard and devour a huge chunk of reading matter. It had articles on comics I liked, interviews with creators I cared about, art I couldn’t find anywhere else, posters, drawing tutorials and guides on comic production.
Now, the internet has made a lot of a monthly periodical obsolete: news can be immediate and there is a greater variety of media and effects possible. But the long form read lives on and thrives: analysis, commentary, reviews, articles and stories that can’t be read easily on screens are still sought after and purchased. I know that the readership for these is in decline, but successes are still possible and common. What is less common, seemingly, is advertisers to go alongside them. I know anecdotally that magazines are slimmer just because of the decrease in the number and size of adverts in them, as much an indication of the growth of the internet for advertising and the necessity in changing article type in magazines as it is the decline in readership.
I could sit and nit pick for hours on where Wizard went wrong, but I think it comes down to being a shoddy magazine that did everything badly and thus had no value when it was once a niche magazine that did a few things well. And that isn’t the internet, that is poor business.