We heard some startling but unsurprising whispers that made the rumor rounds this morning and now Bleeding Cool is confirming that Wizard Magazine is shutting its doors immediately. According to Bleeding Cool, all the Wizard staff has been laid off and the magazine will cease publication immediately. This has not yet been confirmed by Wizard editorial or their public relations folks.
Wizard Magazine started in 1991, and for the past 20 years has been the leader in comics magazines, whether you liked it or not. Many people identify Wizard with much of the success and strife of the 1990s, and for the past 10 years Wizard has struggled to maintain relevancy in the face of the growing comics media that found a home on the Internet (much like us).
Personally this makes me sad. I love magazines and I remember buying the first issue of Wizard back in 1991, and it's probably safe to say that I've bought and read 90% of their issues in their 20 year run. Sure, sometimes their humor was juvenile and they had an odd obsession with values of comics and speculator-like things. But it was still fun to read a magazine about comics, and with the recent changes to The Comics Journal and now this, we're not left with much in terms of comics media "in real life." But this is a trend that the rest of the media world is dealing with as well, not just comics and I suppose it was just a matter of time.
Gareb Shamus, Wizard's founder and President and CEO of Wizard World, just announced that he'll be launching Wizard World in February 2011, as an all-digital pop culture magazine, serving the same audience from the print magazine.
Additionally, the Wizard World Comic Con Tour will come to 12 cities in 2011.
Who will produce this magazine is still unknown, but unconfirmed reports suggest the entire staff was laid off. Obviously, this will still be developing.
Toyfair, Wizard's sister publication about toys and such, will be shutting down too.