iFanboy Shows Up in Wizard Magazine

As many have pointed out, we were mentioned in a letter printed in the latest Wizard Magazine. A podcast listener, Steve McCoy, wrote in to extoll the virtues if our podcast to Wizard, and we’re totally floored and appreciative that someone would do that.

Now at the same time, we’ve never been too shy about talking about Wizard, and how we feel that it leaves something to be desired for fans such as us. But it feels to me that a lot of readers complain about Wizard, but still buy it. Now, I haven’t bought an issue in five years, but I did thumb through some of Ron’s issues last month, and can understand why people would want to read it, if for no other reason that there is currently no alternative.

So what’s the deal people? Is Wizard all bad, or are they getting better? Can you forgive the fact that they’re way in bed with the CGC people? Do they have any redeeming qualities, other than having spelled Conor’s name correctly?

This conversation has already started on the site, but I just wanted to go ahead and set up a better place on the site to talk about it.


  1. I personally don’t have a solid reason as to why I keep buying Wizard. I used to just pick it up at random when I saw something in it that interested me. And then at one point I noticed I could get a subscription for 12 issues for like $28 or something. And since I happened to have some extra cash I did that.

    I can see how some would not be for it because of the fact it is driven by unseen advertising forces who have major sway over its content and the originality factor of it lacking at times. For people who strive to find the things that might not be mainstream the magazine kinda goes against that very nature.

    However, it is not a bad thing in my opinion for people to continue to read it. Because for me it sometimes provides stories about stuff going on that I might normally have missed and then allows me to go online or wherever and find out more about it. So for that reason alone I justify spending the money on it.

    But for the most part, as you said, it is probably because there is no alternative. And for the last 10 years there has not been a very effective way for anyone to even try and create an alternative because Wizard has become such a monster that competing with it would be difficult. Unless of course you are three very intelligent comic fans with a stellar podcast and an ever growing fan base that could potentially start a comics magazine of their own that could grow one day to beat out Wizard.

    But I suppose we don’t know anyone like that 😛

  2. I grudgingly buy Wizard almost every month, and have been for years, even though I know the magazine is basically a tool of the big two to ra-ra their books, especially Marvel. Why do I still buy it when I can get all the same news on most any comics news site and some of the articles are asinine and are chock full of stupid junior high humor? I don’t know the answer. I commute on the subway, so its one more thing to read during my travels. Maybe habit, maybe hope of finding that one good article every once in a while. Tha article about Jack Cole, the creator of Plastic Man, a few issues back was very interesting. I guess in the end, there really is no alternative.

    Question for everybody, Ive never read Comics Buyers Guide, whats that mag like and is it more highly regarded than Wizard?

  3. I got the new Wizard because we were in it. Here’s one reason why I dislike this magazine:

    The cover spoils the lineup of The Mighty Avengers, which has implications for the outcome of Civil War, and randomly flipping through it I had the final line-up of Justice League of America spoiled.


  4. Technically, I’ve heard that most of those Mighty Avengers drawings aren’t to be taken seriously. Bendis was saying that there are red herrings in there, more or less.

    I really want to read that Jack Cole article everyone keeps talking about.

  5. man this proves u guys are definately legit now. take that joe casey!

  6. Everybody complains that Wizard caters too much to the Big Two, but doesn’t the attention reflect the market share? Combined, what percentage of comic book sales are the Big Two combined? Seventy? Eighty?

  7. Josh – The Interior of the latest issue of Wizard has the first 7 pages of Mighty Avengers #1, so it’s a little more than just drawings as red herrings, they’ve been doing these sneak previews weeks before the books come out, which then makes me feel like I read the book already when the issue finally comes out, which makes me feel insane.

    They also have an article about Civil War that actually has the line: “After bloody battles in Civil War #3 and #4”
    but no reveal of who’s dead oddly enough, bu tthen again, I’ve barely read the issue.

  8. For the subscription price, it’s worth it, as there’s usually a couple good articles–in addition to the one on Cole, there was another good one recently on the Conan creator. I also like the trade and hardcover reviews, as the grades are more realistic and critical than the usual rah-rah promotion. That being said, I agree with Conor that the new issue revealed a little more than I would want. Overall, I like having a shiny magazine about comics enough to keep reading. Grade C+.

  9. One thing I cannot stand about Wizard are the godawful captions below any and all of the photos throughout the magazine. The captions are all “jokes”, and without fail, are incredibly juvenile and stupid. Whenever I read them I wonder how grown men could be coming up with this stuff and thinking it is good enough for a magazine. Just tell me what the picture is instead of saying something stupid like “Spider-man wishes he didn’t eat that burrito supreme for lunch”. It’s like there’s a bunch of 12 year olds running the show over there (no offense to actual 12 year olds).

  10. I’ll be brief…

    Being a newbie in comics / graphic novels, I’ll give an assesment that represents my ignorance. Yes, I’ve browsed Wizard from a friend’s and yes, it does satisfy my curiosity to know more about my fav characters and such, even a couple of the stories are interesting. But I’m also an adult with good taste for the good things in life (as well as the childish joke once in a while) trying to learn and enjoy about the new found hobby. I enjoy my cape books and my non-cape books (super fan of BKV[Y, Runaways, Ex-mach]) and also like Invincible by Kirkman, among others (thanx ifans, those $20 bucks Rob gave you at SDCC were well deserved). While I think I’ve picked well, I sure want to learn more bout the finer things in this medium and feel that Wizard caters to a different taste than what I like. I enjoy the Ifan-boy podcast (spot the joke there) along with wordballon, which I really enjoy since takes us behind the minds of creators, their process and a deep and respectful look at their art and personalities. All seem to very well educated and love their art. I’m also a musician, and feel their perspective is super insightful, as I’m sure other “artists” will agree. We share same love for the things we create and enjoy for others to share it.

    So, what can we do? Not much I guess. I’m sure someone will spot the market and the need for an alternative to Wizard. Heck , it doesn’t even have to start as print, it could just be a site, ala Pitchfork. One dedicated to the more serious (without excluding the cape books or the fun) side of graphic novels, the indie books and whatever else Wizard lacks. So, who will do this? Oh, I don’t know, someone with some time and devotion and knowledge on this medium. Will it be a profitable endeavor? Beats me! but I hope so! Yes, it is difficult to start such a thing but hey, if you learned anything from our heroes, is that you never give up, right?!

    Betweeen Augie, our 3 Amigos and John Siuntras, I’m sure they could get some backing for such an endeavor and certainly would put out a nice quality mag/site that will apease our tastes. So guys, have a crack at it. You never now what may come out it.

  11. I must be especially cranky tonight, but… why does Wizard exist? In case the entire internet crashes at once? I don’t know much about the magazine, but I know I’ve typically read all of their scoops fifteen times by the time an issue comes out.

    Between Newsarama and the Pulse and the Beat and Rich Johnston and All The Rage and CBR and iFanboy and Fanboy Radio and 472 blogs and on and on, those bases are covered. Those bases are not visible under all that cover. Part of the reason I haven’t bought Wizard is that when I see it I say, “What is your point, little Wizard? What is the point of you?”

    Do they still have those pictures of Mego figures in funny poses and soforth?

  12. Dude, those Mego figures have their own book now. Fanboy Radio just interviewed the guys who do it. As their job. And get paid for it. Because people pay for it.

  13. I dropped Wizard not long after I started listening to you guys. I found that I was buying the magazine, but barely reading it. There wasn’t much content in it that I couldn’t find on the internet for free. I used to really like Wizard when I started reading comics. It is how I was introduced to Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I laughed at those Mego hi-jinks. I liked the interviews with writers and artists. However, now that we have the internet, we have sites like this to access the fanboy community, we can go to the web sites of many of our favorite creators and post to them directly on forums, and the news comes for free. I don’t dislike Wizard. If I felt they had an impact on the industry I would probably buy it. What I see them contributing the most is spoilers and that isn’t journalism, its hype.

    As for you iFanboys. You are definitely on to something. The podcast is always a lot of fun to listen to and these threads get filled with insightful comments. If the three of you endeavored into bigger things, I think you could expect some support from the people here.

  14. In the 90s, I read Wizard all the time (though, also being a CCG player at that time, I read their sister mag Inquest more; Inquest was a pretty good read back then, at least according to my memory). Since I started collecting comics again in 2001, I haven’t picked up an issue of Wizard.

    One reason is that I hate spoilers. I’d rather wait to experience something unbiased and unspoiled, be it a comic, movie, book, etc. Stories about Wizard spoilers like Conor’s are one of the main reasons I don’t read Wizard. I want to find out the Mighty Avengers lineup when I’m staring down the issue in the store.

    Then again, the other’s just apathy. I read a ton of comics. I’d rather spend that extra half hour reading a few comics or a graphic novel than Wizard. Why scour for spoilers on next year’s comics, when this year’s are already here?

  15. I want to echo one of the posts above, as I think it articulated what I’ve been thinking since I started reading comics again – we need the equivalent of Pitchfork for comics.

    Not so much for the news, because as stated, that can be found anywhere. But for well-rounded Comics Criticism. Too many of the reviews I find online fall into the camps on either extreme: Fanboy Boosterism or Snarky Anti-Cape-ism.

    I think what distinguishes iFanboy is that it is neither of these by default, but rather a forum for good discussion. (I think Fourth Rail came close most of the time, but now they are defunct.)

    It’s not that I always agree with Pitchforks music reviews and tastes by any stretch, but I know even from reading a bad review whether I might like the record myself, because they have an established standard for their reviews. Too often after I read an online comics review, the only thing I know is which of the two camps– rah-rah or snarky–the reviewer falls into.

  16. I’m 100% in agreement with PV. Since I rejoined the comics world about 3 years ago, I’ve become dismayed with the lack of legitimate comics criticism. Finding this podcast (and through the podcast, the board) has been a relief. It is the best place to talk comics, probably anywhere.

    I used to read Wizard when younger, because of the lack of alternatives. But since my return, the internet has completely changed that. I can get news from newsarama, good comics criticism from here, hear directly from creators at wordballoon, etc. What do I need Wizard for now? Exploitative drawings of female characters (I get enough of that in the comics)? Potty humor? Speculation on comic prices (dammit! knew I should’ve slabbed that copy of Generation M #3)? Also, the internet better warns me of spoilers, so if I don’t want to know who’s on Mighty Avengers, I can simply not click that link.

    I can see why fans buy it: there is no other print media about comics available. As it is most likely too expensive that any new venture will enter the market, we’ll probably have to wait until visual print media makes the switch to all digital, and for that we need a superior interface than what we have (I think the upcoming e-reader is still black and white). If that significantly decreases the entry barriers to the market, perhaps that’s when iFanboy becomes the preeminent comics news digital magazine and Conor can finally realize his dream of reading and writing about comics for a living.

  17. Wizard has finally crossed the line, in going to the “larger” format, they have sold themselves out to the people and us weekly crowd, and taken themselves out of the preferred long box fitting size, thus turning off the remaining di-hards.
    It’s pretty sad when I find myself whistfully harkening back to the days of HERO magazine.
    So let the cry be heard, it is now time for the IFANBOY comics magazine, I have a subscription filled out and all.

  18. I have been reading wizard since I was twelve years old. I continue to buy it each month out of nostalgia and habit. I understand it is lowbrow humor and they have on more than one occasion spoiled a story for me. The Dark Book they put out years ago actually spoiled Watchmen by listing the antagonist in their top 100 villains. Although the latter was difficult to forgive, I continue to buy because, frankly, I find it entertaining. I am an English teacher who attempts to deconstruct and analyze every piece of literature, so some cheap jokes and a lighthearted tone can be refreshing for a change. It has improved over the years giving us great articles on Bill Finger,co-creator of Batman; Jack cole, the creator of plastic man; and Will Eisner. There are tons of improvements to be made but nothing to solicit such a volatile reaction to a mag some of this board admits to not having read. If you don’t like it don’t buy it, but don’t blame it for ruining comics. Come on! it could be better, but its not that bad.

  19. The Dark Book they put out years ago actually spoiled Watchmen by listing the antagonist in their top 100 villains.

    This happened to me. It was like 1998. Funny I’m not the only one.

    He makes a valid argument for the inclusion of Wizard in our lives. I would say Conor’s opinion from the earlier podcasts is that Wizard just seems to continually appeal to the lowest common denominator and the basest stereotypes of comic readers over and over. But that’s just one way to think of it.

    Can someone just point me to that Jack Cole article already?! I would also take a scanned version to my email…

  20. Wizard is just a magazine… good or bad, best read when on the pot.

  21. Thanks for the article Ian!

    Now I’ll have to print it out to read it in the can.

  22. First off, Josh thanks for dropping me an e-mail. I appreciate it. Still into comics, and still reading them ravenously — work just started getting in the way of stuff like this, but it’s working out now.

    As to Wizard — yeah, I gripe about it, just like everyone else does. Yeah, I wonder why a mag supposedly dedicated to comics does huge articles on Lost and so forth. Yeah, if you are not on the ball on reading your books, Wizard can spoli stuff for you easier than milk set out in the sun. Why do I still buy it? There something to be said of the fact that there is a physical magazine devoted to this stuff. There are SOME good article in there. Some of the features of this month’s issue — like Deathstroke’s Titans East files and the Cap/Iron Man strategies on taking down each other’s teams I think are interesting and character building. Yeah, the Titans East storyline is at least four months away, but I’m excited about it. Yeah, Civil War is going to end sometime next century, but when it finally happens, it will be interesting to see those plans take life.

    Should they quit catering to the LCD? Yes! I would say 98% of their readership are hardcore comics fans. Live up to that. Have Wizard rip Joe Q a new one becasue of certain editorial decisions. Make Dan Didio come right out and say if this is it for Jon Michael Carter/ Booster Gold, instad of his little side stepping.

    Wizard has the publication numbers, all they need to do is listen to the fans.

    I do like the larger format, though. FRom a previous job working at a place where magazines are assembled, packaged and shipped out, the larger format with the saddle stitch staples is a lot cheaper, so you might even see a drop in price, a la Inquest.

  23. I am one of the many who do read Wizard every month. I was apparently one of the many who first heard of your website and podcast through them. I listened to your most recent episode today and found it be most ammusing and helpful. The only thing that was a little weird was the whole Uncle Scrooge discussion but other than that, very entertaining. I intend to start listening to you guys weekly.

  24. Nice to have you aboard, Scott! Welcome!

    That episode you listened to was actually from two weeks ago. The most recent episode contains no Uncle Scrooge discussion. I’m curious, though, why would Uncle Scrooge discussion be weird? They are comics just like any other.

  25. Mark Millar is now putting Wizard’s worth in question. I saw this post earlier on millarword.tv forums. It seems most people who buy Wizard are doing it out of habit.


  26. Conor, I guess where I was coming from on Uncle Scrooge is that I would have expected those to be for a much younger audience. Not that you guys shouldn’t be reviewing all books, just kinda surprised to hear it as a pick of the week. I was also a little surprised to hear Daredevil referred to as a middle of the road book when it’s the one of the ones that I look forward to most every month.

  27. Uncle Scrooge and similar comics are just as much for adults as any comic featuring Superman and Spider-Man, they’re just about anthropomorphic ducks and not superheroes. They are just different kinds of stories.

    Uncle Scrooge was the Pick of the Week of our guest for that episode: Augie De Blieck from Comic Book Resources.

    Even Daredevil can have a so-so issue. It just hasn’t happened in a while. But it’s one of the favorite books here. I think it was named co-Book of the Year in our 2005 Year End Show.

  28. I’d further that by saying that, if you like the art of comics in a certain way, then you’d likely be able to appreciate Uncle Scrooge comics for a different reason than a child would. From the standpoint of well done comic book storytelling, I think the duck artists are considered masters of their craft, and Carl Barks is a name right up there with Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, or Steve Ditko. Now, the subject matter may not interest you, but the ability to draw comics and tell stories very well is universal.

    Think of it like animation. Good animation is good animation, no matter who the audience is. I wouldn’t look at early Disney work by the “9 old men” and discount its craft and artistry by dismissing it as “kid’s stuff”.

    We were talking about classic comics, and the intended ages tend to go out the window when you look at material like that.

    That being said, there are really good all ages comics out there now that I would recommend to anyone who likes good comics. I really liked Herobear and the Kid as well as Bone, and a lot of people are very much into Andy Runton’s Owly. Even Grant Morrisson likes that one!

  29. I have a submission for your popular “This Week in Ducks” feature. And bot, what a submission it is! I was just reading a press release for a Civil War tie-in called “Choosing Sides” when I saw the following:

    �Civil War: I�m With Howard!� What happens when you�re an alien duck stuck in a Civil War? The most asked for tale of Marvel�s Civil War�does a Master of Quack Fu need to register? Find out what the Super Human Registration Act has in store for everybody�s favorite surly duck in a story by Ty Templeton.

    I was not this excited about Christmas.

  30. Is that really real?

    Just to soften the blow as it were, while Howard the Duck’s latest foray in comics on the Marvel Max line wasn’t so good, the writer, Steve Gerber did a really impressive job on the very underrated “Hard Time” from DC, which had a fantastic final issue.

    A little off topic perhaps.

  31. Oh, it’s real. The book follows four other charcaters (Ant-man, U.S. Agent, Iron Fist, Venom) as well as Howard. Here is the entire solicitation as well as a pic…