Thursday, February 26, 2009

Economy Sad Bear: Wizard Edition

Getting reports on Twitter that there are possibly more firings at Wizard Magazine.

I know a few people there, this sucks.


Not Wizard-specific, but an observation. With all these paper magazines and newspapers laying off people and transferring more and more content to the Web, don't they have some sort of protocol for transferring jobs as well for one medium to another? Job training, etc.? Surely, not everybody is ideal for the transition from paper to digital. But surely some of these companies are at least attempting this?

UPDATE: According to unconfirmed reports, the Wizard layoffs, if true, are one of the biggest single-day purges for the company.


With the massive layoffs and door-closings in the traditional media over the last six months, we cannot expect things will be any different for comics. I hear sometimes that "comics are recession-proof," and that "the paper comic will never die." Maybe that is true -- but there is absolutely going to be reshufflings and rearrangement and different schemata set up, and that is inevitably going to mean a loss of jobs.

The landscape for comics -- and those media sources that report on comics -- is going to look completely different within five years. Not like, five years ago, we had this comic trend or that, and we called it "change." I'm talking about complete and total revolution in content, format, and delivery. That's why, when some person or another asks me why I am not worked up over this or that DC Comics thing, I say: "in five years everything is going to be completely different anyhow. what does it matter?"


  1. This whole situation has me freaked out. Someone at my job just either quit (due to ongoing health concerns) or got fired (hopefully not for the same reasons).

    It's scary out there, and as you've mentioned, it's going to get worse. The Wizard thing really scares me because aren't they still considered a pretty big deal in fandom?

  2. It's the one-two punch of the recession plus the move from paper to digital -- each one feeding the other.

  3. I think the battle in the comic news category is long over. Very few fans look to magazines to get their news and instead flock to the internet sites. So that means that magazines have to offer something different for the fan to want to read them. WIZARD has never been big on the quality of their content so it's no wonder that they're hurting now.

  4. My question is --

    Is there any future in comic book news publications?

    It would seem that the only magazines about comics that would have anything to offer that online couldn't are ones with really in-depth interviews & features -- I'm talking academic-level stuff. And/or a "collectible" factor.

    Back when Wizard first started, my local comic shop actually put a premium on back-issues, like they were collectible comic books. And I think Wizard played that up.

    Maybe in order to survive in print, Wizard needs to be a true comic news/comic content hybrid.

  5. Anonymous4:18 PM

    I'm sure glad that I quit my job at Countrywide Home Loans!




    (seeing my old company getting grinded by the courts on CNN months later was SO FANTASTIC)

  6. BOOO I was like "Wizard edition? BUT WIZARDS ARE MY JAM!!" but then it was about a magazine. Bait & Switch man, bait & switch!

  7. didnt just the Egm magazine ended a while back and kinda if a popular videogame magazine cannot win against the internet where that it leaves a comic book magazine.

  8. Newspapers and magazines are transitioning Web duties (shooting video, audio editing, etc.) into what were considered traditionally print-oriented positions. But these layoffs are purely cost-cutting measures. They're moving as many salaries as they can off the books.

    My worry: These publications still haven't figured out a new business model that will have strong enough revenue streams to support a lean yet strong newsroom.

  9. I think the problem with retraining people is that their old job depended on a business model that doesn't exist anymore and the new business model is more profitable precisely because it doesn't include paying them.

    Losing these jobs is not a side effect, that's the whole point!

    The amount of money that even the big comic news sites take in is tiny.

  10. I think the future for comic-related magazines lies in the smaller publications, like Back Issue, Alter Ego, Comics Journal, etc. The Independent publishers will continue publication for their smaller niche audiences, put out by their small staff of enthusiastic employees that do it more out of love than a paycheck.

    In other words, I don't think there is a future for large corporate magazines.

  11. Yeah, I think it's back to the niche market for comic book-based magazines. As long as Jack Kirby Collector survives this eco-crisis, I'm happy.

    I can't stand Wizard, but I feel for the people losing their jobs. I truly do.

    And things are shaky here in Japan, too. Lots of my students are getting unpaid leave. I'm worried we might start shedding people soon. Until then I'm under contract, so I'm safe for now. I just hate to see all these nice people I know suffer, hate to extrapolate those same feelings onto people I don't know as well.