Hello children! Sorry I've been gone so long. You know how it is. You take one week off for Halloween and then you wind up taking another week off because you're feeling sick and the doctor's bill wiped out your budget for buying comics that week.
But I'm here now! And ready to hop back in the saddle and take up arms against the grand old dinosaur - Wizard Magazine.
"Now Starman", I hear you all say metaphorically. "Why are you even bothering to write about Wizard Magazine? Nobody I know even reads that hack-rag anymore!"
You explain to me further, "Their comics pricing guide is pointless in a time when there are many websites that offer the same information for free and ebay has created a much more accurate gage of what people will pay for a comic. You can get all the latest mainstream comics news, reviews and comedy from any number of on-line sites, like your very own Comics Nexus and the magazine has become more about pop-culture and less about comics in the last few years, anyway."
And then you exclaim, "Why, apart from the occasional interview and the photos of a half-naked Kristen Bell, there's no reason at all for anyone to buy Wizard Magazine anymore!"
Well, you know what, oh nameless rabble with whom I am having an imaginary and increasingly long-winded conversation? You are all absolutely right!
To use a metaphor, Wizard Magazine is a an aging athlete. We've all seen this type of person - probably even knew one in college. He was the guy who graduated but is still in denial about his salad days being over. He talks non-stop about how good he used to be in attempt to make himself still seem good. He still goes to the same bar he went to as an undergrad after work, still hits on the same co-eds with no success and wonders in his quieter moments when the world passed him by. He wonders why everyone acts like he's an adult when he still feels like a care-free, wise-cracking 21-year old. He used to be respected but now the world has no use for him.
It's a fair comparison. Apart from being an organizer of some of the biggest and best conventions in the Sci-Fi/Comic Con game, Wizard hasn't really been relevant to the Comics Business for a good long while. Sure, the big boys at DC and Marvel throw them a bone once in a while, but The Internet has ended the days when Wizard was the be-all and end-all of Comic Book News and Reviews. Why wait a month to pay five bucks to hear what Joe Quesada has planned for Marvel Comics when you can read about it once a week at Newsarama for free?
So why am I writing about them? Because of this latest sad attempt at relevance.
The #1 Men's Pop Culture Magazine!
Now, this did cause quite a stir last week. Naturally, a good number of female comic readers were offended at the fact that the most prominent print-periodical for comics in the world basically said "We're a boys only club" - an idea that the industry itself and feminist comic fans in particular have been fighting for years. The fact that the same issue had semi-nude pictures of "Heroes Hottie" Kristen Bell didn't help matters. Nor the fact that the issue had a game wherein the reader is supposed to identify a female video-game character by her upper torso. Guess what this feature was so tactfully named?
Of course several came to the defense of Wizard. Some pointed out that the offending comment was only on one of their three alternate covers and further suggested that it was probably just a joke. But Wizard itself has been silent on the outrage, in so far as I can tell. This suggests that Wizard honestly doesn't care if they offend female comic fans and that they honestly are trying to reinvent themselves more as a general pop-culture magazine for men rather than as a general-interest comics magazine for everyone. Which, given reports of Wizard having gone out of their way to get female feedback at their conventions this summer, is a double-slap to the face.
As for me personally? I can't get too worked up over this, though I did feel the need to comment upon it. Wizard Magazine is a business and if it improves their business to cater to the lowest common denominator and the baser instincts of heterosexual men-child than to provide quality comics news coverage, more power to them. There's plenty of other print-magazines out there that still do provide comics news without the boobs (Comic Foundry comes to mind) so it's not as if this is the huge disaster it might have been a decade ago for fangirls and fanboys with a conscience. And there's always all the fine folks on The Internet News Sites and Blogs, right?
So with all that in mind, join me next week as I enter the belly of the beast and report from Wizard World Texas! Where the guest of honor is... Smallville Supergirl Laura Vandervoort?!?!
To quote Han Solo, "I have a bad feeling about this..."