Well, by now we’ve heard and read eulogies to the passing of Wizard and Toyfare magazines ad naseum. Regardless, I felt remiss in not sharing my thoughts on the matter.
Basically, I find that the cancellation of these two magazines saddens me. Quite a bit, actually.
The ironic thing is that I hadn’t read either one in years.
I used to read each faithfully. I remember picking up the very first issue of Wizard from a little comic shop across the street from Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, CA. Man, I loved it at the time, and read it for years.
Some time later, when Wizard Publications launched ToyFare as a special issue I ate that up, too. And, when it became a monthly I was there…each and every month. I even sent away for some of those awful slapped together Toy Biz exclusive figures they offered.
But, as time wore on I found two things happening. News and information was becoming far easier and timelier on the internet, and the reporting found in both periodicals began to slide. I always had issues with the price guides that both magazines used to run that artificially inflated the secondary market prices of comics and figures that should have been easily available on shelves. But, as Wizard grew in popularity and influence I would see comic retailers pull issues from their new release wall…bag and board them and put them behind the counter…complete with a marked up price! It was, frankly, sickening.
Action figures experienced a similar fate as figures that were featured in the Hot 10 list started disappearing from the pegs (if they even made it to the pegs and not out the back door of TRU). I always wondered how a figure was in the Hot 10 list that was prepared for press 3 months prior when the figure hadn’t even made it to stores yet.
It just wasn’t right.
But, eventually both magazines dropped the price guides…but, what was left was lacking in a lot of cases. Interviews in both magazines were typically softball questions, information was often erroneous and as time wore on the page count began to dwindle to the point that neither magazine was worth the cost.
For me, anyway.
The funny thing is, over the years I have met and talked with many folks who worked for both periodicals in either an editorial or content capacity. They loved comics and toys as much as I, and were generally good folks. So, I never really got the disparity between them and what came out in the magazines each month. I certainly wish the very best to folks who are now finding themselves out of a job due to the shut down. From one unemployed person to another…may you all land on your feet soon!
So, eventually I stopped getting them. Wizard first. I can’t even remember when I dropped Wizard. Toyfare fell a couple years back, but I would pick up an odd issue here or there about once or twice a year. The last issue I picked up felt no thicker than a regular comic book. The page count had been slashed dramatically.
Still, I am sad to see them go. I’m sad that I won’t be able to walk in to my local Barnes & Noble or Borders and see two visually appealing, full-color magazine devoted to two of my favorite hobbies. Sure, Tomarts and Lee’s are still out there…but they’ve become little more than bound press releases with next to no editorial content.
Comic Buyers Guide and The Comics Journal are still out there, too. Maybe they’ll pick up some former readers (‘though, someone going from reading Wizard to reading The Comics Journal is in for quite a system shock, I think).
So, rest in peace Wizard and Toyfare. You will be remembered for what you once were to me and you will be missed.