After several years of very public struggles and a high circulation drop off, Wizard Entertainment has shut down Wizard Magazine and Toyfare, effective immediately.
The rumors of Wizard’s print demise were first reported at Bleeding Cool and later confirmed by several sources from within the industry before Wizard released a statement about its future plans.
According to Wizard founder (and "recently appointed President and CEO") Gareb Shamus, Wizard World will live on as an "online magazine" that will launch in February in addition to the traveling Wizard World Comic Conventions which currently number at 12. The statement also reveals that Wizard World will be going forward as a publicly traded company.
However, the statement from Shamus doesn’t mention that the company’s flagship magazines have ceased publication or the reports that the majority of the remaining staff has been laid off.
Wizard Magazine debuted in 1991 and quickly became a driving force for the comic book industry in the early days of the Image Comics and Valiant boom that eventually spawned the speculation era; which many have also blamed for the subsequent market crash in the late ’90s. Regardless, for many years, Wizard was considered the main source for exclusive comic book news until the increasing popularity of comic book new sites helped lessen demand for the magazine.
In recent years, Wizard has also been known for several high profile departures and layoffs.
On a personal note, I was a freelance writer for Wizard for just over a year and I greatly enjoyed working with the people at the magazine itself; including Jim Gibbons and April Wiggins who left the company a while back. But I also want to thank my former editors Mike Cotton, Andy Serwin and Dan Reilly and send my best wishes to them and anyone else who lost their jobs today.