Wizard Magazine: Bringing Comic Book Fans a Bit of Everything Before the Internet I Retro-Specs from LRM

Welcome to the September issue of LRM retro-specifications! The comic field continued its resurgence in the 90s. Not only are comic books making a strong comeback, but toys, clothing, games and other merchandise are clearly following. When I went to my local comic book store with my dad every Thursday, there was another crucial monthly magazine to pick up in the 90s. Let’s review the magazine that has it all: Wizard Magazine.

The guide for comic book fans

Before the internet, comic book lovers had to find a way to find out what was to come in the future. From comics to toys to games, Wizard Magazine is where to find the info. We needed. Let’s also remember that in the 90s, comic conventions were not the elaborate and organized machines that they are today. Of course, there were some of the greats. SDCC dates back to 1970. However, without the Internet and minimal conventions, Wizard Magazine was a great middle ground.

For comic book fans, there’s a price guide in every issue. This is great because you can keep tabs on the value of the issues you already have. Individuals also get a glimpse of what the comics are heading towards. There are times when the magazine has outsold the comics it promotes.

The magazine that keeps us comic book fans informed started in 1991 until it was finally canceled in 2011. That’s a solid 20 years, which is impressive and still going strong thanks to the rise of ‘Internet.

Turning point for gender

We all know the genre almost didn’t survive. However, the 80s began a revival of comics and in July 1991, Wizard Magazine puts the exclamation point on the gender. Wizard Magazine is a curated publication of all things comics. The genre is not only back, but it’s also something to be taken seriously.

Artist Todd McFarlane puts Spider-Man in a wizard robe that dons the cover of issue #1. An interview with the artist can also be found inside. Interviews, price guides, comic extracts, toy phases, comic book cinema news. Everything is here!

Before 1991, CC and wonder are the two titans that dominate the comic field. However, Wizard Magazine also helps connect new talent. This, in turn, helps the industry grow. McFarlane starts Image comics. By being an important part of Wizard number 1, Image comics also receives some of the light from the lime. In 1993 CCit is Imprint of Vertigo arrives in store thanks to the help of Wizard. This is a time when the industry begins to thrive again.

Not the first of its kind

Wizard Magazine is not an entirely new concept. I mean, what is it? In the 70s there is Comic Book Buying Guide. However, Wizard branches out by focusing solely on comics. I remember a small section in and edition of Wizard prior to Return of Batman go out. I had to broadcast to get any glimpse of what was to come. That and a brief trailer on entertainment tonight. Kids today don’t know how satisfied they are with the plethora of information available.

A growth platform

Wizard Magazine didn’t just focus on comic book characters and plot. Veteran and new artists are also honored. As mentioned earlier, McFarlane and the Incredible Jim Lee were relatively new at the time. Connections to Image comics helps put them in the spotlight, like many others.

Wizard isn’t just sold at comic book stores. It can be found in local bookstores, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. It goes beyond the world of comics and puts the information in the hands of an “average” audience as well. (Anyone else remember the joy of ripping the thin plastic it came in?) It helps the genre as a whole reach new levels. Once individuals start buying more comics, these rare comics begin to move up in value considerably. Although the growth of the industry is not only due to Wizard Magazinepart is.

Image comics initially does not have a symbolic digit when it first starts. The company focuses on the collector group. They create many comics in “collector’s editions” and/or “limited editions”. It really helps sales. However, with the large number of prints, they are not as limited as the titles appear at the time.

Because Wizard Magazine didn’t just focus on big business, many aspiring artists found a way to showcase their skills.

so much to offer

Wizard is a one-stop shop. Since comedy movies were hard to come by back then in the numbers we have today, Wizard played to the hearts of fanboys and fangirls. I always loved when they did celebrity castings for characters. Sure, a lot of the movies never saw the light of day, but it was cool that they did the “casting” and gave their reasoning.

Wizard would also do deep dives into the characters. You want to know what the bruises imprint on the batcave or on the base of the Fantastic 4 looked like? Good, Wizard is awesome and offers that to his fans. It really was a big magazine with something for everyone.

All good things can’t last

So with Wizard Magazine help grow the audience for the genre, why is there a drop? It’s not the comics themselves. Others like Black Horse are in the crease and get a good push Wizard. Even anime and manga rising in popularity couldn’t prevent the magazine’s eventual downfall. This is the rise of the internet.

New outlets, forums and groups are coming which are beginning to replace many of the items that Wizard blankets. Faster, easier, cheaper. The magazine has shrunk and becomes primarily an advertising space for newcomers. A striking contrast with the heights Wizard Magazine previously held.

take the leap

We see it with toy stores, bookstores, etc. The online world is exhausting pre-internet necessities. Like many other places, Wizard Magazine tries to keep up and join the online world. March 2011 is the last printed issue of the beloved magazine.

There is an announcement in 2011 that Wizardthe sister magazine of toy price would bend too. However, they are said to be making the jump online in what they used to call wizarding world.

Some Hated Wizarding Magazines

Some in the industry are not fans of the mighty Wizard Magazine. Some felt that this creates a world of speculation which could have negative effects. But isn’t speculation half the fun? Think of it as online forums before they were a thing. I remember all the speculation in an edition of Wizard revolve around batman 3 after the release of Return of Batman.

In the speculation section, the likes of Two-Face are tossed around for the main villain. Many have speculated that Catwoman will return, finally an appearance by Robin, and others have suggested who they hope to see. Years later, we discover that many were not far from this speculation in the early 90s. We see it thanks to the new Batman 89 comedy series. Some wacky threads have even discussed a Joker robot being the villain.

But again, discussions are half the fun, and Wizard basically helps kickstart the speculation/rumor mill on a larger platform that we all know and love today! Still, others were unhappy that the magazine showed a bias toward specific artists and writers. As we know, you can’t please every fan.

SEE ALSO: Blank Check: Disney Brings Us Every Child’s Dream, With Some Quirkiness I Retro-Specs from LRM

One of my fondest memories of Wizard Magazine is the lines of toys and the phases they have. The TMNT and x-men toys were always my favorites to see. I would look for the illusions that I couldn’t find, but that one day I hoped for.

I still remember seeing Iceman in Wizard, but nowhere in store! My family and my grandparents would always be looking for him, but without success. Until that fateful day when my mother takes me toys r us, I go through all the lockers to finally find the one and only Iceman! I might not even have known he was there if it wasn’t for Wizard Magazine.

Wizard Magazine is a classic for any comic book fan. This helped make the franchise what it is today. The magazine will always hold a special place in my early years in comics. do you remember Wizard Magazine? What are your fondest memories? Leave your thoughts in the usual place, and thanks for reading!

Sources: ComicSchool, CgMagOnline, BleedingCoolKayfabe

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