We have to talk about The Wizard! The Wizard Age of Comics left us 11 years ago. An examination of what that experience entailed from the perspective of a professional comic creator and publisher of comic books that survived their tumultuous existence.
I just listened to the Wizard episode.
I helped manage a comic/toy/pop culture store in Iowa City Iowa called Iguana’s Comic Book Cafe in the mid to late 1990’s. Listening to this episode floored me. I had no idea of the negative impact this publication could/did have on the industry. I also can testify to the influence it had on retailers. Although for me specifically it was on pricing comics, not being influenced by stupid crap opinion pieces trying to sway the reader towards some books and away from others.
I made it my job to read almost EVERYTHING each week. I wanted to be able to answer customers questions about books in a sensible manner and suggest different books that they would enjoy based on what I could see made them happy. Also, Heaven forbid, suggest something different that could help them discover something new!
I had put Wizard on a pedestal. I am 51 now and still learning each and every day. I try to listen more now and talk less. Today it was a good choice.
I had the pleasure to chat with you a couple times at Cons where we had tables and I was getting books signed for my customers. San Diego and Chicago specifically, though don’t remember exact shows anymore (50’s memory issues creeping in). Thank you for enlightening me with honest information. Despite the stain that Wizard was, those years working in the industry, doing the shows, I have lots of fond memories. I look forward to listening to more of your podcasts.
Convenient to forget that Overstreet did respond to Wizard by publishing a rival magazine called FAN. Also seems like you’re confusing the contentious interview for one you did for Hero magazine, another Wizard rival. Real classy to talk smack when the other party isn’t able to respond either too.
The hell with those clowns 🤣 This is one episode that I have been waiting for. Waiting for part 2
This is the first episode I’ve caught, and what a fantastic introduction to this medium! It is amazing to hear about your experiences with Wizard and the toxic environment they created to push their agenda. I own so many of those magazines and I feel like I should burn them (but I respect the artist’s work on covers, etc., too much to do so). I immigrated to the US in ’91 and bought my first comic books a couple of years later. My first comic was a newsstand edition of Darker Image; I was fascinated by the work of you, Sam Kieth, and Jim Lee, and I had to have more. I bought your X-Force, Youngblood, Brigade, and anything I could get my hands on. While I bought Wizard, I never let it affect what I bought I bought what made me happy, and that was the work of the Image founders. Thanks for all you do, now I have something else you produce that I can enjoy, your podcast!
Rob, I found you on Instagram and subscribed to the podcast in June. Just started listening to the episodes and I love it!
I collected back in the pre-teen and teen years (89-97), so I’m familiar with your work and enjoy your storytelling style on the microphone. Your episodes fill in a lot of the drama and business happenings I had heard about in the 90’s, but wasn’t particularly drawn to, at the time.
Thank you for pulling the curtain back and for all your remarkable work to-date!
-Frank from Long Island, NY
PS: I remember seeing the Levi’s commercial as a kid. My older brother thought I was a nerd for reading comics, but even he thought that commercial, and you, were cool.
I pretty much started collecting comics in the early 90s, though I did have some DC comics from the late 80s.
I used to buy Wizard Magazine every month. It was entertaining and I really liked when they brought in a lot of talent to the magazines pages. I really loved the issue with the Stephen Platt Prophet gatefold cover.
I must’ve been pretty obtuse in my age ‘cuz I’m very surprised to hear how shitty they were to you and so many other comics creators.
I definitely remember, in a previous podcast, you were talking about how the top ten artists list was political and biased against certain creators.
I thought nothing of the grift that they were taking part in.
Even now we’re seeing some of what Wizard has done to comics has come back. We now have influencers taking the place of Wizard Magazine hyping up books. Comics are being treated like stocks all over again. There’s a site where you can buy shares of key books. now. If there’s one thing to be said about Wizard Magazine, I don’t think there would be a Robot Chicken without Toyfare Theater.
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