Saturday, June 09, 2007

Wizard Magazine Announces New Hires: Nothing To Change!

Here is a press release via Newsarama on Wizard staffing adds and changes:

"Wizard Entertainment today announced several Wizard editorial promotions and the addition of a newly created West Coast office. Brian Cunningham has been promoted to the position of Executive Editor; Mike Cotton has been promoted to the position of Managing Editor; Sean Collins steps into the newly created position of Online Managing Editor and Savas Abadsidis has been hired to head up the Hollywood editorial office in the position of West Coast Editor.

In making the announcement Wizard Editor-In-Chief Scott Gramling said, “The promotion of three of the key editorial minds behind Wizard is a credit to their extensive body of work with the brand. The addition of a West Coast office was a logical step forward for a brand that serves fans of entertainment and pop culture.”

Brian Cunningham has been with Wizard Entertainment since 1991, becoming a full-time staffer in 1993. Cunningham has contributed to more than 150 issues and is spearheading the creation of the magazine’s special 200th issue due out the early part of 2008.

Mike Cotton started at Wizard as a staff writer in the fall of 1999. He has conducted several of the high-profile celebrity interviews for which Wizard has become known, including recent features on Tobey Maguire, Transformers Director Michael Bay, Samuel L Jackson and writer/director Kevin Smith.

Sean Collins joined Wizard in 2004 as a managing editor. He will be shifting his focus from print to the rapidly growing WizardUniverse.com, which in the past 12 months has increased its total audience by 600%.

Savas Abadsidis gives Wizard a significant editorial presence on the West Coast. He is an accomplished editor with an extensive background in entertainment and publishing, having recently served as executive editor of men’s lifestyle magazine Complex.

Gramling continued, “These moves bolster our ability to continue to produce the most relevant magazine and Website for 18-to-34-year-old male fans of comics, pop culture and entertainment. It also allows us to start focusing on several huge future projects, including our milestone 200th issue, which is now less than a year away.”

So basically, this means that nothing is going to change. Yes, the banner of pop culture rather then comic books is being waved, but keeping the same guys around and promoting them is not going to lead to a significant step forward to diversity or new interests. It means that I can expect the same kind of articles that cater to the "oh look, boobies!" mentality that have put this magazine out of my subscription list. As a reader of Maxim and a former reader of Wizard, I can tell the difference between "manly fun" and ignorance, and I am fearful this means that things are not going to change.

Forgive my disapointment, but I was really hoping for lots of new blood to be injected here. Having met Mike Cotton and thinking he was a good guy, it is hard for me to criticise, but I just can't help but think this is not the step forward that readers were hoping for.

Does anyone know a female staffer at Wizard I could e-mail? I am curious about the experiences of women working for Wizard. Ten years ago, I thought it was one of the coolest places to work at possible. Now I just don't know.

Thoughts?

6 comments:

Mark Engblom said...

omcaThey're going the "Maxim" route?

Just what the world needed: Yet another magazine devoted to twenty-something horndogs.

Skullduggery said...

I think the best part of that press release was the statement by Gramling - “These moves bolster our ability to continue to produce the most relevant magazine and Website for 18-to-34-year-old male fans of comics, pop culture and entertainment."

Nice.

Male fans.

So they dismiss the other half of the fan equation and make no bones about it.

That's ok though.
Wizard is a complete piece of garbage and I wouldn't read it if it were the last publication on Earth.
They cover all the wrong things about comics and the industry in general.
But I guess that is what makes it a 'male oriented' magazine.
Whatever.
I'm male and I think it is complete garbage.
I know Marvel and DC account for upwards of 80% of comics sold in the direct market and they do publish a lot of comics ... but when I look through Previews every month, there are more pages of solicitations from all the other publishers combined than for Marvel and DC combined.
For instance, this month's (June) Previews breaks down as thus:
DC - 48 pages
Marvel - 96 pages (absolutely ridiculous)
Dark Horse - 33 pages
Image - 27 pages
Top Cow/Platinum - 7 pages
Everybody else - 114 pages

DC and Marvel - 144 pages
All others - 181 pages

* I did not count any of DC's trade backlist pages and I did not count any comic/art preview pages for any publisher, nor did I count advertisement pages if the comic(s) listed on those pages were included in smaller solicitation sections for the publisher on other pages (for instance, Oni Press had several full pages of descriptions for a number of their titles, but then there were smaller solicitations for those same books in the regular sections, so I just considered the big pages as ads and did not count them). I also did not include pages soliciting only toys or any other non-comicbook products.

Yes, DC and Marvel make up a big chunk of Previews and clearly are the dominant force in the market.
But there are still 181 other pages of comics being solicited. And a VAST majority of that stuff falls completely off Wizard's radar. So as far as I am concerned, they can't call themselves a comics magazine. In fact, they should just completely drop the Wizard name and go with Marvel/DC Maxim or Marvel/DC Stuff, because that is really about all they are.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, I just gotta shake my head on that one. Since I don't fit the target audience, why bother?? :-)

Heidi Meeley said...

Skullduggery- I am in awe at your statistics. You have it nailed. There is a huge portion of the industry that goes unnoticed by Wizard except for their "Edge" issues, that come out, maybe once a year if that much? It's a bunch of hooey.

I am inclined to believe that Wizard spotlights whoever will pay for the advertising. I have had a few discussions with folks in the know that have said that the comic companies pay for the privelege of being noticed there. That makes me madder then anything. If the book isn't going to come from a direction that is at least partially objective, why bother?

Thank you for the excellent observations. I am really impressed!

Lisa said...

Skull is right - they're just making another men's magazine - only this one is for men who are also comic book fans and prefer half naked, drawn, super-chicks to half-naked photographed real women. And just promoting the guys they already have - that won't change a gosh darn thing.

Me and a few customers were joking about Wizard just last Wednesday. About how it's the Joe Quessada's
Fan Club magazine or the Mostly Marvel Monthly. One guy from the back shouted up to us - "I haven't bought a Wizard in 5 months!" I told him he needed a badge for every month, like the ones Lindsay Lohan was sporting before her recent return to rehab. (He has nearly 7 years of Wizards saved up in boxes at home so kicking the Wizard habit was a big deal for him) And these are weekly comic book shoppers, and men, between the ages of 18-34, who are making fun of Wizard. So it looks like even the people they're making the mag for don't take it seriously.

Heidi Meeley said...

OMG Lisa, I love hearing that! It is too awesome! At our local shop, the buyer has had to decrease orders by over 1/2 in the last six months because so many customers have dropped it. It isn't relevant anymore, and it is indeed the butt of many a joke. I am really disapointed at the lack of change coming!

I do appreciate you relating your experiences with your customers. It really brings it all home!