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Tag Archives: Gen 13
Comic news isn’t exactly hard to come by these days. I mean, the internet has a disproportionate amount of information on four things: porn, Star Trek, porn, and comic books. There are three sites I check almost daily for just for comic book news, features and blogs. Those three link to dozens of others. It’s great, but it hasn’t always been this way.
When I was a beardless youth just finding my footing in this crazy medium, the web wasn’t as organized as it is now. There were comic book sites, but they were mostly fan made geocities sites. They had a lot of images, and basic information about characters, but not much on the industry as a whole. They weren’t great for finding news. For that I turned to a special little magazine: Wizard.
I think my first encounter with an issue of Wizard was when some guy in grade school brought a copy in, and we all ogled the cast of Gen 13 or something. Soon after, I started buying it every month. In fact, I bought Wizard monthly long before I did the same for a comic book. It was a way for me to keep on top of what was going on in the world of comics without having to buy every issue of everything. The great thing about it was that it knew how to talk to its audience. It treated superheroes with equal amounts of reverence and humour.
Long before every blog made ridiculous lists to attract readers Wizard had cornered the market! They had lists for everything: Best villains, funniest comics, best cartoons, and most important moments in comic book history. It was lists like that last one that got me to expand my horizons. Instead of just sticking with the X-Men and all of their various spinoffs, I read Watchmen and Sandman. I checked out Top Ten and Preacher because of it. I was introduced to the work of Warren Ellis and Mark Millar. It shared secret easter eggs about character creations, like the fact that Nightcrawler had originally been designed by Dave Cockrum for the Legion of Superheroes (a DC comic).
I can’t undersell how important that magazine was in my development as a comics reader and enthusiast. Unfortunately, the magazine lost its way. After about two-hundred issues, it started to lose steam, and drop in sales. It lost its sense of humour, and tried to market itself as more of a general geek magazine. It stopped doing interesting articles, and instead just became a big advertisement for all things nerd. It felt like I was paying to be advertised too. And, I guess in a way that’s what most entertainment industry magazines do, but most hide it a little better. Or at least include reviews of some sort. Where it finally lost me was when they started to have pages devoted to how great their own conventions were. It all seemed just so desperate.
Now they’ve relaunched entirely on the web. I checked it out for the first time in honour of this article. Instead of adapting to the times, Wizard has decided to continue publishing a magazine except now it’s digital. So, instead of being easily searchable and linkable, you have to know the specific issue an article you want is in. That’s all well and good for a paper and ink thing that you can dispose of without a second thought. But, in a digital medium where you’re competing with all the other excellent comic book websites that already exist, wouldn’t it make sense to keep everything easily accessible as possible? On top of that, the main site is still one big desperate ad for the Wizard World comic book conventions. It’s a sad end for a magazine that was once a cornerstone of the industry.