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Friday, August 18 2017 10:35

Wizard Magazine is Attempting a Comeback...

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They say that “Nothing stays dead in comics,” and that's exactly how the folks at Wizard World led off the announcement that they're getting back into the editorial fold with a "digital re-imagination, re-conception and re-launch of Wizard, as part of a new digital initiative which includes WizPop, a daily pop-culture news service reporting on the biggest stories of the day in pop-culture, entertainment, and fandom." Set to officially relaunch at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago (August 24-27, 2017), they say that "plans are in the works to return to publishing Wizard as a premium quarterly magazine." Magazines are a hard thing to relaunch in either print or digital, and that's something I have a little experience with myself.

Wizard Magazine ran from 1991-2011 and was a regular read for me. In fact, it actually replaced the late COMICS SCENE (published by Starlog Group off-and-on from '82-'96) as my go-to for comics and pop culture news. Along with it's companion publication, ToyFare, Wizard was something to look forward to on the racks at Borders... which is also gone.

After shuttering their print mags to focus on the popular Wizard World convention series, they did try a digital version at one point (albeit under former ownership and leadership) that was short-lived.

For the 2017 relaunch, Brian Waltonthe former Editor in Chief of Nerdist will serve as Editor-In-Chief of Wizard in addition to his role as Director of Content for Wizard World. Luke Y. Thompson, formerly of Nerdist, Topless Robot, Deadline, and OC Weekly, will serve Wizard World as Associate Editor.

Wizard is promising the return of popular magazine columns, each revived as web and video features. While I'll be paying attention and wishing them the best, as I mentioned before - these revivals are tricky, and their team needs proper creative and financial backing to make them work.

Not long before Wizard and ToyFare shuttered, I took a short-lived gig as Director of New Media with the then-new owners of the remains of the former Starlog Group publishing empire. The digital transition was not kind to those legacy brands, and after Starlog shuttered its print mag, Fangoria was all that was left, limping along until ending its print run in 2015.

Here's hoping Wizard can be successful again. A "premium quarterly magazine" is a fun idea, but outside of comic shops, there's not a lot of places to sell such a thing to a mass audience anymore.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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