The Gift Of Wizard

By | Saturday, September 29, 2007 Leave a Comment
My aunt and uncle, who live about an hour away, invited me up today for a general dinner/get-together thing. My one one cousin was going to be there with his wife and son, and my other cousin was going to stop by later on. It's been a little over a year since I'd seen any of them, so it was good to get up there and catch up.

While I was up there, in general chit-chat, it was brought up that my aunt and uncle are trying to clear out their basement. I don't think I've actually been down there since they bought the house over 15 years ago, but I understand it's been almost exclusively treated as a warehouse of storage boxes. Up to and including stuff that got packed away when they last moved and has yet to be unpacked! Not all of these boxes, mind you, are strictly my aunt and uncle's. Both of their sons have been using it for storage as well and now that they're both out living on their own relatively close-by, my aunt's starting to get their butts in gear to remove/unload/do-something-else-with all of their stuff.

Knowing that I'm a devout comic fan, my aunt noted that she thought that my one cousin had a box of Wizard magazines and asked if I might be interested in them. My cousin went down to fetch the box, and my aunt said, "That's not the one I was talking about."

"What? This is my box of old Wizards."

So she goes down with him and finds another box that he had evidently forgotten about. (She never even having known about the first one!) I start scanning through them and they were generally in okay shape. Clearly well-read and some were dog-eared, but still useable, if not in really a collectible condition. I haven't gone through the whole stack too carefully yet, but it looks like just about every issue from the late 1990s until around mid-2005, plus a handful of assorted mid-90s issues. I said thanks and loaded them into my car.

Now, you may be asking yourself why I would take a decade's worth of old Wizard magazines. In the first place, I was never a big fan of the book. In the second place, I'm really no longer a fan of the mainstream stuff they generally cover. In the third place, it's a news/gossip magazine and older issues are clearly going to be providing out-of-date information. In the fourth place, they're not in good enough shape to really sell or do anything with.

Valid points, all.

The reason why I took them was academic in nature. The magazine, while not my cup of tea, has just about always been fairly well in-tune with your average superhero fanboy. They have provided the "hot" industry news for quite some time now, and have pushed out competitors like Amazing Heroes and Comics Spotlight by catering to the broad base of superhero fans. I've seen more than a few people talk as if "Wizard readers" and "fanboys" were the exact same group. Regardless of what you think of the mag, they have kept their finger on the pulse of the largest comic book purchasing group for essentially their entire history.

What that means to me is that a nearly-ten-year run of the magazine will provide a means by which I can examine the trends of the comic buying public over an extended period. I'm not so much interested in the hot creators or popular characters, but more the overall tone and attitudes of the fans. The letters pages, the editorials, the overall tone of the content.

I don't know when I'll really get a chance to actually read all of these books, but that's what I'm planning to look at whenever I finally get around to it.
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