On Fandom: Historical Snapshots

By | Friday, February 28, 2014 3 comments
I was never a big fan of Wizard Magazine. I picked up an issue or two, but it didn't seem to have anything I was especially interested in and I largely ignored it for most of its run.

The magazine debuted in 1991, when I was in college. My disposable income was pretty limited, so I focused on getting the few comics I could afford. So I didn't really take a look at it until it had a few years under its belt, and by then it had pretty well knocked all of its competitors off the market. And while I taken up a full time job (with the requesite increase in disposable income!) I had also gotten access to the world wide web, and any sort of news-type magazine seemed date to me even then. They had previews of books I'd already read about, creator change-ups were long-since confirmed or debunked, and even the snark/comedy was well-trod territory in various message boards. Just by the nature of printing a monthly magazine, they had very little that wasn't already out of date by the time an issue hit the stands.

I have a cousin, though, who did buy the magazine pretty regularly starting around 1995 and ending a decade later. And, of course, being a comic collector, he held on to every issue. A couple years after he stopped getting them, he offered them to me. (Mainly at the insistance of his mother, I think, who was trying to clear out her basement.) Which I happily accepted with the intent of using them for fandom research. Each issue provides a snapshot of not only what was going on in the comics industry, but how fans reacted and felt. It was barometer of comic fandom for twenty years.

(Weird aside: I just realized that I have now had about half of these issues in my possession longer than my cousin had them.)

Having recently gotten my comics library set up, I took some time to organize all my comics magazine. I've got a smattering of Comic Book Marketplace, CBG, Heroes Illustrated, etc. plus a good collection of Alter Ego but the ten years of Wizards outnumbers everything else combined. And while I haven't read the vast majority of them, I have pulled an occasional issue out while researching various projects.

And you know, they work exactly in the way that I had hoped. They stand as time capsules for whatever was going on in and around the industry at the time. I chose not to buy them originally because they had old news, and yet it's old news that is precisely why they hold value now.
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Matt K said...

"Who knows, Wizard Magazine? In 20 years even YOU may be worth something!" :-)

G. Kendall said...

It's amazing that Wizard was so quickly forgotten. There's no kind of archive of Wizard at all online, even though there's a lot of material in there that I'm sure people would like to see again.

KP said...

I highly doubt there's anyone who works at Wizard the convention company as it currently stands who knows where the digital archives of the magazine are let alone who would be interested in making that stuff available. It's a shame. There have been some nice long form features and interviews that ran in the magazine over the years that I'm sure modern comics folks would dig. Ah well.