Now we know.
Cheryl Lynn has the missing piece of the puzzle:
And why the hell did Wizard reps approach female fans and ask them to fill out surveys at conventions this summer? Why ask us to participate and then slam the door in our faces?
Its not hard to arrive at a working hypothesis here: Sales were falling. They needed a way to bring them up. They could expand beyond comics or try to capture more of the comics-buying community. They explored the option of opening to a wider comics-reading audience and surveyed female convention-goers.
They looked at the results of the surveys and realized they would need to change things they didn't wish to. Maybe they were just too chickenshit to risk a change, or had no faith that the male audience would be willing to read news and views without round shiny breasts next to every paragraph, or maybe they just didn't care enough to make the effort.
So they went and decided to go beyond the comics-reading community to pander to the lowest common (male) denominator everywhere so they wouldn't have to be a magazine for everyone who reads comics. Just men who have interest in comics-related things.
Which is their prerogative. From a business sense, it'll probably work. The less insular they are to the comics community, the better they'll do overall.
I'm not mad, though. I haven't read them since High School. Fuck 'em. We have Comic Foundry as a print magazine for everyone. We have online sources for news. We have blogs for commentary.
With any luck, this means in a few years we'll be rid of them. They'll have to do more movies and television to appeal to a wider base. The comics content won't be so central to the magazine anymore. The companies will have to put more into the other sources, just for lack of room.
Its just so depressing that right now DC and Marvel are taking their big news to an officially gendered source -- and they are still, we all know they are and will for a long time to come. Wizard'll still be considered the major industry mag for too damned long yet.
Would be nice if we could get a print version of Sequential Tart or something similar out there, but it takes a long time and a lot of resources for a feminist magazine to get off the ground, and a long time and a lot of resources for a comics magazine to get off the ground. A magazine that's both has its work cut out for it. (The postal service is not making things any easier right now.) It'll take a while to get anything like that organized and even after its all together it'll take a while to get out to most of the public. I mean, how often do you see an issue of UVC? [Link has sound.] You need to dig it out and request it to get hold of it most places.