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.
DC and Marvel are taking their big news to Wizard? When was the last time something big was announced in Wizard? Marvel seems to be taking all their big news stories to the mainstream media. Spider-Man being unmasked in CIVIL WAR was taken to the New York Post. The same with Captain America getting killed off.ReplyDelete
If something big is going to happen in the world of comics, I expect hear about it in the mainstream media, or from the various comic book websites. I wouldn’t expect to read about it in a monthly magazine.
Wizard magazine has always been a men’s magazine. Echo Media shows that 90% of Wizard readers are male and that the average reader is 21 – 34 years old. I don’t understand why anybody would read Wizard. Not because it’s sexist, but because it’s old. By the time it appears in the magazine, its old news. Chances are if it’s in Wizard, I read about it weeks or even months earlier online.
See, I'm with you on this. The few times I've picked up Wizard, I've wanted to A) renamed it after our incontinent's cat's nickname, Mr. Whizzer, and B) take a really hot shower with extra soap after. It bothered me to the max to have comics news tucked in with things like "Name that Rack." I also remember, all too vividly, the Wizard-imprimatured drawing guidelines that came out earlier this year.
There are other ways to get our news, and much more intellectually satisfying, humorous, satiric, and all-around entertaining ways to read about comics and get our news. The fact that they were in print doesn't impress me--there are other comix mags that don't make me feel nearly so dirty for buying one. And I used to read Hustler, back in the day--my skin's pretty thick.
Good riddance. Let them compete in the far more sophisticated men's magazine arena. They're going to leak market share like an empty net.
"Don't you see this is the last act of a desparate man?"
"I don't care if it's the last act of Henry the Fifth--I'm leaving!"
Apparently, Wizard has also lost a lot of people lately, such as editors and such, which may be why they are flailing around now. I admit that I used to like some of the articles and such, although the humor was always on the sophomoric side. Lately however, it covers a bunch of crap that I don't give two hoots for, so pooh on them.ReplyDelete
Okay, so you want to take shots at a magazine you don't like, and haven't read since high school. Great. I have no qualms with that, and really, I'm in no way prepared to say anything nice about Wizard.ReplyDelete
But I do take issue with your little pot-shot at men:
"[...]decided to go beyond the comics-reading community to pander to the lowest common (male) denominator everywhere[...]"
You can probably argue grammar about this statement, but the impression you gave is that men are the LCD. Thanks for that.
What I left thinking after having read your piece was "A magazine you already weren't reading did something you didn't agree with, and most men are pigs."
As a male comic book fan, it was like toothpaste and orange juice to me, just bad taste.
"They looked at the results of the surveys and realized they would need to change things they didn't wish to."ReplyDelete
I really think that it was more in line that they looked at the surveys and realized that most girls don't read comics and that the girls that do have such widely varying tastes and preferences, that targeting them wouldn't make any sense.
You can beat up Wizard all you want, but if their sales are down, it doesn't make any sense for them to try to go the PC route and make everything grrrl-friendly. When has that strategy ever been a big time sales boost?
Face it, most girls don't read comics. Therefore, most comics aren't written for girls. You can play "chicken or egg" with that all you want, but it's a fact either way. Sure, there's enough comics being published now, that you would think more should focus on the relatively small niche of female comic readers, but you can't charge really charge Wizard with sexism for simply trying to (over)indulge their core audience.
I'm no expert, but I would think that it would make better long-term business sense to remain an exclusive or almost exclusive comics magazine. Yes, comics are a limited (and shrinking) niche market, but the "old" Wizard's competition was much more limited and, despite the well-deserved controversies over their image, they had a very well-established name. By expanding into the much wider market of men's magazines, Wizard is forfeiting both advantages and is risking the loss of the original core sub-culture readership while failing to lure away readers from their new, established competitors.ReplyDelete
I guess one can argue that, since comics is tied up with so many other sub-cultures and media, it's not that dangerous a transition. Still, I really do think that the safer long-term choice for Wizard would have been expanding its comics base, rather than reaching outside of it. And certainly, trite complaints of "Political Correctness" aside, it would have helped Wizard - and the comics industry too, I believe - to have at least toned down its "boys only", frat-esque image. But businesses aren't usually known for thinking of profits one year down the road, much less five to ten years in the future.
Of course, most men don't read comics either.ReplyDelete
We're a niche market.
wow, people who don't read a magazine, criticizing changes to said magazine. How relevant!ReplyDelete
Oops. Sorry "Evan". I meant to say that the vast majority of comic book readers are male and, therefore, not female. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Next time, I'll just draw you a picture.ReplyDelete
"but you can't charge really charge Wizard with sexism for simply trying to (over)indulge their core audience."ReplyDelete
That makes sense, in the same way that saying, "Hey, you can't say that the KKK is a racist organization just because their members are racist! The KKK just does things to appeal to their membership!" would make sense.
Sexist people will be sexist people, but there's no reason to indulge them and encourage their sexism. I seriously doubt that many people are buying Wizard thinking, "Man, I can't wait to read a boobie joke."
That said, I'm still trying to figure out whether the author meant that all men are inherently the lowest common denominator or that "men's magazines" tend to target the LCD of men. (As written, it reads like the former.)
Wow...just 10 comments until we got the Wizard = KKK blast. I love internet polemics. Why didn't you also include a Hitler reference while you were at it?ReplyDelete
So, I guess we're now in favor of pulling any magazine from the stands that doesn't cater to both genders. Goodbye, Maxim & FHM...oh, and Cosmo, Vogue, Vanity Fair, People, Oprah, Soap Opera Digest...
Nobody has said anything about pulling ANYTHING from the stands.ReplyDelete
What's being expressed is disappointment that the most prominent and widespread publication dealing with the comics industry now has a label saying "for men only".
If it were a case of someone starting a separate magazine called "Boys' Comic News", I don't think it'd get half as much attention.
That's a pretty specious non-response. I wasn't comparing, and wouldn't compare, Wizard to the KKK, I was comparing two statements which are equally ridiculous, one which somebody made and one which is hypothetical and which nobody would ever say.ReplyDelete
But you are right, in as much as I should have let the absurdity of "Wizard is not sexist just because they are deliberately including sexist content in order to try to appeal to sexist people" stand on it's own. It's utterly ridiculous, and needs no explanation why.
"So, I guess we're now in favor of pulling any magazine from the stands that doesn't cater to both genders."
If you honestly believe that there is no way to cater to one gender without insulting the other gender, you're beyond hope.
insulting or dismissing, that should be (I guess if I don't want to create an account, I can't edit my old posts).ReplyDelete
Point being, you can make something appeal to men without writing off women, but you can also make something which appeals to men by putting down women. The latter, I personally find to be unneccessarily divisive. Obviously, you disagree, assumably because you're an idiot.
"Why didn't you also include a Hitler reference while you were at it?"ReplyDelete
Hitler is not an organzation; the statement was that an organization isn't sexist just because it is openly choosing to espouse sexism in the hope of appealing to sexist people who are already interested in the organization.
But it could be considered comprable to saying that the Nazis weren't anti-semitic, they were just trying to boost the German economy by giving people a common enemy to unite against, another statement which is prima facie absurd.
Obviously, you can't compare Wizard to the KKK or the Nazis, because there are people who are interested in Wizard for non-sexist reasons. (It's just that, the more sexist they get, the less people like that there are.) But the statements are all equally absurd.
"I really think that it was more in line that they looked at the surveys and realized that most girls don't read comics"ReplyDelete
I would love to hear you explain how they can look at surveys directed at female comic readers, given exclusively to females who read comics, and conclude that.
Also, they're actually called "women". (Unless you like 'em young.)
"and that the girls that do have such widely varying tastes and preferences, that targeting them wouldn't make any sense."
The implication being that men don't have varied tastes and preferences?
"You can beat up Wizard all you want, but if their sales are down, it doesn't make any sense for them to try to go the PC route and make everything grrrl-friendly. When has that strategy ever been a big time sales boost?"
I think the point is to make it less aggressively misogynistic, not to make it grrrl-friendly at the expense of guys [it's not either/or; you can be friendly to both, or friendly to one without being unfriendly to the other]. I would say that, contrary to your idiocy, deliberately cutting yourself off from all women would seem to be a poor long-term sales strategy. (And not just because, statistically, women buy more magazines than men.)
"Face it, most girls don't read comics. Therefore, most comics aren't written for girls. You can play "chicken or egg" with that all you want, but it's a fact either way."
It is a fact, but it is a non sequitur fact, because we're talking about the fact that the magazine announced that it is moving past *just* discussing comic books, into the realm of open misogyny.
"Sure, there's enough comics being published now, that you would think more should focus on the relatively small niche of female comic readers,"
That small niche is responsible for Buffy regularly out-selling 'X-Men'.
"but you can't charge really charge Wizard with sexism for simply trying to (over)indulge their core audience."
So you're saying that targetting the "small niche" which is female comic readers is stupid, but targetting the small niche of openly aggressively misogynistic comic readers is good business sense?
Well, to that I would argue very, very strongly that, unlike you, the majority of male comic readers are not misogynistic (even though they tacitly support some misogyny by not speaking out stronger against misogyny in comics).
Wow, I love how my "you can't charge really charge Wizard with sexism for simply trying to (over)indulge their core audience." - was changed to - "Wizard is not sexist just because they are deliberately including sexist content in order to try to appeal to sexist people".ReplyDelete
This is an important lesson for anyone on the vast blogosphere - if your argument is shit, just change what the other person said...then call them an idiot.
That's one hell of a method of discourse you have there. Would you mind dropping your playground rhetoric for a minute and giving me some examples of this sexism in Wizard which I am apparently defending to the point of being a "misogynist"?
I mean, I thought that we were talking about a subtitle indicating that it was "for Men". Is this the sexism we are talking about? It must be, because the only other example I can find listed in the article is "round shiny breasts next to every paragraph", which I assume is a joke, since I don't recall that from the issues I have seen in the past. Please give me examples of the type of sexism that they distribute. Do they, for example, refer to females as the lowest common denominator?
On second thought, never mind. I really don't care about this anymore.
Not for nothin', but I'm pretty sure that she is talking about the lowest common male denominator, which is to say, the lowest common denominator among men, as opposed to the population as a whole. It could be phrased more clearly, sure, but if folks would read a little more carefully before flying off the handle, maybe the internet wouldn't be... well, the internet, I guess.ReplyDelete
My LCS is also a gaming store, therefore they have a lot of tables and chairs. Every week, we sit around and chat about comics. This week, there were 6 of us who looked through Wizard. Unfortunately for Wizard, all of us looked at the same copy.ReplyDelete
I seldom read Wizard. They don't in any way represent intelligent comic book readers. I only looked at this week's issue because it was open. That is the only time this year. I mention this solely to illustrate that their content is pretty much worthless.
As to the postal rate changes that have been proposed (or already passed), the link states the most important part---Time Warner was brought in at the Federal level and re-wrote the rules. Imagine that. A corporation writing the laws.ReplyDelete
Finally, even though I post as anonymous, I always sign my name at the bottom.
I go on break for one week and look what happens...
I can't say that I'm the least bit shocked or surprised. I mean, Wizard World always had the highest concentration of booth babes of any Con I've ever been to.
For godsake... look at all their advertising for Wizard World Texas and what they promote - the actress who plays Supergirl on Smallville merits more attention than a legend like Bill Sienkiewicz.
Ok, other than Mr. Coil can anyone figure out how many other Anon posters that was? Cmon people, even if you're like me and don't want your real name pasted all over the place, pick a handle so we can at least distinguish you from the crowd...ReplyDelete
Careful Sean, I would be hesitant to say calling a magazine "For Men" is enough to label them misogynistic.ReplyDelete
"the magazine announced that it is moving past *just* discussing comic books, into the realm of open misogyny."
I think you'd need to show more examples than just a header to demonstrate a hatred of women. I'm not saying that they're not there, but I'd try to back that up with more than just a "for Men" label.
And labeling something "for whites only," "for straights only," or "no Irish need apply" isn't a sign of hate, either, by Scott!Logic.ReplyDelete
Well now you're getting into semantics of wording, so I must remind you that Wizard is calling itself a "Men's pop culture magazine" as opposed to "The magazine for men's eyes only."ReplyDelete
Okay, how about we change it right to "white's pop culture magazine" then? And then included a close-up thingy called "guess the terrorist" with pictures of close-ups of turbans or beards.ReplyDelete
That statement on the front of any magazine would be considered both absurd and racist, as would similar content. Any outcry from Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian etc people would be quite understandable.
And yet, when it's "men's pop culture magazine" with "match the rack" it's not sexist?
By the by, I am NOT equating racism with sexism here, just trying to illustrate a point vis-a-vis the ridiculousness of saying that there is nothing sexist about Wizard.
Calling them misogynist may be a stretch. Calling them sexist seems pretty much dead-on. And, really, isn't that better? Wizard: The Sexist Comics Magazine? Man, that sounds awesome. Don't leave it out where your mom might see it, though -- something like that might really piss her off!ReplyDelete
Yeah. I guess this move shows more contempt towards women then outright hatred.ReplyDelete
NOTE: I am not one of the other Anonymouses.
"Okay, how about we change it right to "white's pop culture magazine" then?... That statement on the front of any magazine would be considered both absurd and racist"ReplyDelete
It would be considered aburd and racist because it focused on one race over another... or because it was about white people? What about a black pop culture magazine? I bought my house from a black couple and for a few months I would get the odd bit of mail intended for them, which I mailed to their new address. I got just such a magazine. Black issues. Black music. Black culture. Oh, and it was a black man's magazine. Said so right on the front. I didn't look inside but I doubt they were lying. Racist AND sexist. Horror of horrors. Ready to protest yet?
Making a magazine dedicated to men's interests is not sexist, anymore than a music magazine is discriminating against classical music fans by making heavy metal their focus.
And "guess a rack," while not terribly high brow, isn't anymore sexist than a Cosmopolitan(which has "the #1 women's magazine" right on the cover) article about "why guys do the annoying stuff they do." Like not changing the sheets or leaving dirty socks on the floor. Don't see any of yous beating a math to Cosmo's door to protest their blatant stereotyping of men as sloppy pigs.