With WIZARD magazine seeking a new editor-in-chief — and presumably a new direction — after firing the previous head honcho, internet commentators are taking a crack at what THEY would do if they ran the magazine about comics. Augie De Blieck Jr. has a long run down:
A print publication has its strengths and its weaknesses. It will never be as timely as the web. It will, however, be more portable. It will keep your attention longer than a website, but it still has to be interesting.
First and foremost, the Wizard website and the WIZARD Magazine have to work together. Hot breaking news items go into the website, which will need a major Web 2.0 redesign to stand out from the crowd. (Seriously, it’s an embarrassment right now. Those Newsarama and CBR sites haven’t been updated in this millennium and they look two generations ahead of WizardUniverse.com.) Everything else can go into the magazine.
Feature-length interviews work best in print, not on the web. The longer your article or interview appears on a web page, the less readers you have for it. The more pages you make them click through, the quicker they’ll move onto some other page. With a printed magazine, you have more leeway to print a looooong interview across many pages and keep the audience. Sure, illustrate it profusely to keep it visually appealing, but let it ramble on a bit more.
Mark Bernadin, who works for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, a real-type magazine, comments at his blog:
Wizard should aim to be the Sports Illustrated of comics. Bet you thought I was gonna say EW, right? No, our focus is too wide. SI, on the other hand, is all about sport, in every possible permutation. You get the meat-and-potatoes coverage you’re expecting, of the NFL or the NBA or the or MLB or the PGA, but you still get stories about up-and-coming atheletes, veterans, sports you never thought were sports (spelunking, anyone?), and breaking news about sport (steroids, gambling, sex-offender high-school coaches, etc.). You get everything you could possibly want, as a sport fan: something about that particular sport you’re interested in, something about sports you might not be, and a “deep dive” into a surprising arena you hadn’t thought of.
A thread at The Engine turns into a free-for-all with Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction and James Owen, among others jumping in.
What do we think? Owen makes some good points about advertising and rate base and so on. It pains us to say it, old magazine hand that we are, but print is problematic these days. Circulation and ad revenue are generally in decline or static. A category will come along — lad mags, shelter, gossip — that sparks things up, but in general it’s a very iffy time. Not that the internet is making tons of money, although ad revenue is growing rapidly. We don’t have time to find the actual statistics to back all this up — it’s more of a feeling, based on the sad looks that most magazine ad sales people we know get when we talk about revenues.
Anyway, back to Wizard — they face all the problems of other magazines, along with the fact that a lot of comics publishers STILL don’t have ad budgets. To be honest we haven’t picked up a copy of Wizard in a while, so we have no idea how soft the video game, toy and entertainment ad business has grown. On the plus side, Wizard has a strong brand and a vibrant subject matter. But what to do to get readers and advertisers back? Jessica Alba’s perky tits can’t solve everything, alas. But what do we know…we just blog.