Newsarama reports what we’ve been hearing all morning: Wizard World is canceling their Los Angeles and Dallas shows.

WizardWorld LA was scheduled for March 13-15 at the Los Angeles Convention Center; and Dallas for November 6-8. Newsarama confirmed the information about the L.A. show early Friday afernoon when a spokesperson for the L.A. Convention Center said that they that had been notified via voicemail on Friday morning that Wizard was canceling its show. Other sources have confirmed for Newsarama that the Texas show has been cancelled as well.

The move will halve Wizard’s convention schedule, leaving only Philadelphia on June 19-21 and Chicago, on August 6-9.

Wizard’s Dallas show is said to have lost money last year, and the LA show remained problematic for years due to lowered local attendance, sometimes due to factors outside Wizard’s control such as Marathon scheduling and so on. However, the 2009 show has already advertised guests and a number of tickets and booths had already been sold.

The move leaves Wizard with two shows: Wizard World Chicago and Wizard World Philadelphia.

The cancellations are the first real signs of effects of the softening economy on comics, although we’ve been hearing bits and pieces of layoffs and lessened hours at a few other places.

 

UPDATE: Wizard has released an official statement indicating that WWLA is only postponed, but no new date was revealed.

Wizard Entertainment announced today that it has postponed its 2009 Wizard World Los Angeles show slated for March 13-15 and cancelled the Wizard World Texas show November 6-8 due to the current economic climate.

The successful Philadelphia and Chicago shows will go on as planned. Wizard World Philadelphia, featuring Guest of Honor Garth Ennis, is June 19-21 at the Philadelphia Convention Center and Wizard World Chicago, featuring comic legend George Perez, is August 6-9 at the Rosemont Convention Center.

For tickets and more information about Wizard World Philadelphia and Chicago, be sure to visit www.wizarduniverse.com.

1 COMMENT

  1. While the economy might be part of this, there’s been talk for how long now about how much Wizard was sucking at running these conventions. Not a big surprise. They always felt kind of amateurish.

  2. The cancellations don’t surprise me so much as the timing, specifically the timing of canceling WWLA — with only two months’ notice.

    I went the last two years, and actually enjoyed the relatively low-crowd con. Other people complained that it was “dead,” but for me it was a nice change of pace from San Diego.

    One problem I think WWLA had this year was the scheduling, only two weeks after WonderCon. Admittedly San Francisco is a full day’s drive away (maybe a half day if you get up really early and avoid getting caught in traffic), but it’s close enough to draw from the same overall west coast audience.

  3. Wizard finally updated their site:

    Wizard Entertainment announced today that it has postponed its 2009 Wizard World Los Angeles show slated for March 13-15 and cancelled the Wizard World Texas show November 6-8 due to the current economic climate.

    Interesting: WWLA has been “postponed” while WWTX has been “cancelled.”

  4. Saying that the WWTX cancellation has anything to do with the current economic climate is like saying that the success of Dark Knight is a direct result of the popularity of dogs in movies. In other words, virtually nothing. The show is at the wrong time of the year, in a part of the country without a condensed population like other shows. The guest list was often unexciting, and the exhibit hall unremarkable. The economy in the Dallas has been remarkably solid over the last several months, running counter to the nationwide trend. To blame the show’s cancellation on the economy is lazy, at best.

  5. Heya David,
    I think the population of DFW is spread out over an area that is larger than all the countries you names combined. Maybe. :)

    It isn’t that there are not people here, it is that we’re really really spread out with no mass transit. Does *anyone* live within walking distance of the Arlington Convention Center, besides the occasional homeless guy? Where is the mass transit that gets people from around the metroplex to the ACC?

    In other words, the only people who will come to WWTX are the hardcore fans who make a day of it. I’ve been told other major cons get some amount of casual traffic. There is no casual traffic out in Arlington, yet.

  6. The Philadlephia show last year was my first convention. Can’t say I was very impressed. And then I read that it was “horribly attended” so I took some solace out of knowing my first con wasn’t a very typical one.

    Lou Ferrigno sat by himself for most of the show…so for his sake alone I hope it was unusually bad!

  7. Very disappointing. I attended the WWTexas show every year and had a great time. It was a great show with excellent comic guests (not always great media guests) good deals, and great WW school panels.

    2008 looked like a successful con, to me. The dealers told me they were doing well. The attached Texas FearFest seemed like a complete failure, though. Their exhibition room was empty, every time I took a peek.

  8. The assumption that the cancellation of these two minor conventions is a statement on the economy’s effect on the comic book industry is way off the mark. Wizard, like all magazine companies, has suffered a decline in readership for years. Less readers means lower ad rates to charge advertisers. Magazines get a majority of their revenue from ads, so lower rates mean less money for the magazine and, in this case, its side projects. So I would argue that the cancellation of these two conventions has more to do with the declining interest in traditional media (magazines and newspapers) as readers go elsewhere to get their news (the Internet).

  9. “So I would argue that the cancellation of these two conventions has more to do with the declining interest in traditional media (magazines and newspapers) as readers go elsewhere to get their news (the Internet). ”

    Well, you’d probably be wrong, since it shows a general decline in interest towards Wizard and its shows.

  10. I am surprised Wizard is still around. They are like a newspaper in many ways. By the time their news is out, it’s already ancient history. The clock is just ticking away. They will have to come up with some real magic this year to stay afloat. The more selective collectors become with their money means less for magazines like Wizard. The Net has all the info they need for free, the Wiz had a good ride, time to join Comics Scene and go into that gentle night of discontinued magazines. The Wizard doesn’t compare to The Comics Journal. With less advertising, TCJ is a real deal, a true magazine of all the comic industry. Not just the glamor boys of both DC and Marvel. Wizard was always one sided. Blogs such as this is where you get the real news. Power to the people.

  11. I hate to see any conventions go away…I love the idea of meeting fans and talking shop, but i do know the dallas comic con is a wonderful show run by awesome people and that should fill a sort of gap there. as far as los angeles, arent there a lot of cons in that area year round?

  12. Will Wizard be canceling their conventions in Libya, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Jordan, Sierre Leone, Laos, and Nicaragua too?

  13. Wizard magazine needs to somehow recharge themselves, because as a magazine it doesn’t have anything that sites like Newsarama offer for free with more content. If Wizard didn’t bag every one of their issues they would cetainly sell even way less than they presently do. The newest Wizard does have a great profile on Chris Ware though.

  14. In this new reality we all find ourselves in, even the best managed media conglomerates find themselves incredibly challenged. Um, Wizard isn’t one of those.

  15. Everyone who’s blaming the magazine for the failure of conventions is so off base it’s crazy. I’m not saying the magazine is killing it in sales compared to the rest of print media or any other such nonsense, but those two units of that company work in totally different ways and for a while with totally different staffs. In the end, all the arm-chair quarterbacking in the world won’t make anyone’s claims to understand “how to fix Wizard” any smarter or more helpful.

  16. Everyone who’s blaming the magazine for the failure of conventions is so off base it’s crazy. I’m not saying the magazine is killing it in sales compared to the rest of print media or any other such nonsense, but those two units of that company work in totally different ways and for a while with totally different staffs. In the end, all the arm-chair quarterbacking in the world won’t make anyone’s claims to understand “how to fix Wizard” any smarter or more helpful.

  17. I’ve attended the NYCC and the Wizard Philly con over the last few years, and will say the organization and guest list and professional courses at NYCC has been soup to nuts better than the Wizard con, particularly last year.

    For NYCC, I had a preprinted grid of all the programming, an artist alley grid, map of the exhibit space, special program schedule (and a free librarian badge as a professional attendee).

    For Wizard Philly, the website was a eye-lemon of big pictures and flashing things, but even right up until the week before, the programming and guest list was not posted. Van Sciver, Morales, and a few Marvel heavy hitters were there, but overall, disappointing from the attendance, programs, and indie creator sales standpoint.

    That said, I’ll probably go again to Wizard Philly again, just to catch up with friends…

  18. Yes the two businesses are run separately but both report in to the same person.

    Also, the prestige of being a guest at a ww con is effected by the magazine’s clout, which has precipitously diminished over time.

    That said, like all print media who are moving over to web, wizard is finding that it still pays to print, as the advertising dollars are still much greater. It also can’t compete with news outlets like newsarama because wizard has relationships with publishers like marvel and DC and if its screws them by either breaking a story the wrong way or trashing them in editorial they will suffer financially from a frayed relationship.

    the only way to win is to go back to their roots. They were responsible for helping fledgling publishing houses like image and valiant get off the ground. Ditch the majors and get back to bringing quality indie comics to the mainstream. they might even be able to use their clout to become power brokers for comic deals with hollywood and the video game industry.

    ~free advise Garub

  19. I am sorry to see the Texas show going away. I attended each year and always had a good time. I do think its sad that DFW won’t have a major comic convention going forward.