Though nothing official has come through from Wizard or owner Gareb Shamus, there are multiple reports, including Bleeding Cool, saying the magazine has shuttered.
Our own calls to Wizard’s listed public relations phone number go unanswered, and their “bullpen website” is down, listed as under maintenance mode. The Subscriptions page on WizardUniverse.com gives a 404 error as well.
Johnston speculates ToyFare and the multitude of Wizard conventions will continue on. Shamus has come under heavy fire in the last several years, with reports of non-payment of freelancers, mail fraud from the Wizard store, and hefty layoffs, all while purchasing more comic book conventions in his own name.
We’ve just received a Press Release from Gareb Shamus announcing his intent to launch a digital magazine called “Wizard World” in February 2011, and a 12-city convention tour. While there’s no explicit mention of the print magazine in the release, this serves as functional confirmation of the print monthly’s end. Full Press Release follows:
GAREB SHAMUS UNDERTAKES PUBLIC COMPANY WIZARD WORLD, INC. AND LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE PUBLICATION ‘WIZARD WORLD’
New York, NY (January 24, 2011) – Gareb Shamus, recently appointed President and CEO of public company Wizard World, Inc. (“Wizard World”) (OTC: GOEE.PK), today announced that the Comic Con Tour, which consists of pop culture conference events that provide high visibility marketing opportunities to pop culture brands and companies in multiple venues throughout the year, is now being produced by public company Wizard World. The Wizard World Comic Con Tour intends to cover 12 cities in 2011, including major cities such as New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin and New Orleans. The Tour will include sponsors ranging from major movie studios and TV networks to gaming and toy companies to content publishers.
In addition, Wizard World plans to launch in February 2011 an all-new digital magazine called ‘Wizard World’ that will appeal to pop-culture fans, the same audience to which Mr. Shamus has catered to, for over 20 years. Wizard World digital magazine will provide coverage of the world of comic books, toys and superheroes, and the personalities behind them.
“This is a very exciting day for Wizard World and the industries it serves,” said Shamus. “Having the Tour produced by a public company provides additional opportunities to expand and grow the Tour. The new digital magazine Wizard World will give consumers the content they want in a magazine format with which they are familiar, but distributed in a form that is always available at any time on any device. It is a natural evolution for us in this market.”
Wizard World Comic Con will begin its North American tour at New Orleans Comic Con held from January 29 to 30, 2011. The full event schedule can be found at www.wizardworld.com.
Albert here. Just got an e-mail from Jerry Milani at Wizard World PR, confirming that ToyFare is also ending publication:
Wizard Entertainment is ceasing publication of the print magazines Wizard and ToyFare. Wizard World, Inc. will begin production of the online publication “Wizard World” beginning in February. We feel this will allow us to reach an even wider audience in a format that is increasingly popular and more readily accessible.