Monday, May 5, 2008
Taking A Wiz
Last week marked the end of an era.
It was over a long, long time ago but after seeing what I saw last week, it came to a complete and utter end.
Wizard, somehow, reached its 200th issue and to celebrate, did a "200 Greatest Characters" list.
So, who came in at number one? Was it the character who started a whole new genre, Superman?
Was it the character who gave the genre legs, Batman or the character who revitalized the genre after some twenty years of stagnation, Spider-Man?
Oh, God... no.
No, you read that right.
Did we all take the WABAC Machine to 1993? Where's Mr. Peabody? Where's His Boy, Sherman?
What was the justification? Spider-Man, Batman and Superman live in a world of "black and white, definitive right and wrong. Wolverine exists in colorful shades of gray."
I had to do a double-take. Had there been gin in my mouth, it would've been a spit-take. And, we all know that if Wizard would have made me spit out my gin, there would have been hell to pay at the Wizard offices.
First, let's look at this line, "Wolverine exists in colorful shades of gray." Number one, "Wow!" Quote me on that. "Wow!"
"Wolverine exists in colorful shades of gray" is probably the worst written sentence I've ever read. Sentences like this has me believe writers should be licensed to carry their exposition.
Second, gray is not colorful. Gray is neutral. Not colorful. Just...
Geez!!! Moving on...
Really, Wizard? Wolvie's number one because he introduced the concept of "not good/not evil" to comics? Is that really anything to celebrate? Moral ambiguity.
How utterly... asinine. Welcome to Wizard 200. It's a celebration!
Good versus evil. Isn't that what we read comics for? To see the good guys win? To see the bad guys defeated? Not every character is going to be a Sabretooth, who will eventually re-grow his head after being beheaded by Wolverine. I personally like it when comic book villains are soundly defeated with a sock to the jaw and live to fight another day. Gives one something to look forward to.
Decapitation, it's the new black.
Now keep in mind, I haven't actually bought a Wizard in years but working in comics shops, you always crack one open out of routine and most likely, curiosity. You just have to know if they could possibly up the ante on not realizing just how obsolete they've become.
It's like reading anything on Britney Spears in a way.
As a matter of fact, the shop that I go to gives Wizard to you free of charge with the opening of a subscription box. Two months ago, I started working there one day a week. On the week that Wizard comes out, I can't tell you how many times a customer has handed Wizard back saying, "I won't read it."
You read that right, we literally can't give Wizard away.
From the ridiculously amateurish writing to the God-awful page layout...
First of all, who was the monkey that OK'ed the layout for "The 200 Greatest Characters Of All Time?" Who allows the number one to be printed first, not last?! You do know that slike these work best from LAST to FIRST, right?
No? It's on the page for everyone to see so I guess you don't. I digress...
Wizard, itself, has become lamer than any sexist joke they could ever tell.
Let's talk about this list a bit...
154. Red Arrow.
His defining moment so far has been being trapped in the Watergate Hotel. Well, he was upside-down and drug-free, so number 154 makes sense, I guess.
The King of The Seven Seas. Founding member of The Justice League. The only character besides Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman to be consistently published by DC Comics in The Golden, Silver & Bronze Ages. The first DC character to become a married man. Historical significance be damned, we've gotta put the cartoon villainy of Cobra Commander 97 places before you.
Uh...Wizard. Should I mention that nearly every significant "X" event stems from this man either losing his confidence, his control over his powers or his woman? He's Marvel's biggest loser and thusly, their biggest bread-winner. Yet, there he is parked at 106. (*heh* 106 & Park)
It's thing like this that just lets you know that they should just quit. Sites like Newarama and Comic Book Resources just have them beat. Is this me calling for the end of the comics magazine as we know it?
You'll find no greater supporter of the printed page than myself. What I do realize, like the newly launched Comic Foundry does, is this...
Don't compete with that.
You'll lose every time.
You can't keep up with the internet. It's like the tide, it shifts, it crashes, it sweeps in the new things and sweeps away the old and ultimately moves on. Comics readers can be that way as well. If you're going to compete in print-form what you need to do is simple.
Write articles that focus on the "up-and-coming," not the "here-and-now." The "here-and-now" is gone as fast as I can type or you read this.
See? There it went.
I don't care who the "HOT" writer or artist is. I want to know who's doing good work consistently. I don't want hype. I want depth. I want to know why I should be reading a certain book. Should I be reading it because the "hot" artist or because of its content. I'll go with content, not "hot." Wizard focuses too much on hot and reads like a 90's time capsule and my head and my wallet just aren't there anymore. Wizard, at nearly $6 per issue, offers 90's content at new millennium prices.
So, yeah, I'm done. Wizard doesn't say anything new to today's comics reader.
I get Wizard for free and I'm not buying any of it any more. And, there's nothing you can do stop me.*
*Now how 'bout them shades of gray.