TITLE: Wizard: The Guide to Comics – San Diego Comic Con 1992 Special Edition
COMPANY: Wizard Press
President/Publisher: Gareb S. Shamus
Business Manager: Martin Schranz
Art Director: Cindy Sutherland
Production: Douglas Goldstein
Editor: Patrick Daniel O’Neill
Assistant Editor and Creative Director: Patrick McCallum
Copy Editor: Daniel Schloss
Writers: Craig Cornell, Brian Cunningham, Andy Mangels, PAtrick McCallum, Patrick Daniel O’Neill, Rob Samsel
The first year of Wizard Press’ “Wizard: The Guide to Comics” magazine came out when the timing was great. Marvel and DC Comics were going strong, Valiant and Malibu Comics were starting to shake things up in the industry but also, 1992 would become a big year in comic books with seven of the industry’s major artists bolting from Marvel and DC in solidarity to create Image Comics and make a stand for creator-owned characters and comic books.
No one publication championed this move by Image Comics other than Wizard Press.
Wizard Press managed to do things and rock the industry with those coming into comics other than just reading but for collectibility and investment. Praising the variant covers, the hottest in cards, the hottest in toys, many people tuned into Wizard Magazine almost like it was the defacto bible to what is cool in comics and believed the hype.
Personally, I’m not sure if Image Comics, Valiant Comics and other titles would have receive much recognition if it wasn’t for Wizard Magazine.
And you have to give Gareb S. Shamus and the crew credit, and in the first two years, they read the comic market, they succeeded and they delivered.
But with that, with editorial decisions and an over focus on artists on Image Comics, featuring artists calling out other artists and a level of sniping before Social Media, things got a bit…awkward.
And as there were people who stayed on boat with Wizard Magazine, emerged another comic book magazine, Hero Illustrated that people wanted to be anti-Wizard in terms of coverage and what it would feature than be a Wizard Clone.
It was the ’90s, and those early ’90s were a beast and the comic book industry did well. But no one would expect that in the mid-to-late ’90s, things would eventually crash and burn.
So, I take a look at “Wizard: The Guide to Comics – San Diego Comic Con 1992 Special Edition”. After a successful first year, the crew promote what would become the largest comic book event in the country, San Diego Comic Con.
The first major interview featured Stan Lee who talked about Marvel Comics of the past and the present (1992) and how he has come back to writing for “Ravage 2099” (which I will post about the series in the near future). You have to love Stan Lee interviews, they are full of nostalgia and if there is one man who loves comic books and is generally positive, it’s him. And he’s still attending conventions and appearing on movies and television to this day. Such an awesome person!
The next article is by Andy Mangels who writes about super heroes on television and movies.
And then we come to the article on “Limited Editions” and how the sports card industry got into the trend of releasing special cards that collectors went crazy for and would spend a $1000 on a card. The article goes into comic books featuring various covers and how these rare covers shot up in price. Personally, when this issue came out. I bought the hype and part of the problem of collecting comic books is that I would overspend on my budget because I thought it was necessary to purchase all the variants. And my regret is that I missed out on purchasing on other comic books or missed titles in my collection because I made such effort. Granted, I realized this a few years later and decided, I’m not going to do it anymore. Can’t afford to. Too many titles I would rather read and I’m a comic book reader and not into purchasing a title just to sell it for a variant cover.
But this issue came with two prism covers featuring the popular Image Comics characters that were up and coming and featuring the artists on the back. To me this issue was the genesis of Image Comics love from Wizard Press and there was no turning back.
The magazine then focused on Toying Around and Brian Cunningham’s article on toy collectables were no doubt popular and became my favorite until the magazine released Toy Fare which was my go to magazine over Wizard years later.
Then there is “The Hottest Women” featuring the comic industries super hero women wearing barely anything or tight spandex.
Next up was Robert E. Samsel’s “Discovering Underrated Talent” which was a great article on up-and-coming talent that independents and the big companies gave opportunities to.
Fan art was a big thing for Wizard and “Amazing Art” shows off artwork from the future comic book illustrators in America.
And the magazine ends with profiles of various comic book companies and trading card companies and artist profiles. And then ending with Patrick Daniel O’Neill’s San Diego Comic Con article and map layout of the location.
Overall, this was an awesome issue for its time. Sure at $5.95 it may seem expensive but with two trading cards (prism) and the fact that it featured Image Comics characters on the front cover, especially the Savage Dragon, you couldn’t help but want to buy it. That is if you were able to find copy as comic book shops ordered low on Wizard Magazine in those earlier years and finding a copy was literally a pain in the arse. It gave people the opportunity to sample “Wizard: The Guide to Comics” and for the most part, the publication attracted a lot of attention and people were no doubt buying the magazine.