Glossy magazine, bills itself as "The Guide to Comics". A magazine by and for comic book fanboys. Founded back in the early 1990s by a New York comic store owner named Gareb Shamus, it has grown to become the largest and most successful publication about comic books.

Wizard does some things very, very right. They are, nearly always, funny as hell, in a crude, junior-high way. Their news section is excellent--I've even seen them get the scoop over internet news sources--no mean feat when you consider that the finishing touches on the magazine are completed months before it's actually published. As the most prominent comics magazine around, Wizard also gets handed all the big stories and all the best interviews--Wizard gets interviews with all of the top creators.

But Wizard also does a lot of stuff very, very wrong. They used to have pretty good coverage of small press and independent comics, but they unloaded that several years ago in order to put more focus on DC, Marvel, and Image. Everyone on the staff appears to be a hardcore Marvel Zombie--almost everytime they have a Best Character/Best Creator/Best Costume/Best Whatever list, the number-one spot is guaranteed to either Wolverine, Spider-Man, or Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man. (A couple of years ago, they even designated Peter Parker as the "Best New Character of the Year", despite the fact that Peter Parker was actually created in the 1960s) The magazine has quite shallow tastes in comics, always preferring comics with pretty art over comics with good writing. They've never really accepted that the comics-as-investment and art-first-story-last crazes of the early 1990s helped send the comics industry into a financial tailspin, so they've continued to push the comics companies to produce more crap.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the magazine is the staff's tendency to hype themselves. Besides the cute "Meet-the-Staff" section in the back and occasional mini-features on their Halloween parties, they often run photo-comic features in which, for instance, the magazine staff battles Galactus for the fate of Earth. While moderately amusing, it's irritating to think that they wasted space on this masturbatory nonsense when they could have been writing about comics.

Honestly, Wizard often gives the impression of being written and published by adolescent boys whose main concerns are girls with big boobs, console video games, saying bad words, and reading comics with lots of fight scenes. Surely, adolescent boys are a big part of the magazine's audience, but it's not all of their audience--and the minute one of those adolescent boys wants something from the magazine beyond fart jokes, chicks in thongs, and fawning interviews with Todd McFarlane... well, there's not that much of the magazine that isn't about farts, thongs, and McFarlane...

But Wizard is finally starting to get criticism. During his keynote speech at the 2001 Harvey Awards, comics legend Frank Miller, creator of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" and "Sin City", called Wizard "this bible written by Satan" and later said:
"For all the disgust you’ll hear about Wizard and its shoddy practices when you talk to publishers and marketing folks--and I have yet to hear a single good word from anybody about this thing that ought to come on a roll--for all of that, the publishers kow-tow. Even though this tree killer here regularly cheapens and poisons our field. Aesthetically and ethically, they grovel. Even though this monthly vulgarity reinforces all the prejudice people hold about comics, they cry to all the world that we’re as cheap and stupid and trashy as they think we are, we sponsor this assault. We pay for the goddamn privilege. But really, when will we finally get around to flushing this thing, this load of crap, once and for all?"
Miller got enthusiastic applause. Some of us like to hope that maybe that means we're getting close to the flushing point now.