Man of the Moment


Sean William Scott


Kindly direct email to:
dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com


"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
"One of the few comics blogs I always make time for"--Antony Johnston
"Dorian Wright is intelligent and slightly bitter, like a fine coffee."--Kevin Church
"Absolutely huggable."--Bully
"It's always fun to see Dorian be bitchy."--Chris Butcher




www.flickr.com
pomobarney's photos More of pomobarney's photos


Current Diversions






Archives

Doctor Who
Paperback Book Club

200404   200405   200406   200407   200408   200409   200410   200411   200412   200501   200502   200503   200504   200505   200506   200507   200508   200509   200510   200511   200512   200601   200602   200603   200604   200605   200606   200607   200608   200609   200610   200611   200612   200701   200702   200703   200704   200705   200706   200707   200708   200709   200710   200711   200712   200801   200802   200803   200804   200805   200806   200807   200808   200809   200810   200811  


Comment Policy
Offensive, harrassing or baiting comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted at my discretion.
Comment spam will be deleted.
Please leave a name and either a valid web-site or e-mail address with comments. Comments left without either a valid web-site or e-mail address may be deleted.

Atom Feed
LiveJournal Syndication LOLcats feed

This page is powered by 


Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Friday, January 06, 2006

Searching for Content in Wizard 

One of the things that always bugged me about Wizard when I still worked in comics retail is how you can read through the entire magazine and come away feeling like you know less about comics than when you started. It's not because simply reading the magazine saps away brain cells (though I suspect that's true...), but because the bulk of the magazine is, well, fan-service fluff disguised as actual information. So, I've been meaning for awhile to sit down with an issue of Wizard and go through it and see what, if any, actual content the magazine has. I've even given them the benefit of the doubt and chosen their "2006 Preview" issue, in the expectation that this will at least contain information about comics I could buy in the next 12 months.

First of all, I'd like to say something about the cover. It's a close-up picture of Brandon Routh dressed up as Superman. This immediately brings two thoughts to my mind, neither of them inclining me positively towards the upcoming film. One, they're doing that thing I hate with super-hero costumes where they make all the seams visible in an attempt to make the costume look "realistic." And two, Brandon Routh's package has no definition in that outfit.

Secondly, let's look at the ratio of ad pages to editorial content pages. Not counting the covers, the magazine has 152 pages. 21 of those pages are out-right ads, counting the "shows and cons" and "classifieds" pages as paid advertisements. That's pretty good, better than I expected actually. But, wait, 10 of those ad pages are for Wizard-related events and publications (11 if they have anything to do with ToyWiz.Com), not actual paid advertising. And 13 of the editorial content pages have 1/3 to 1/2 page ads on them, again with Wizard-related ads making up the bulk of those. Still, that's a pretty good ratio of "content" to "ads." I can't help but take the noticeable lack of paid, outside advertising as a bad sign. The only non-comics related ad I saw was one for a video-game. This suggests to me that advertisers do not wish to court comic book fans or their money.

Now, on to the actual editorial content. We've got two pages serving as an index, and one more serving the "letter from the editor" and staff roster/copyright information. This counts as content, sort of, but it's not the slightest bit interesting and if the "funny jokes" were removed this could easily be condensed down to two pages. Next we've got six pages of letters to the editors. Again, this barely counts as content and I strongly suggest against reading the letters if you entertain any illusions that comic book fans are rational and level-headed.

And then there are 27 pages about the upcoming Superman Returns film. The first two pages are filler, serving as an introduction the film. Not, in the end, content. Next are several pages interviewing Brandon Routh, Bryan Singer and Kevin Spacey. My initial inclination is to discount these pages, because they're about a movie, not a comic book, but given that it's a film based on a comic book, I'm going to let it slide and judge these pages as content. Then we have two pages of discussion about Brandon Routh's costume. It's fan-wank, and therefore not real content. As is the two page poll. And the two page discussion of previous film incarnations of Superman. This sort of thing reeks of filler. Next we have two pages about the new Superman video game. This comes closest to fitting the category of "unpaid advertising." Again, not actual content. And finally we have a page of Superman trivia. It borders on fan-wank, but I'm not quite prepared to call it filler outright. There is a kind of postscript to the section, detailing upcoming films based on DC Comics properties. The information tends to be vague and brief, but it's mostly factual and informative, so it just barely counts as content.

We've got a two page discussion of one still from X-Men 3 next. There's no actual information here, so I have to declare this filler. We have a two page explanation of the DC Multiverse which isn't necessary information by a long shot. I have serious difficulty believing that anyone who reads Wizard doesn't already have some passing familiarity with this subject, so it's filler. We've got another two pages discussing, in as vague a manner as possible the "One Year Later" status quo for DC. It's too vague to be useful, and if you have an internet connection and know the URL of even one comics "news" site, none of it is revelatory, but it's still not quite filler. Content, barely. Moving on, we find a page about the upcoming Marvel "Civil War" event which tells me absolutely nothing about the event. So, I'm going to go ahead and call it an unpaid advertisement. The "Superhero Registration Form" is one of the magazine's occassional attempts at humor, but it's just sophomoric fan-wank filler.

A comparison between Astonishing X-men and All Star Superman is largely the kind of editorial content I'd expect from a magazine like Wizard. It's fairly non-offensive and it's designed to get the readership excited about the subject. The following ten pages are devoted to interviews with comics creators, namely Brad Meltzer, Jeph Loeb and Mark Millar, about their upcoming work. As with the AXM vs. ASS debate, it's the kind of editorial content I really should be expecting to find in a magazine like this. You'd expect the three pages (four if you content the full page of art) about 52 to be content, but in 52 paragraphs very little information is actually revealed. The closest descriptor I can find for this article is unpaid advertisement. Sadly, the next five pages, with their focus on Spider-Woman, New Avengers and Stephen King's 2007 Dark Tower comic also are more suggestive of unpaid advertising than actual informative content. The two pages Sentinel breakdown is mere filler, and the list of House of M spin-offs and depowered mutants is more unpaid advertising.

We've got three pages of unpaid advertising for the Ultimate Avengers DVD, and then we've got one of the things I really hate about Wizard. As a retailer, the fact that Wizard isn't very good at communicating the difference between factual information, speculation and crap they made up, and the "Casting Call" feature is one of the worst offenders. Every single time Wizard would run an article like this I'd get customers who just had to tell me how excited they were about the cast of the upcoming film that wasn't actually going to be in the film that wasn't going to be made.

Four pages of Alex Ross pictures tying into the Justice series crosses the line from "content" to "filler." There's barely enough information in the article to fill one page, and it gets four? The two page "interview" with Grant Morrison about his upcoming run on Wildcats is entertaining filler, but it's still filler. In fact, it probably amounts to more unpaid advertising. The two page interview with Michael Turner is just barely content, but its right on the border of filler given its lack of specificity.

The following fourteen pages with short snippets of news about upcoming comics counts as content, if only for the sheer volume of vague information it contains. The "index" for the 2006 preview section is flat-out filler, as is the examination of Thomas Church in his Sandman costume.

The ten pages of brief promos for this month's comics straddles the line between content and unpaid advertising. If there was more of a review-type approach to the material I'd be comfortable calling it content, but as it is...

Twenty pages of price guides probably make up the most contentious aspect of the magazine. I find that it encourages a speculator mentality in comic readers and is too unreliable and easily manipulated. But, to be honest, it's really what most people buy the magazine for. So...against my better judgment, content.
Except for the pages about slabbed comic prices. Those are just enticements to greed.

The last page joke makes me weep bitter, bloody tears at the folly of mankind. Filler.

So, in my final count, we've got about 50 pages of actual, informative content out of 152, removing the price guide from the tally. Or, about one-third of this issue of Wizard isn't filler or advertising material, paid or otherwise. Informative content you could just as easily find on-line. And, usually, without the sub-frat boy level humor.

|

Featured Links

Blue Marble Bounty
Hallowed Tree Furniture
Jed Dougherty
John's Journal
Inner Light Community Gospel Choir

Latest Links

Stuff Geeks Love Armagideon Time Living Between Wednesdays Benjamin Birdie
Get Off The Internet
Ken Lowery

Comics Blogs

New Comic Weblogs Updates

Absorbascon
Again With the Comics
All Ages
Artistic License
Bahlactus
Batfatty Vs. the Chocodiles
BeaucoupKevin
Bear in the City
Benjamin Birdie
Bispectacult
Blockade Boy
Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Broken Glass Makes Me Laugh
Bully Says
Chaos Monkey
Clea's Cave
Collected Editions
Comics212.Net
Comics-and-More
Comics Ate My Brain
Comics Fairplay
Comic Treadmill
Crisis/Boring Change
Dave's Long Box
Delenda est Carthago
Doctor K's 100-Page Super Spectacular
Eddie-torial Comments
Fandamentalist
Flesh-Head's Treehouse
Gay Comics List
Gay League
Milo George
Giant Fighting Robot Report
Glyphs
Gumpop
Heroes & Villains
House of L
House of the Ded
The Hurting
In Sequence
Inside Out
Invincible Super-Blog
Irresponsible Pictures
Isotope
Jog-The Blog
Johnny Bacardi Show
Kid Chris
Lady, That's My Skull
Ledger Domain
Let's You and Him Fight
Living Between Wednesdays
Mangablog
Mangatalk
Metrokitty
Motime Like the Present
Near Mint Heroes
Neilalien
Noetic Concordance
Of Course, Yeah
one diverse comic book nation
Polite Dissent
Precocious Curmudgeon
Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
Prism Comics
Progressive Ruin
Project Rooftop
Random Happenstance
Random Panels
Read About Comics
Revoltin' Developments
Ringwood
Roar of Comics
Seven Hells
Silent Accomplice
Snap Judgments
So I Like Superman
Sporadic Sequential
Super Underwear Perverts
Suspension of Disbelief
Trickle of Conciousness
Vintage Spandex
Welt am Draht
When Fangirls Attack
Word on the Street
Written World
Yaoi 911
Yet Another Comics Blog


Comic Creators and Publishers

AiT/PlanetLar
Bloodstains on the Looking Glass
Boom! Studios
Boytoy
Brit Doodz
Channel Surfing
Comic Book Heaven
Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Ferret Press
Tim Fish
Flaming Artist
Kaja Foglio
Gelatometti
Steve Gerblog
Hembeck.com
Highway 62
Hobotopia
Illusive Arts
Innocent Bystander
Ralf Koenig
The Less Said The Better
Steve MacIsaac
Man's Adventure
Meatcute
Grant Morrison
Mostly Black
neilcomics
Studygroup12
SUPERFRANKENSTEIN
Tom of Finland Foundation
Viper Comics
Mike Wieringo's Sketch Blog
X-Ray Spex


Web Comics

Adam and Andy
Best of Friends
Captain Confederacy
Deep Fried
Dork Tower
Fancy
The Gay Monsters
Get Your War On
K Chronicles
Kyle's Bed and Breakfast
Nodwick
Pass Fail Studios
The Rack
Split Lip
Tom the Dancing Bug
The Web Comic List


Culture & Politics

Advocate
Kevin Allison
Armagideon Time
Dario Argento
BBC News
Big Bad Blog
Brian's Drive-In Theater
Camp Blood
Captain Corey
Center of Gravitas
A Child of Atom
Cinebeats
Commerical Closet
Paul Cornell
Crocodile Caucus
Culture Pulp
John Oak Dalton
Dark, But Shining
Dark Loch
Dave Ex Machina
Philip K. Dick
Digital Digressions
Feminine Miss Geek
Film Experience Blog
Final Girl
Fortean Times
Gay Gamer
Gaymer
Gay Porn Blog
Rick Gebhardt's World
Get Off The Internet
Good As You
Homefront Radio
Insufficient Homosexual
Joe My God
Jumbotron6000
Chris Karath
Kung Fu Monkey
LeftyBrown's Corner
Little Terrors
Ken Lowery
Miraclo Miles
Mr. Dan Kelly
My Three Dollars Worth
No Sword
Phil Ochs
One Hundred Little Dolls
Or Alcoholism
The Outbreak
Outpost Gallifrey
Pop Culture Gadabout
Psychbloke
Pulp of the Day
Queerbeacon
The Rude Pundit
Screw Bronze
Sock Drawer
Something to be Desired
Starrfucker
Street Laughter
Stuff Geeks Love
Tales from Treasure Island
TangognaT
TBogg
Terry Pratchett
This Boy Elroy
This Modern World
Toner Mishap
Towleroad
Trusy Plinko Stick
Turning the Light Around
TLA Video
Unnatural Devotions
Vintage Beefcake
Warren Ellis
Wax Banks
Where Threads Come Loose
Where Threads Come Loose-Links
Whiskey and Failure
Wisse Words
You Know What I Like?





© 2007 Dorian Wright. Some images are © their respective copyright holders. They appear here for the purposes of review or satire only.