|Organized by||Wizard Entertainment|
Wizard Entertainment, formerly known as Wizard Press, was a New York-based publisher of Wizard and ToyFare magazines, along with various special issues for each magazine and the annual Toy Wishes holiday guide.
Since the first issue of Wizard magazine was published in 1991, Wizard Entertainment grew from a publisher of one monthly magazine to a multi-title publishing company with diversified interests in branded products and related convention operations. The magazine originally started as a price guide to comics but evolved into focusing squarely on pop-culture, specifically targeting young adult males. The magazine ultimately featured a price guide to comics and action figures in the back of the magazine. It has since gone digital, closing down its print publications on January 24, 2011.
Wizard hosts thirteen annual conventions, including in Chicago, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Austin and New Orleans. The Comic Con tour has continued to expand and change cities such as Texas, New York and Toronto. Chicago and Philadelphia are among the larger comic book conventions in the United States, with Wizard World Chicago in second place behind the San Diego Comic-Con for overall attendance at a single event.
Gareb Shamus, the company’s CEO and Chairman, founded Wizard magazine in January 1991 shortly after he graduated from college. Originally based in Congers, New York, Wizard grew from one monthly magazine to a multi-title publishing company with diversified interests in branded products and related convention operations. Wizard’s publications reached more than 2 million consumers a month, in 40 countries with translations into 5 languages.
Wizard’s first magazine debuted in July 1991. Wizard: The Guide to Comics was launched (the magazine would later be re-titled as Wizard: The Comics Magazine and again as Wizard: The Magazine of Comics, Entertainment and Pop Culture). Wizard has won numerous awards including four Folio Gold Awards for Editorial Excellence and has been voted “Magazine of the Year” thirteen years in a row by hobby shop retailers. Wizard has been awarded “TOP 10” magazine launch of the 1990s by Samir Husni.
A second monthly magazine was launched in 1995: Inquest Gamer. InQuest Gamer was a source for information about collectible card games, role-playing games, and strategy gaming. InQuest Gamer was one of the first in the United States to report on some of the world’s hottest hits, including Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh. In 2007, publication of Inquest Gamer was canceled.
FunFare Magazine was launched in 2009. It is published semi-annually and features consumer toy products for kids and the young at heart. It too ceased publication.
On January 24, 2011, it was announced that Wizard magazine would cease publication after 20 years, and would be changed to an all digital magazine called Wizard World launching in February 2011. Wizard Entertainment will also cease publication of its sister magazine, Toyfare.
Wizard Entertainment purchased the Chicago Comicon, a comics convention in Chicago, in 1997 to expand from its core publishing business into trade/consumer conventions. In just a few years, the now renamed Wizard World Chicago event boasts a weekend attendance of over 58,000 people.
In 2008, Wizard began adding an academic forum called Wizard World University to include scholarly panels at their conventions, beginning with the November convention in Arlington, Texas.[dead link]
In 2009, Wizard canceled the Texas event and postponed the Los Angeles convention.
In 2009, Wizard World acquired the Big Apple Convention, New York City's longest-running comic book, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and pop culture convention. Big Apple's last independent show was held on June 13, 2009 at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Big Apple had scheduled a show for November, but it was rescheduled for October 16–18 at Pier 94 in Manhattan and re-branded "Big Apple Comic Con."
Wizard's 2013 conventions included Portland Comic Con, St. Louis Comic Con, Philadelphia Comic Con, NYC Experience, Chicago Comic Con, Ohio Comic Con, Nashville Comic Con, Austin Comic Con, and New Orleans Comic Con. In September 2013, Wizard World announced 7 new stops for the 2014 tour: Sacramento, Louisville, Minneapolis, Atlanta, San Antonio, Richmond, and Tulsa.
At the 2014 New Orleans convention, Wizard permitted the producers of the reality television show, Heroes of Cosplay, to stage events throughout the convention for purposes of the television show. Notably, costumers were kept waiting in line for up to 6 hours in order to accommodate the Heroes of Cosplay shooting schedule, and the winner was alleged by participants to have been preselected from the television show's cast.[unreliable source]
Wizard once published TOY WISHES: The Ultimate Guide to Family Entertainment, a resource for what toys to buy during the holidays. Every year TOY WISHES appeared in over 100 TV interviews and in over 500 newspapers, including “The Today Show”, “Good Morning America” and USA Today. TOY WISHES produced “The Ultimate Toy Awards” TV show with Dick Clark that aired on NBC December 5, 2004.
In 2000, Gareb Shamus forayed into the world of actual comic book publishing, creating the imprint Black Bull Entertainment, and the first comic title released was the miniseries Gatecrasher. Despite attracting such talent as Garth Ennis, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Mark Waid, Nelson DeCastro, and relatively positive sales for their respective titles: Gate Crasher (ongoing series), Just a Pilgrim, Beautiful Killer and Shadow Reavers.
- Melrose, Kevin (January 24, 2011). "Breaking: Wizard and ToyFare magazines fold". Comic Book Resources.
- "Wizard Entertainment Names Darren Sanchez VP of Manufacturing". Expert Click.[dead link]
- "News Watch: Wizard Magazine Buys Chicago Comicon". The Comics Journal. #195 (April 1997), p. 24.
- Wizard World Chicago Sets Attendance Records.
- "Announcing Wizard World University Academic Programming". Wizard World-Texas.[dead link]
- "Wizard World to Postpone LA Show and Cancel Texas Show". Wizard World.
- Armitage, Hugh (June 25, 2009). "Wizard CEO buys Toronto Comicon". Digital Spy.
- "Wizard's Gareb Shamus Buys Toronto Comicon". Comic Book Resources. June 24, 2009
- "GAREB SHAMUS, WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT CEO, BUYS TORONTO COMICON". Paradise Comics.[dead link]
- CBR News Team, Editor (July 16, 2009). "Official Press Release: Wizard Announces Anaheim Comic-Con for 2010". comicbookresources.com.
- "Philly Wizard World Photo Gallery Now Open!". Dread Central.
- "Wizard World Comic Cons".
- De Blieck, Jr., Augie (May 5, 2009). "GATECRASHER, 2000-2001". Comic Book Resources. May 5, 2009