Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 8, 2011

Maybe Skip Altogether This Interview With Gareb Shamus

imageCongratulations to MTV Geek for convincing Wizard World, Inc. head honcho Gareb Shamus to do an interview, the first major one he's done since the shuttering of Wizard's print iteration. That's a first-class get.

Unfortunately, it's not a good interview, largely because much of what Shamus says is broad marketing speak rather than plain language, and partly because a significant amount of the more engaged material seems based on narratives that aren't very convincing. One of many: I don't remember anyone criticizing Wizard during its initial years of publication because they preferred backwards-looking magazines. They were suspicious of the price guide and generally critical of the relentless hype and limited view of comics involved. Some were further disappointed by the general lack of an animating principle beyond celebrating the most popular superhero comic books of the day, feeding and feeding from that passionate fan base. My experience is that most people in comics admired or appreciated some element of what Wizard did, usually a column or writer that found a niche against the general thrust of the magazine's likes and dislikes, but also more generally the massive investment they made in the presentation of their publication -- a gamble that paid off big time. Like I said, one of many.

The marketing speak disappoints mostly because the print magazine Wizard was such a success for so long that it doesn't seem necessary to couch language in such vague generalities -- although that's the language the business world understands and throws money at, and Shamus has been a very successful businessman. Another item to take away from the piece is that Wizard really doesn't seem to have any concrete ideas for their on-line initiative, or no one's let Shamus in on those conversations. As described, they sound like a company's potential project two or three year down the line instead of something that's expected to make its debut this Spring.
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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