Coincidentally The Comics Journal and Wizard, two magazines that took opposite approaches to covering comic books in their print incarnations are re-launching as online magazines this week. Evidently the online apple doesn’t fall far from the paper tree since both of the new digital publications bear strong resemblances to their paper progenitors.
Though The Comics Journal will still be published on paper once a year, the paper edition, which will be edited by Gary Groth, is an entirely different entity from the online edition, which is being edited by the team of Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler, creators of the Eisner Award-winning ComicsComics site, which they are putting in mothballs while editing the new online edition of The Comics Journal
Readers of The Comics Journal, which has been covering comics with a serious approach since 1976, will find the major articles in online incarnation very similar in orientation, rigor, and thoroughness to what has been previously published on paper. The inaugural online “issue” includes “Goodbye to All That by Bob Levin, an in-depth look at the internecine family dispute over the estate of Frank Frazetta, “The ABCs of Auto Bio Comix” by Patrick Rosenkranz, an appreciation of the groundbreaking work of Justin Green, whose Binky Brown comics are credited with inspiring the autobiographical comics genre, and “An Imagined History,” a preview Seth’s forthcoming graphic novel, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. In addition to these lengthy articles there are typically rigorous TCJ reviews of a diverse group of books including Roy Crane’s Buz Sawyer: The War in the Pacific, Ben Katchor’s The Cardboard Valise, Johnny Ryan’s New Character Parade, and Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Daytripper.
But maybe the best thing about the new TCJ are the ComicsComics contributors like Richard Dehr, Jeet Heer, Ryan Holmberg, Joe McCulloch, Frank Santoro, to name just a few, who display their passions for underappreciated portions of the comic arts spectrum ranging from New Yorker cartoons to gekiga manga. An archive section containing more than 30 years of The Comics Journal will eventually all be available online, but it’s not all there yet.
The weekly Wizard World Digi-Zine also reflects its hard copy predecessors Wizard and especially ToyFare with articles about comic book-related toys based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead from MacFarlane Toys, NECA’s new Predator Action Figure, coverage of the recent New York Toy Fair and new installment of Twisted Toy Theater. Like the original Wizard, the focus of the comics coverage in new online zine is primarily on mainstream comics, though in this issue at least not so much on Marvel and DC superheroes--the main comics feature is an article on Nathan Edmondson who talks about Jake Ellis, his new spy saga for Image.
Unlike the new online TCJ, which can be accessed easily via computer like a typical Website, the Wizard World Digi-Zine needs to be downloaded either as a PDF or as a file for viewing on an iPad