Brian Cunningham out at Wizard

200808150123-1The grapevine is buzzing today with news that Executive Editor Brian Cunningham has been let go from his position at Wizard. Cunningham had been with the magazine since 1991 in one position or another, and was promoted to his current position only last year. He joins a long, long list of recent redundancies at the company, including Martha Donato, Mel Caylo, Rob Felton, Kiel Phegley, Sean T. Collins, Rick Marshall, Stewart Morales, and a lot more people we don’t even know.

The Beat wishes him well.

UPDATE: a lengthy Wizard message board thread about Cunningham.

Comments

  1. That’s a shame. Brian was one of the more accessible and down to earth guys at WIZARD.

  2. George Khoury says:

    Very sorry to hear this. Brian was the best thing left at that magazine.

  3. Alan Coil says:

    Wizard continues to eliminate paid employees in order to save money. When is their next plea for unpaid volunteers?

  4. Who's Left? says:

    Wait so other than Steven Shamus, who’s still left? Are they even still publishing?

  5. Brian has always been a great person to deal with. Best of luck with whatever you do next.

  6. Ben Morse says:

    I worked with Brian for three years at Wizard and he was dedicated to that magazine beyond belief. BC is a quality person and I hope things go up from here for him.

  7. Brian was my boss/art director on at least a couple freelance gigs for Wizard (notably Marvel’s Manhattan spread). Truly a gent; I hope he’s soon on to bigger and better.

  8. Just heard about this on the Wizard message board… Horrible news. From all of my dealings with BC, he’s been a pleasure and I know he’ll land on his feet and go on to do great things elsewhere.

  9. Geez….who’s gonna make fun of my Guy Gardner Warrior run now? Brian’s departure from Wizard is like having the staples removed from the spine of the magazine.

    Best of luck, my old friend.

    Beau

  10. Can we just drop the curtain on Wizard and be done with that chapter of comic book history?

  11. I worked with Brian for roughly 7 years or so at Wizard, and even lived with him for a few. While I can believe he’s gone (based on the recent chaos going on over there at Wiz), it’s still pretty deflating. He was absolutely committed to putting out quality and not looking for an easy out. He was passionate about the magazine, his staff and the industry. I wish him all the best.

    And don’t worry, Beau… I’ll still make fun of Guy Gardner for ya…

  12. Brian was a mensch. Well, IS–he’s still around! But it’s just not going to be Wizard without him.

  13. Fred Pierce says:

    I’ve heard nothing but bad and worse news coming out of wizard for a while now. Can we all now take the blinders off and admit that the Wizard shows are for crap? I just go to San Diego now. Anyway, my bet is that Wizard is gone as a company, or at least very different from what it is now, by the end of next year.

  14. I spent four years at Wizard with Brian and three years sharing a house with the guy. That magazine will be a far worse product without him. Wizard has taken a lot of heat from the industry over the years — some I agree with, some I don’t — but no Wizard hater should have any beef with Brian Cunningham. He was always, always fighting the good fight in the Wizard trenches. The magazine’s quality can only suffer from this.

  15. Douglas Goldstein says:

    I have to agree with Tom’s post above. Brian Cunningham is the quintessential nice guy who’s always been pleasant and kind. I worked with him for 13 years at Wizard and watched him fight for content that gives respect to artists, writers, the readers and fans. I consider him a friend; I don’t think he deserved to be fired; I’m sure there’s better things ahead for him.

  16. an excellent dude. one of my favorite people in the building.

    best of luck dude!

  17. Mel Caylo says:

    Brian was a great colleague and is an even greater friend. I am sorry to hear this news but I’m sure he will land on his feet.

  18. Samus says:

    Speaking as a regular member of the Wizard boards, I can say that all of us are shocked and dismayed. Whatever reasons that Wizard Entertainment had for letting Brian go, they will likely find that the public backlash will be severe. Brian was a friendly face for Wizard even in the face of severe criticism, and got people interested in buying the magazine by sheer force of kindness. His loss is a blow to Wizard’s credibility, but I can say I’m more concerned about Brian’s well-being than the magazine’s. Hopefully they will at least try to explain their actions honestly to their readership.

  19. el seed says:

    ah god!

  20. Andre Shell says:

    I left Wizard nearly ten years ago and even though I was there less than two years, I was extremely fortunate to have been there while the editorial/writing staff included Brian, Pat, Tom, Doug, Andrew & Mel among others. What a great bunch of guys…there was no shortage of humor, creativity, hard work and a serious passion for comics & toys. I remember Brian in particular had a powerful sense of humor and we laughed our asses off on many occasions while just sitting around talking comics. He’s one of the good guys, and I know he’ll land on his feet.

  21. Andre Shell says:

    I left Wizard nearly ten years ago and even though I was there less than two years, I was extremely fortunate to have been there while the editorial/writing staff included Brian, Pat, Tom, Doug, Andrew & Mel among others. What a great bunch of guys…there was no shortage of humor, creativity, hard work and a serious passion for comics & toys. I remember Brian in particular had a powerful sense of humor and we laughed our asses off on many occasions while just sitting around talking comics. He’s one of the good guys, and I know he’ll land on his feet.

  22. Brian is a great guy and a true joy to interact with. It infuriates me to know that certain companies care so little for the people who make them what they are. I wish I hadn’t already given up my subscription, because I’d certainly do it now.

  23. Lou S. says:

    When will the redundancy that is Joe Yanerella be let go???

  24. Not a team player says:

    No offense, but Brian was a tool.

    I remember sitting there, at my desk at Wizard, as the kind and benevolent Brian made fun of a copy editor who was about 50 times more talented than he was.

    As one of the popular kids at Wizard, Brian never thought it improper to belittle and mistreat one of his underlings. And when the guy in question got fired after five years-plus at Wizard, Brian waited a whole week before beginning to make fun of his successor!

    After two years at Wizard, Brian (Joe Yanarella’s lickspittle) fired me for not being a team player. This was after I routinely copy- and final-edited a bunch of stuff in the magazine, rewrote shitty features by untalented freelancers that Brian and his cronies oftentimes spooged over, and routinely handled all aspects of three or four monthly columns.

    Oh, and to top it off, Brian and Joe made up a lie about me to 1) prevent me from getting severance and 2) attempt to ruin my chances at future employment.

    I’m keeping my name anonymous, but the popular kids will know who I am. I’m the dude who, like everyone else who leaves Wizard, is doing just fine.

  25. Former Wizard Designer says:

    I’ll have to agree that Brian Cunningham was, and probably still is, an absolute a**hole.

    I put in two nerve-wracking years at that worthless rag putting up with BC and the rest of his cronies: McCallum, Caylo, Yanarella, Cotton, Arbona. Just to name a few… The work environment created by the editors at Wizard is completely TOXIC!

    So, I’m glad to see that one more dinosaur was forced out.

    Hey Cunningham, did Gareb let you take your MOUNTAIN of statues and busts that was out in the warehouse?!? It did have a big sign on it stating it was YOURS! Arrogant SOB, see you on the bread line…

  26. The Uninvited Guest says:

    So does anyone know what has happened to McCallum? He was writing for Robot Chicken a few years back, but does not seem to have been involved in any of the writing that earned the Award Nominations.

    Further, why was he fired from Wizard? It could not have happened to a more self righteous, condescending, patronizing guy. If there is any justice in the industry, he’ll never work in it again. McCallum is the David Lee Roth of the Comics World- a one trick pony that neither Hollywood or Vegas would want!

  27. Blatant Blogger says:

    “Further, why was he fired from Wizard? It could not have happened to a more self righteous, condescending, patronizing guy. If there is any justice in the industry, he’ll never work in it again.”

    Sounds like you’ve dealt with the Wizard crew on a “professional” level… You nailed that former Chief Editor. The David Lee Roth analogy is great! McCallum never had the talent that Diamond Dave has though!

    As for the reason why he was fired… Too much money my friend. He made too much money. All the current “old timers” at Wizard should be dumping in their pants because they’ll all be replaced by interns very soon… Buh Bye!

  28. Former Wizard Editor says:

    Hey “Former Wizard Designer,” were you the complete psycho who screamed at and threw his cell phone, threw tantrums and was generally believed to be the kind of person who’d come to work with an uzi one day and kill everyone? Yeah, you’re cool.

  29. Former Wizard Writer Chris Ward says:

    A follow-up question for the Former Wizard Designer. Did you ever do anything unspeakable to a series of toilets, prompting a company-wide investigation of the still-on-the-loose Phantom Shitter? That’s the rumor. Come clean…Tom G.? We demand to know who you are!

  30. CycloneD says:

    Wow, some of the negative vibes being thrown here. Brian was a class act along with Mel, Chris W., and a few others around the WIZARD offices. Anyone that would actually stay in that “toxic” enviornment for as long as the aforementioned staff members did, should be cannonized! There were “tools” at the W, but BC was not one of them.

  31. Not a team player, part deux says:

    “Wow, some of the negative vibes being thrown here,” isn’t a sentence.

    By the way, a “class act” treats everyone with dignity and respect, not just the people he thinks can help him. As I’ve said, I sat at my desk and watched as Brian and Joe and Andy and Pat mocked, belittled, and otherwise mistreated their underlings.

    Wizard set up the cool kid environment and Brian reveled in being a part of it. He may be a nice person at heart, but he certainly drank the Flavor-Aid at work.

  32. Former Wizard Designer says:

    Former Wizard Editor,

    Hey, I was NOT the “complete psycho” who screamed at and threw his cell phone… Sounds like one of my peers who used to toil on his website and illustrations while he was “working” on the magazines.

    In addition, I was NOT responsible for Wizard’s “bath room antics”, either.

    And yes, I am COOL.

  33. Hey…I remember that psycho. He didn’t talk much before the screaming.

    Wizard was a learning experience.

  34. Just want to add a positive comment: Brian Cunningham was really awesome when I was there. He was very cool and super-classy. Wizard just lost another great guy. I’m sure he’ll be an incredible asset to DC!

  35. Del Coro says:

    So, let’s see, everyone and their brother, under their real names, talks about what a great guy Cunningham is.

    One guy says that he isn’t and hides behind an alias to do so.

    Let’s play “spot the douchebag!”

    Oh, wait, I’m done already.

  36. Karl Cramer says:

    As an ex-Wizard employee I wanted to throw my 2-cents in. Brian has never been anything but nice to me or anyone I saw him interacting with. One of the good ones.

  37. eric bienemie says:

    (another anonymous former wizard staffer chiming in)

    wow. i can’t say BC was one of my *favorite* people at wizard, but some of the hate on here is kinda scary (and incredibly unprofessional). I’ve fortunately — VERY fortunately i should add — made a career out of comics, and the first people i thank for that are the wizard crew — including brian, pat, mel, cotton, gareb and especially joe y. seriously people, if you conducted yourself during your time at wizard the same way you’re acting here, then it’s no wonder you didn’t last. i know there have been some crazy characters to come and go through the wizard offices, but jesus, some of you sound like you need professional help.

    it’s a job — and a publishing job at that — and even though it’s comics, it’s still hard-f**kin’-work at the end of the day, trying to edge out the competition and maintaining good relationships in this small industry all while dealing with deadline stress. although there were times i wanted to strangle some of the editors (and i’m positive there were times they wanted to do the same to me), they’re still good people at heart (especially when you got them away from the office), and good at what they do (or did, depending).

    so really — GROW UP, you’re not gonna like everyone you work with no matter where it is, and stop dancing on people’s graves, regardless if you think they deserved being fired or not.

    and when the hell is owen kehoe gonna put his two-cents in on this issue??? ;)

  38. Wow! Now I know why Wizard Magazine stopped calling me; All of my contacts no longer work there!

    I only dealt with Brian a few times via Email, but he was an absolute pro and a real good guy. A rarity these days. I hope he lands on his feet soon.

  39. Brian was and still is an incredible guy, and he’s helped me out a few times when I was freelancing for Wizard. There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll succeed at DC.

    As for the haters, really? Try using your real names. If not, you’re all a waste of time.

  40. Not a team player, part three says:

    Just because I don’t use my real name doesn’t make what was done to me or to anyone else I mentioned any less true.

    Things aren’t as black and white as you’d like to believe.

    You want to canonize Brian and demonize anyone who paints a more balanced picture of the guy? Go right ahead. It’s your right as a dullard comic fan who’s swallowed a big glass of what they’ve been pouring for you.

    And with that, I bid you a fond farewell.

  41. CycloneD says:

    “Not a Team Player:”
    First off this is a message board so who gives a rodent’s arse about correct grammar and syntax. Yes, there were some of the people around the offices of the W who did think their farts came out smelling like roses, that fact is not in dispute. Most of them are gone now too it seems. It seems like you are in the minority about Brian C. here though, so take pack your negativity in, and have and get over it!

  42. Grapey Schamoo says:

    Hey Gang, it’s the Big Cheese Here!
    Just telling you all out there to keep an eye out on our all-new over 200-page blockbuster issue of Wizard this month! Wha? We’re down to 112 pages? (well jeeze I hope it’s not over 1/4 in-house ad content like the past two years). Well at least we have a hot new 1/2 issue offer in this baby! What? The promotions deptartment is gone, and undermined by our backdoor dealings and market manipulations? Well that’s a bummer. At least we have top shelf writers and editors like Pat McCallum, Matt Seinrich, Brian Cunningham and –what? They are all gone? Well even though Seinrich went Hollywood, I still have Joe Yanarella, you know–I personally plucked him out of Hollywood, he used to write for a newspaper about TV and movies they used to throw into a bag and throw into your driveway, ya know! And our hot editor-in-chief was once a writer for our long gone but not remembered sportscard magazine (Sorry about that one Dr. Beckett, whoopsies!), he’s now fresh off a stint as E-I-C as a failed men’s softcore flesh mag–yeah baby, exactly the Wizard target demographic, we need to keep cultivating!! Let’s talk about my hot Mixed Martial Arts venture, the IFL!! I may have had to part with over a dozen of my tenured and talented magazine staff to get it up and running, but college grads are cheap, and high school interns are free! And now look how huge the IFL is! HAH?? I got fired from a company I started by a guy I hired, and he ran the promotion into the ground and out of business? Ouch. Well kids, we still have TONS of Hollywood Movie news, Video Game reviews, toy and memorabilia updates and Trade Paperback news and reviews in every exciting issue! COMICS? Well, to be honest, I have read one since Toddy was doing Amazing Spider-Man and Jimmy was drawing Psylocke in the X-Men, but I am sure they are doing JUST fine!
    Don’t forget to join me and my crack staff of 2008 college graduates, high school interns, and 3-martini lunch stuffed suits who are the 4:59 track club for the nxt hot issue of Wizard!! We’re AWWWWSOME bay-bee!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I’ve seen this in a couple of places, but there have been a number of people fired from Wizard Magazine. I hope it had nothing to do with me letting my subscription expire! I would hate to see that magazine stop publishing. The beginning of the end is when they start laying off the help. It’s a shame those folks lost their jobs, too. [...]

  2. [...] [Publishing] Will the last person at Wizard Magazine please turn out the lights? [...]

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