Scott Kurtz vs. Wizard Magazine, Fight!
Another day, another Wizard controversy. This one is basically the sort of delicious, fatty chum that the internet loves to feed upon, as it involves both the infamously cantankerous “PvP” creator Scott Kurtz unleashing the scathing bile that seems to continually burn within him and the depressingly easy target that is Wizard Magazine.
It all began when a sales manager for the Wizard conventions — which recently started a CON WAR with New York Comic Con, to the delight of no one — sent Kurtz an e-mail asking him to attend their upcoming conventions. And while I don’t think it would have taken much to make Kurtz unleash his pent-up rage about the magazine and its tactics, the sales guy managed to cram his foot in his mouth literally within the first two words of the letter by addressing it to “Kurt,” which is in no way his name.
Cue the open letter, where Kurtz responded with the humility and grace that we’ve come to expect by attacking the Wizard guy for failing to recognize him as “a pioneer in my field and a ‘tastemaker’ with a large podium,” and proceeding to reenact the recent Daken vs. Punisher fight by verbally dismembering the guy and throwing him into a sewer:
Remember Mike Wieringo? Remember how you guys only cared about him when he was the “hot artist” for a window of time and then you quickly forgot his name despite the fact that he was producing some of the best work of his career on Fantastic Four with Mark Waid? And then remember how after he died you had the balls to name one of your panel rooms the Mike Wieringo room? I will eternally hate everyone associated with your company for that. For eternity. For Jack Kirby’s version of Eternity where the concept is embodied as a giant man made up of the universe. That’s me, hating you for the Mike Wieringo thing. Forever.
He closes the letter with a quick bro-five over how, yeah, Eliza Dushku is pretty bangable, then tells the guy to stick everything else where the sun don’t shine, and he’s out.
And you know, I’ve been very critical of many aspects of the magazine in the past — particularly its approach to women — but I’m starting to feel bad now, if only because Wizard magazine is not actually a giant Borg cube where everyone thinks and acts as one.
Reading this got me thinking about the time I spent at Virgin Comics, where I assure you that I was not personally responsible or even particularly happy about the Jenna Jameson comic book “Shadow Hunter,” and yet had to occasionally endure lectures from men within the industry after it came out about how I was contributing to sexism in comics. (P.S. I still remember all of you!)
Similarly, while Wizard has done some pretty unfortunate and tasteless things in the past, it’s a bit unfair to treat every single person who works for the magazine as though they were complicit with each and every one of those incidents, particularly when it comes to editorial and business decisions made way above their pay grade. Hell, there’s no way of knowing whether sales guy was even working for the mag during the Wieringo incident, or even if he knows who Wieringo is.
If Kurtz was actively looking for a reason to unload his grievances about the magazine, then he certainly found one, but let’s not pretend that crucifying an underling for the sins of Gareb Shamus isn’t an unfair exercise in projection, no matter how satisfying or entertaining it may be.