Wizards of the Coast
When I first met John Dunn, it was in a tiny, stale room on the fourth floor of the Marriott Marquis in New York City. I'd corresponded with him for a few months, after he generously offered to come and speak at our MagazineTech conference. John originally piqued my curiosity by proclaiming that he'd taken his pubs CTP (computer-to-plate) and he was able to save money in the process. Needless to say, I was compelled to learn more. And during our subsequent conversations, I learned that he had quite a remarkable story to tell. He exudes passion for making magazines, and during a year that has left many magazine publishers little to be happy about, it's a fresh attitude I think we can all appreciate.
In a galaxy far, far away
Former Boeing employee Peter Adkison founded the publishing house in 1990 with the help of six friends. They called the new venture Wizards of the Coast. The seven compatriates shared a common goal, to embark on professional careers in the adventure gaming business. Within three years, the Wizards released its first trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. The product's success led to the development of other games and then to a series of retail locations. The publisher built its stable of publications to include: Dragon, Dungeon, Amazing Stories, The Duelist, Sideboard, Polyhedron, Living Greyhawk and TopDeck. In September 1999, the founders sold Wizards of the Coasts to Hasbro for more than $325 million. Subsequently, the new Hasbro sect planned and published two more publications: Star Wars Gamer and Star Wars Insider. Adkison retired from the business in 2001.
Wizards' titles are richly dark, with fantastic illustrations that require heavy ink saturation. "Our art directors," Dunn comments, "under the eye of Group Publisher Johnny Wilson—ensure that each magazine has the right feel and pace for its individual readers."