Pat McCallum, Wizard Magazine and DC Comics Veteran, Has Died

Pat McCallum, the co-founder and longtime editor-in-chief of Wizard magazine, has passed away. Numerous former collaborators have confirmed McCallum's death, eulogizing him as generous, funny, and passionate. Former Wizard staffers have said that McCallum was the heart and soul of the magazine, and that while publisher Gareb Shamus was often the public face, it was McCallum who checked every article and every joke before they went out the door. After Wizard, McCallum went on to work for DC, where he served as an editor at DC Comics, where he worked from 2011 until 2019.

During his time at Wizard, McCallum was well-liked not just among the staff, but among comics industry professionals as well -- which was not always the case with Wizard staffers, given the magazine's larger-than-life personality and reputation. Later, McCallum established himself as a source of calm among the often-chaotic DC editorial staff.

Gareb Shamus, who co-founded Wizard with McCallum in 1991, wrote online that McCallum was "one of the most creative and imaginative people I have ever known. We connected recently and shared some funny stories and hoped we could more. We all created so much magic together." He called  McCallum's death "hard to process."

That comment came amid many others, on an article by longtime Wizard employee Andrew Kardon at his blog Mommy's Busy, Go Ask Daddy. Kardon's piece, "The Pat McCallum You Never Knew," is heartbreaking and inspiring, featuring photos of McCallum spending time with Kardon's kids, including an elaborate board game McCallum made for the boys. It is well worth a read.

"Stunned and saddened that we've lost Pat McCallum. If you ever liked anything about Wizard magazine or laughed at its pages, you had Pat to thank," Wizard writer Kiel Phegley wrote on Twitter. "When they fired him, he took everyone out to the bar, told us we were going to be okay & told me the funniest stories I'd ever heard."

"I got to work with Pat McCallum on Metal and Death Metal, and he was a kind, thoughtful and deeply funny person who often served as a port in the storm that could be DC then. He also really, really loved comics and comics is a little less without him," acclaimed writer Scott Snyder added.

Snyder's Batman successor, Tom King, also had kind words for McCallum.

"Pat McCallum has passed. A big, kind, nerdy, cool dude who edited and wrote Wizard Magazine and was an editor at DC," King tweeted. "He did a lot for comics for a lot of years, including making the call to let Joelle [Jones] and only Joelle design the [Catwoman] wedding dress. He was always on our side."

"The loss of Pat McCallum has crushed me today," wrote DC editor Chris Conroy. "I worked alongside him for years at DC, and he was one of the most deeply kind and gentle people I have ever met."  

In 1991, McCallum worked at a comic shop owned by Shamus's parents, and was responsible for the shop's in-store newsletter. Soon, he and Shamus decided to publish it as a magazine available for purchase to the general public, and Wizard was born. The magazine was a cultural juggernaut in the 1990s, outselling almost every comic book it reported on and becoming the main source for fanboy news in the years immediately preceding the modern internet.

Among the features McCallum created or championed was Twisted Mego Theatre -- later Twisted Toyfare Theatre, replacing the brand name of the toys it featured with that of Wizard's toy-centered spinoff magazine. That feature served as the inspiration for the long-running Adult Swim series Robot Chicken.

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Graphic designer and longtime Wizard contributor Steve Blackwell may have summed up the general feeling the best:

"He was our friend. My 'brother,'" Blackwell tweeted. "Many of us owe him more than we could ever repay. Genius. Hysterical. Deeply feeling. Boundlessly creative. Enormously generous. Pat was the heart & soul of Wizard. He let others take credit. But everything you love about Wizard came from him."