Word coming from Wizard World employees (and ex-employees now) is that comic convention organiser Wizard World have just made half their office staff redundant. Is that an exaggeration? Possibly, but a number of names at the company have suddenly found themselves on the market, including Brian Walton, director of content and editor-in-chief of Wizard World, previously EIC of Nerdist…
…and Wizard Associate Editor, Luke Thompson, previously EIC of Topless Robot, both of whom were to head up their new content site and magazine.
In the wake of reported financial instability at the company, they are not the only ones to be worried.
The Company had a loss from operations of $4,454,857 and $1,182,246 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 and the year ended December 31, 2016, respectively. As of September 30, 2017, we had cash and working capital deficit (excluding the derivative liability) of $1,176,034 and $1,514,182, respectively. We have evaluated the significance of these conditions in relation to our ability to meet our obligations and have concluded that, due to these conditions, there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern through November 2018
Financial reports often report the worst possible interpretations to offset themselves from legal liabilities to investors, but this is pretty bad. The layoffs don’t help, and its recent 10-Q filing with the SEC shows that the company is insolvent by approximately $4.8 million. And the cancellation of many shows can’t have helped future prospects.
Blame is being placed by some on John Maatta, the former COO of CW who was appointed to replace then CEO, John Macaluso. There have been accusations of high-salary hires from personal friends of Maatta in the entertainment industry, to shifts in the core business model, which was the backbone to the much-emulated success of Wizard by other major live entertainment venues. And so we have staff and budget cuts, delayed payments to suppliers, and even a decorators chasing payment for services rendered.
This weekend seemed to have seen a successful show at Wizard World Austin. But it will need more than that — and Chairman Paul Kessler of Bristol Capital Advisors, who has invested a large sum of money and stocks in the company, will need something out of it all.