If you're a millennial who spent her adolescence without Instagram or the BTS and K-POP fever and relied entirely on teenage girls' magazines for entertainment, you'll undoubtedly be familiar with the renowned "W.I.T.C.H" magazine.
The W.I.T.C.H. mag was a phenomenon that will be very difficult to recreate. This magazine of Italian origin, sold in more than 60 countries with more than a million copies sold each month, was an addiction for young teenage girls at the time. The magazine began its publication in the early 2000s and continued its appearance until 2012. Despite the changes in publishing and copyright matters, the magazine was able to maintain its loyal audience, for whom W.I.T.C.H. became a style of life rather than just a magazine. It’s the European manga of the 2000s if one wants to describe it. So, what made this magazine a great success among its audience? And what was so special about W.I.T.C.H mag that made it one of the best-selling teen magazines of its time?
Like other manga and comic series, W.I.T.C.H. worked by "narrative arcs", it was enough to go through the first one to be completely hooked on it. W.I.T.C.H. stands for the five main characters: Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, and Hay. The W.I.T.C.H. are five heroines between the ages of thirteen and fourteen who are given the difficult task of protecting the parallel world of Meridian, the boundary between good and evil, and preventing evil from spilling over into our world. Each girl has a power associated with one of the four elements, except Will who has the most powerful force of all: the power to channel these elements, the absolute energy inspired by the scream.
The story was simple, yet very successful. The mastery of drawing was excellent, the drawings with their vivid and harmonious attractive colours allowed a real immersion in the intimacy of the characters and their emotions. The extreme dramatization of the sentimental scenes was very well executed, additionally to the action scenes that were lively like illustrated. It was a real addiction for teenagers who always wanted more of this perfect cocktail combining all the important elements in any teenage girl’s life, from colourful customs to friendship moments to the beautiful romantic stories all together to create a beautiful science fiction story full of magical powers. With each monthly issue, the faithful readers also waited impatiently for their surprise gift. This was a very successful marketing move that contributed to the great magazine's success. The French edition I was buying at the time contained other articles alongside the comics section related to topics and tips for their specific audience, namely teenage girls. As a result, more than 100 000 copies were sold in France and Germany monthly. In Italy, more than 200 000 copies were sold every month. The company revealed that the W.I.T.C.H. comic book series sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and generated more than 100 million dollars.
After this great success, many fans, even younger ones, wondered about the fate of their favourite teenage magazine. So, for those who didn't follow up on the course of events, it is to be noted that the mag appeared as a cartoon in 2004. However, despite the fans' big excitement, this animated adaptation was a disappointment for many of them. The characters were physically represented differently, their costumes didn't match the ones in the magazine, and it's especially the scenario's big changes that did not appeal to many fans. Many revealed that they stopped reading the magazine towards the end as they didn't find the same pleasure following the characters as they used to in the first editions. In 2012, the magazine changed its name once again to Disney Girl, marking the end of the adventure for the faithful collectors of W.I.T.C.H. magazine.
Maybe it's the magazine that failed to maintain the attention of its readers for a longer period, or maybe the most loyal readers and followers of the magazine since its launch have simply just grown up out of it. Whatever the reason behind W.I.T.C.H.'s disappearance from the scene, no one can deny the big influence it had on the teen years of many girls. Some of us have kept our W.I.T.C.H collections until now, and most of us still have a nostalgic emotional attachment to this incredible phenomenon, maybe to its characters, or maybe just to that young dreamy period of our lives.