Wagner had a truly unique way of looking at horror fiction, and no one who collects this material has equaled his ability to choose the finest of the works of short fiction to be published each year. And, of course, the industry itself has changed. Almost all of the magazines are gone, and even the little fanzines and micro-zines have, like Wagner himself, faded into oblivion.
I really miss that yearly collection. More than anything else from the days of my youth, I miss that volume that would hit the shelves every year. I'd go to the bookstores and check every week until it arrived. I have every single one of that series. Including the six that preceded Wagner's arrival, mostly edited by Gerald Page. Mr. Page did a good job, too, with some memorable hits in his own tenure at the editor's desk. But nobody topped Wagner.
I miss DAW's Year's Best Horror. And I miss the professional presence of Karl Wagner. I wish they were still with us.
Alas, time passes. And everything, and everyone, eventually heads for extinction.
Two of my editions of DAW's YEAR'S BEST HORROR. I have them all.