Men's magazines: an A to Z

Men's magazines, lads magazines, glamour magazines, pin-up magazines and top-shelf magazines covered alphabetically. This page addresses Nine to Playboy, via Parade and Penthouse. On other pages:

Introduction
  1. 3D titles to Boys Toys
  2. Carnival to Cut
  3. Deluxe to Esquire
  4. Fable to Front
  5. The Gentleman's Magazine to The Humorist
  6. Ice to London Opinion
  7. Man to Maxim
  8. Mayfair to Monkey
  9. Nine to Playboy (this page)
  10. Razzle to Switched On
  11. T3 to Zoo Weekly

 

 

Nine Back to top

Nine Magazine Ltd; Published under licence by PML, London. Oct/Nov 2002-?
Editor C. Cushnie was 'committed to producing an innovative, contentious and provocative publication'. He went on: 'we are about wine, women and song ... Every issue we will bring you some of the hottest black women Britain has to offer...' Nine carried plenty of flesh but not topless.


Nuts weekly mens magazine
IPC set out to create a new weekly sector for men's magazines with Nuts

Striker in Nuts
Poster promoting Striker football cartoon strip in Nuts

 

Nuts Back to top

IPC Media, January 2004-
IPC gave away a million free copies of Nuts at branches of WH Smith and sent out copies with media trade magazines to launch its men's weekly and establish a new sector. Launch costs for Nuts were estimated at £8m. The next week's issue (23 January) was sold for 60p, half the aimed-for regular price. The weeklies Nuts and Zoo have since taken away younger readers from the men's monthlies and also hit tabloid papers such as the Sun.

In the 29 Jan 2010 issue, Nuts relaunched with the 3D computer-generated football cartoon strip Striker, which had appeared in both the daily Sun newspaper and in the launch issue of rival men's weekly Zoo before being launched as a standalone comic that closed in 2004. The addition was part of a £500,000 promotional push at 49 football grounds across the UK ahead of the World Cup in South Africa. Nuts editor Dominic Smith said: '[Readers] said they wanted more from Nuts. They told us they love our classic mix of girls, sport, news, humour, gadgets and gear. The new look delivers a fresher, more modern feel to reinforce that mix, while introducing a new range of must-read editorial franchises every week, including an all-new Striker.” An advertising campaign in football grounds included six-sheet posters and TV screens in washrooms and concourses designed to reach 1.8 million football fans.
IPC profile
Breakdown of Nuts first issue

Striker comic closes


Options for Men first issue cover december 1984
Steven Spielberg on the first issue of Options for Men as a supplement to Options in December 1984OM mens magazine cover april 1985
F1 racing driver Niki Lauda on the cover in April 1985, with Michael Caine in December, below
OM mens magazine 1985 December michael caine

 

OM/Options for Men [closed] Top

Carlton, December 1984-December 1988
Reed subsidiary Carlton put out Options for Men as a supplement to women’s monthly Options in December 1984. Options for Men covered fashion, motoring, sport and entertainment. The company had hopes of a standalone quarterly in 1985, though this did not come about. However, OM went out as a supplement three times in 1985 and 1986 and was quarterly in 1987, which led the company again to talk of a separate launch in 1989, but it did not see the light of day. Sally O'Sullivan was editor.
IPC profile



First issue of underground magazine Oz, above. In April 2006, a copy sold on eBay for £360

The School Kids Issue triggered an obscenity trail

Two covers for issue 37: Angry Oz and A World of Young Love
The last issue (issue 48) carried a photograph of the staff, naked. Felix Dennis is on the top right

 

Oz Back to top

January 1967-November 1973
Oz was an underground magazine set up in Australia originally by editor Richard Neville and artist Martin Sharp. They came to 'swinging London' and brought the concept with them. Although not strictly a men's magazine, it is included here as the training ground for Maxim founder Felix Dennis. The magazine broke all the publishing and design rules and was highly creative and influential. The cover ran around the front and back of the School Kids Issue, for example, and issue 37 (September 1971) could be read from either end as A World of Young Love (portraying sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll) or Angry Oz. In 1971, Oz was the subject of an infamous obscenity trail that held Briton in thrall. Three men - Richard Neville Felix Dennis (later founder of Maxim publishing empire) and Jim Anderson were prosecuted for conspiracy under the UK's Obscene Publications Act 1959 over 'sexually perverted cartoons and articles' in the School Kids Issue (issue 28, May 1970). Sentences of up to 15 months sparked protests from John Lennon and many others. The convictions were quashed on appeal. Oz sales rose to 80,000 but the magazine closed in 1973 (issue 48). Official papers released in 1999 showed that the authorities held an inquiry into the accusation that police were prosecuting hippie publications such as Oz and the Little Red Schoolbook while Soho pornographers paid bribes to avoid jail. The resulting anti-corruption drive saw the jailing of the senior officer responsible for the Oz prosecution; 400 other officers were imprisoned or left the force. See Tony Palmer's book Trials of Oz for details.
Gerry Carlin articles on Oz
Weed's Oz links and covers


Parade mens magazine 1961 august
Parade in 1961 and 1973 below
Parade mens magazine 13 March 1965 Raquel Welch
Parade in March 1965 had a pin-up colour centre spread of actresses, such as Raquel Welch, but there were no topless pictures

Parade escort august 1967
Parade Escort from August 1967 appears to have been a special consisting of stories and pin-ups (many in colour) and an A3 pin-up poster. It cost 5/- for 84 pages and was perfect-bound

Parade 30 december 1972
Parade in 1972 had become a far more raunchy men's magazine with a naked colour centrefold and other topless pictures

 

Parade Back to top

City Magazines/Williams Publishing/GSP, 1958-
Blighty
the pocket war-time humorous / pin-up weekly men's magazine, was relaunched several times with the Parade name, dropping the Blighty name in 1960:

  • Blighty Parade (6 Dec 1958 - 7 Nov 1959. City Magazines, 45 St Pancras Way, London NW1; printed by Eric Bemrose, Long Lane, Liverpool 9). Larger format, colour cover and centre-spread colour pin-up (used both men and women). Marketed itself as featuring pin-ups, cartoons and stories. Published on Mondays.
  • Parade and Blighty (14 November 1959 - 26 December 1959). New name, same publisher and format.
  • Parade (3 December 1960-). By March 1965, City Magazines had moved to 167-170 Fleet St, London. Later at Aldwych House, 81 Aldwych, London WC2B 4HL. Marketed itself as 'The man's magazine women love to read.'
  • In 1965-67, the weekly Parade title was lent to many co-operative specials with City's monthlies: Parade Carnival, Carnival Parade, Parade Escort
  • By 1972, publisher was Williams Publishing in Leicester with editorial offices at 249-289 Cricklewood Broadway, London NW2 6NX. Still printed by Eric Bemrose. It became a monthly.
  • In 1974, Parade was relaunched by Soho-based Top Sellers Ltd as a Penthouse-style title with Roger Cook as editor. It used full-frontal shots and nipples were shown on the covers. The numbering started from volume 1. The line 'Not for sale to persons under 18 years of age' was printed under the masthead.
  • By 1978 it was under the control of a different company, General Book Distribution, but still at the same address (Warner House, 135 Wardour Street, London W1V 4QA).
  • It was later published by Gold Group International (owners of the Ann Summers chain) under the subdivision GoldStar Publication as a hardcore publication.
  • In 2003, Parade was bought by Andrew McIntyre and the company rebranded as GSP Press. GSP also publishes Whitehouse and Rustler from Warrington and has a distribution arm, which imports US adult titles, in Whyteleafe, Surrey.

Parade and Blighty mens magazine cover 1959 November 2
Parade and Blighty (21 November 1959) in the evolution of Blighty into Parade with Jayne Mansfield on the cover. This was the second issue under the new name
 

Parade and Blighty [closed] Top

City Magazines, 45 St Pancras Way, NW1. Printed by Eric Bemrose, Long Lane, Liverpool 9.

The issue shown here (21 November 1959; no 1041) was the second under the title Parade & Blighty. Jayne Mansfield was on the cover. An inside feature showed Claire Gordon on the set of the 1959 film Beat Girl as David Farrar's maid (the film also starred Christopher Lee and Oliver Reed); frequent cover pin-up Shirley Ann Field was also in the film. The colour centre-spread pin-up was of Carol Stevens. There was also a comic strip series, 'Claws of Death'. It cost 6d and ran to 40 pages

see Parade

Strand cigarettes advert
'You're never alone with a Strand. The cigarette of the moment.' Parade & Blighty (5 November 1960) ran a half-page advert for Strand cigarettes. This campaign backfired because, although actor Terence Brooks and the theme music to the TV campaign became famous, sales were poor. Strands were withdrawn when it became clear the public associated the cigarettes with being lonely


paris magazine 1935 October (French)
Paris Magazine from October 1935 with an excellent colour cover

Paris Life
Paris Life, a US title, from March 1952. This was an Americanised version of La Vie Parisienne. That French title also inspired the influential UK title London Life

 

Paris Magazine [closed]

Paris Magazine was a popular French title with excellent production values - the issue shown here dates from 1935. Such titles influenced the British market; others were distributed in the UK; and the content was sometimes republished in English by British publishers


Penthouse mens magazine first issue cover march 1965
Penthouse was launched by Bob Guccione and made a fortune for Richard Desmond

 

Penthouse Back to top

Penthouse/Northern & Shell/Portland, March 1965-
Upmarket top-shelf mens magazine. Launched by Bob Guccione, a US photographer who had worked on Playboy. Penthouse was the first of the UK titles to adopt a Playboy format, carrying lifestyle and mainstream articles among the pin-ups. Seen as more aggressive than Playboy, in its April 1970 issue, Penthouse showed a woman's pubic hair. Almost all the other upmarket top-shelf magazines quickly followed suit.

The first issue was launched from a studio on London's Fulham Road and was published simultaneously in the US from a New York office. It cost 5s for 76 pages. Among three topless photo shoots (including Denise Johns - 'an 18-year-old poetess who dwells lightly amid all the confusion of Camden Town' - on the cover and as the first centre spread 'pet of the month') were articles by Wolf Mankowitz, Sir Julian Huxley and Gerald Kersh. Photographs were by Adrian Hamilton, Murray Irving and Roy Cuthbert. Like many magazines of the time, Penthouse was a stapled title that interleaved cheap uncoated paper among its glossy pages. It also rationed the use of colour sections – more than half of the pages were in black and white.

Very successful internationally. Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell/Portland group - now publishers of OK! and the Express papers - made its money by taking on the Penthouse franchise in the UK before expanding into niches such as Asian Babes and Forty-Plus. An issue in 1984 was reported as selling 5.3 million copies. The group also launched a CD-Rom version and website.

In 1998, in the face of the threat from websites and lad's mags such as Maxim in the US, the magazine became more sexually explicit. The UK edition, now under US control, tried a less-explicit route using fashion photographers to produce an 'adult magazine for grown-ups'. Both strategies failed and in 2003 the company filed for bankruptcy and the title was put up for sale. It was bought up and the title is still published by Penthouse Media Group. Total circulation is below 350,000.
Northern & Shell profile


Photo 23 Pamela Green cover by Harrison Marks
Photo issue 23 cost 1/6 for 56 pages, with a colour cover and centre spread

 

Photo [closed] Back to top

Axtell Pubs Ltd, Axtell House, Warwick Street, London W1. Blocks by Viaduct Process, Printed by Dyson Bros, Peterborough. Ed: John E Cross. Photo declared itself to be 'an international magazine of photographic art' - a euphemism for a glamour pin-up magazine.

The cover and centre spread of the issue here were by glamour photographer Harrison Marks. The issue included a profile of model agent Pat Glover ('Glamour is his business'), who had earlier fame as England's youngest ballroom demonstrator, aged eight. His 'seven steps to fame for a young aspiring model' were: common sense; individual personality; good grooming; dress sense; make-up; neat hair; and elocution. The cover model was Pamela Green. (Back cover advert was for Beat magazine – ‘Britain’s fastest selling music magazine’.)

Photo used good quality gloss paper throughtout and to support colour on the outer cover and centre spread.

‘Through these pages pass the most beautiful girls in the world,’ declared the contents page.


Photo Bits 18 January 1908
Photo Bits issue 499 on 18 January 1908. Cover cartoon by 'The Snark'
Photo bits cartoon
Detail from Photo Bits cartoon

 

Photo Bits [closed] Back to top

Printed and published for the Phoenix Press Ltd, Fleet Street, London EC. 32pp. 1d. Weekly on Fridays. 9 July 1898-9 Dec 1916. Men's humour
Cartoons, humorous stories, strips, jokes, glamour photographs and anecdotes made up the contents of Photo Bits. The size was 28cm x 21cm.

The back two pages were taken up by classified adverts - mainly for 'rubber goods', nose improvements, moustache forcers (Brazilian and otherwise), tattooing, books for the married, amusing postcards and artistic photographs.

Folded into Bits of Humour


Photoplay May 1968
Photoplay in 1968

 

Photoplay [closed] Back to top

Although not strictly a men's magazine, Photoplay relied for much of its appeal on pin-ups of film stars.

Film & TV magazines


Pin-up men's magazine
Nothing subtle about the title of this 1950s Pin-up magazine

 

Pin-up [closed] Back to top

Padiham, Lancaster. 1958?-
Pocket pin-up men's magazine.


Playboy men's magazine in 1953
Playboy : a copy of the first issue sold on eBay for $2,050 in September 2006

Playboy april 1963
Playboy (1996 cover) added good writing to a pin-up formula to lead men's magazines into an international era, as far as the Ukraine, below
Playboy men's magazine  Ukraine

Playboy 45th anniveersary cover MonroePlayboy 's 45th anniversary cover in 1999: the image was made up of images from previous issues

 

Playboy Back to top

Hugh Hefner Enterprises, 1953-
Hugh Hefner's Playboy launched in 1953 in the US, selling for 50c. Marilyn Monroe was on the front cover and featured again, naked, inside. Playboy thrived in the US and around the world.

Pipe-smoking Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, was parodied by the Pink Floyd in the comic programme that accompanied their 1994 concert tour.

In its October 2005 issue, Loaded branded itself as ‘The Playboy UK issue’ and ran promotions for the launch of the Playboy UK website.




Playgirl magazine used its cover image in an unusual way, with the front cover designed as a 'teaser' for the whole image

 

Playgirl [closed] Top

L Miller & Son, Hackney Road, London; printed by 20th Century Press, London SE1. 1967?-?
The first issue (2/6; 56pp) of this pocket pin-up magazine wrapped the image around the cover. Colour was used for the outer cover but the inside covers were spot blue. The middle four pages were in colour and devoted to ‘Torrid Tina’ with a montage centre-spread. A lot of the content - pin-ups, stories and cartoons - clearly came from the US (the cartoons were from the Chicago Tribune). There was a section at the back entitled ‘Home Grown’ of readers’ photographs (1 guinea was paid for each).

L Miller also published Flix, a film title based on Hollywood pin-ups.

The first issue of Playgirl carried pictures of Lori Hilton, Gloria Pall, ‘artistic stripper’ Lili St Cyr and Maila (misspelt as Maile) Nurmi. Nurmi had played Vampira, a vampire-like TV hostess in the 1950s. After Vampira ended, Nurmi appeared in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

There is also a US magazine called Playgirl that was founded in 1973 as a Playboy for women.