oz16covOz magazine was the most consistently colourful and innovative of the alternative underground magazines. Like most of these periodicals, printers were changed on a regular basis.There may have been economic reasons or possibly reasons connected to business  censorship considerations but this resulted in Oz appearing in a diversity of printed formats. There were tabloid newspaper versions on cheap newsprint pulp paper, but Oz usually stretched to  glossy  magazine quality paper and eventually settled  on a size which was approximately A4. Sometimes it appeared as an unstapled set of fold – out posters and at one point came out as a large tabloid – sized glossy magazine. Most copies of Oz now trade at high prices , especially for the earlier issues , as can be seen on Ebay. You can expect to pay a minimum of £30.00 per issue but this can rise easily to the hundreds of pounds {or dollars!}for mint quality particular printings. Some individual issues also hit the streets in a series of differently coloured covers, so they are also quite collectible.

It has to be remembered that Oz and IT appeared at a time when the newspapers of the day were really colour-free zones. Black and white was everywhere. Colour television didn’t really exist in the UK and Ireland until  well into the 1970’s. The only place so see colour films was the cinema and any printed matter with colour was usually a cheaply printed , poorly distributed comic from America or the UK.Most  British comics had colour covers , but with the  exceptions of publications like Boys’ World, TV 21st Century or the Eagle with their excellent painted artwork, the popular print world was a very black and white place.When OZ and IT appeared as adult -orientated fare , their use of colour made a real impact. They appeared to buttoned up suburban Mr.Jones, to be adult comics with some very risque material. Young adults with open minds may have felt to be part of a social revolution reading Oz in their dreary bedsits, but for the most part the magazines were treated as a bit of fun and games at the expense of  the uptight established order.oz15cov


There are three people associated with the creation of Oz ;Richard Neville, Felix Dennis and Jim Anderson There was also an influential graphic artist named Martin Sharpe who put his individual stamp on the 1960’s graphics and poster scene. He did the Dylan “Blowing Your Mind ” original cover for Oz #6 which was  also printed up as a very iconic,  collectible poster.he also drew many other Oz covers  and illustrations such as the two shown above.If you Google any of those names there’s much to read. In Felix Dennis’  case you literally couldn’t make it up. It’s akin to believing during the 1950’s that Ronald Reagan, a “B” grade movie actor at the time, would become President of America a couple of decades later. Truth being stranger than fiction, of course Reagan graduated from being the Woodstock hippies whipping boy  as Governor of  California to becoming the Commander in Chief of the USA in short order.

The poor beleaguered , downtrodden,  hippy, Felix  Dennis of the Oz Obscenity trial , also had his caterpillar to butterfly  moment of genesis and went on,mere months later,to become  a publishing giant , initially on the back of the Kung Fu  craze of 1973 and latterly as a publisher of Computer  magazines and “lad” mags. He now operates from a very high plateau as possibly the best selling poet cum millionaire publishing magnate in the UK. He gives out glasses of free,fine  wines at his poetry readings, has been the subject of several documentaries, appeared on Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs” {with a really excellent records choice and a very droll story to tell ..DOWNLOAD IT HERE http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/find-a-castaway} and has his Dennis Publishing  empire  straddling the world with over fifty titles as diverse as VIz and The World. He also sells a lot of poetry.

Below are some film clips from those days.


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