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Let's Remember Bob Guccione for Omni Mag, Not Just the Porn

Illustration for article titled Lets Remember Bob Guccione for Omni Mag, Not Just the Porn

Perhaps most famous for smut-mag Penthouse, we'd rather remember Guccione for the tech/sci-fi magazine Omni, which hasn't been seen on newsagents' shelves since 1995. It was hugely inspirational for its time, when robots, space and gadgets were on everyone's minds.


It was founded in 1978 when PopSci was already over a century old., but you just have to Google "Omni magazine" to see the number of sites, blogs and articles dedicated to its memory. The first-ever issue, published in October of '78, featured an interview with the physicist Freeman Dyson. Going on, though, the title had terrific success when it published stories from the likes of William Gibson, William S. Burroughs and even Stephen King. Indeed, it was the first time Gibson's Johnny Mnemonic was seen, in 1981, before it was turned into a movie in 1995.

It wasn't just sci-fi literature that Omni was fascinated by. They also helped H.R. Giger get his name out, along with many other artists.


Sadly, Omni didn't last quite as long as PopSci, or even get published as long as Wired's been running for (Wired is just a few months older now). Guccione, a boy from Italy done good (though I'm not sure his Nonna would've been too thrilled with Penthouse) passed away yesterday, at the age of 79, from cancer.

Check out the full collection of Omni covers at the French site Collectors' Showcase, and share your memories of Omni below in the comments. [WSJ and Collectors' Showcase]

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You know how, based on the way it was bound, the size, and the glossiness, you could look at a stack of stuff and immediately identify a Playboy or Penthouse in the middle of it? Well, Omni was bound, sized, and printed the same way. I still remember wandering the halls of HS one day and having a teacher grab my Omni out of a stack of books and get halfway into a pornography lecture before she realized she was holding a science fiction mag.

I looked forward to Omni every month.