We’ve received a few questions about rumoured changes on the next issue of Oh Comely (issue 51), so we felt it was time to tell the story. It feels a little strange to be talking too much about issue 51, which doesn’t go on sale till the end of October, as issue 50, which we are very proud of, has only just hit the newsstands. But questions are being asked and we wanted to answer them.
Fifty issues of any magazine is a bit of a milestone, especially for an indie that doesn’t have the security of a big company around it. Oh Comely was started by three friends – Liz, Des and Rosanna in 2010 – as a reaction to the mainstream glossy women’s magazines that still dominated the newsstands back then. Three years ago they were going to close it, so three different friends – Lisa, Guy and David – took it over to keep Oh Comely going and take it into its next phase.
Since the magazine’s launch there’s been a revolution in independent publishing and there are hundreds of amazing independent magazines to choose from. Take a look at our indie newsstand, picsandink.com to see a small but growing selection. Oh Comely’s role has changed during that time, from being a single light in the darkness to now being one of the longest running and biggest of the new wave of independent magazines.
Every issue of Oh Comely is different and that’s how it should be. We start with 132 blank pages and fill them every two months – that’s our job! Of course, we have some regular features and a consistent look and style to our pages, and we have a tone and a voice. Oh Comely promises to be curious, playful and thoughtful. We also promise to be non-judgmental, inclusive and a place for new writers and illustrators to emerge and be discovered. This to us is Oh Comely and what we think is important about it right now will still be important in the next issue. You may have your own view on what makes Oh Comely special but that’s the magical thing about finding a magazine that speaks to you.
So, what will change. The biggest change is that we have a new editor, Ceri, who is already working on issue 51. She is bringing some new ideas to Oh Comely. The last time we changed editor was on issue 38, and then we brought in illustrated covers, before that every issue had featured a photograph of a woman on the cover. We also brought in a new shopping section at the front and gradually increased our coverage of gender issues.
From issue 51 we want to better reflect the changing times we live in. People seem to want to buy less things, own less and focus more on personal development, so we are going to take out many of the shopping pages, and replace them with longer reads and more stories of personal growth. You’ll hear more stories of women (and men) who look inside themselves and out at the world to learn more about themselves and our times. The fashion and beauty pages won’t be in every issue, we’ll only run them when we have something really interesting and relevant to say, and we’ll try to make them real and affordable when we do. We want to be more responsible, so we are going to switch from using plastic bags on our subscriber copies to a potato starch-based wrap which is fully compostable. The magazine itself will be physically slightly larger, which is more efficient to print and produces less waste.
We love the way Oh Comely looks and feels, and Cathy, who has art directed Oh Comely since 2017 will continue to make everything look beautiful. We’ll also still be creating illustrated covers, although we are exploring working with just one illustrator for the next six issues to really develop a story with the covers – something not many magazines do right now. Some of the regulars will stay too – “Three questions with”, “How we met”, “What I stand for” and your first person stories, for example.
…and one more thing, the name! We aren’t changing it, but we are going to get more friendly and curious and so we think ‘Oh’ on its own works much better (just like we already use on our social media channels) and so you’ll see less ‘Comely’ but your magazine will still be just as beautiful and hopefully even more useful.
We are so excited about the next chapter in the story of Oh Comely and we’ll share more as we get closer to our print deadline. But for now, issue 50 is out there to buy and make the most of, so for the next eight weeks let’s enjoy every page.
The Oh Comely Team.