An American digest-size fantasy and science fiction magazine published between 1952 and 1980, Fantastic was first published Ziff-Davis as fantasy companion to Amazing Stories and Fantastic
Adventures. Initial sales of the new magazine were good and it was subsequently decided cease publication of Fantastic Adventures in 1953 so as to focus on Fantastic. When sales fell during the mid-1950s editor Howard Browne refocused the magazine towards science fiction rather than fantasy, but with less interest in that genre he allowed the quality to slide.
Browne was eventually succeeded by Paul W. Fairman, but it was not until the early 1960s, under the editorship of Cele Goldsmith, that Fantastic (as well as Amazing) was re-invigorated. Goldsmith brought in many new writers and gave the magazine both a new look and feel. She also helped to nurture the early careers of a number of writers, including Roger Zelazny and Ursula K. Le Guin. Goldsmith was unable to increase the circulation of either magazine, however, and thus in 1965 Fantastic and Amazing were sold to Sol Cohen.
Under Cohen and editor Joseph Wrzos Fantasic, became a reprint-only magazine. The move was financially successful, but raised the ire of the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America. Cohen was eventually forced to abandon this policy and by the early 1970s new editor Ted White had begun commissioning new works. With only a small budget for fiction White attempted to attract readers with artwork from artists who had made their names in comics. He also managed to combine new fiction from emerging writers with stories from well-known writers which had been rejected by the other markets. White was unable to halt the slide in circulation, however, and in 1978 Cohen sold out his half of the business to partner, Arthur Bernhard.
Shortly after Berhard took over control of the company, Ted White resigned. He was replaced by Elinor Mavor, but within two years a decision was made close down Fantastic. Berhard then merged it with Amazing, which had always had slightly higher circulation.