They say you always remember your first time. In my case, that apparently means monthly printed publications:
- Sky & Telescope — my Mother took me to a somewhat-sleazy newsstand in downtown Austin Texas to pick up a copy, ~1959, when I got my first telescope.
- Chess Life — the first was ~1963, when my brother and I began playing chess by mail. (The magazine merged with Chess Review in 1969 to become Chess Life & Review for a couple of decades.)
- Scientific American — Roughly ~1964 — a Martin Gardner column about the calculus of finite differences sticks in my mind from before 7th grade, for instance — but after having read so many back issues and reprints the original encounter with the magazine itself is foggy.
- Analog — I almost bought the February 1964 issue of John W. Campbell's science-fiction 'zine off an H.E.B. grocery-store rack in South Austin. That month featured part of Frank Herbert's Dune along with the story "Permanent Implosion" by Dean McLaughlin, which I skimmed while standing there waiting for my Mom to finish shopping. But alas, I put it back and didn't purchase my first Analog until two years later, at a U-tote-M convenience store in northeast Austin. That was the August 1966 issue, featuring memorable stories by Randall Garrett ("Too Many Magicians") and John Berryman ("Something to Say"). Later I picked up used copies of countless earlier issues on sale at the local public library.
- Playboy — Easily answered: the May 1966 issue is etched on my visual cortex. It featured centerfold Dolly Read, and was discovered (or rather, uncovered) in a magazine rack in my late Uncle Lloyd's living room.
- The Magazine of Fantasy — Science Fiction — the November 1968 issue (cover story, Keith Laumer's "Once There Was a Giant") was the first issue of F&SF to leap off the shelf into my hand.
And before there was an Internet, there was Galaxy, and Popular Science, and Worlds of IF, and Electronics Illustrated, and The New Yorker, and QST, and ...