The first issue of Tops magazine was published in January, 1936 by the Abbott Magic Novelty Company of Colon, Michigan. Percy Abbott served as the magazine's first editor as well as publisher. In 1940, Howard "Mel" Melson began editing Tops, and continued doing so until his death, in 1957. It was in 1957 that the magazine ceased publication. It was later succeeded, in 1961, by The New Tops, also published by Abbott's. Abbott's printed, bound and mailed both Tops and The New Tops in its own printing plant.