In the autumn of 1920 two students, Keith Crombie and Joseph Easton McDougall, expressed interest in starting a literary magazine; they were joined by James Cowan and Clarke Ashworth who wanted to start a humour magazine, an idea popular in North American universities at the time. They soon attracted more followers with the result that "Toronto's college comic, the generic term for such products at the time,..started with thirty-five editors, no business staff, and about the same amount of working capital." The first issue of The Goblin appeared in February 1921. Priced at 20¢, "It was an immediate success. It had a first run of 2,000 copies followed by a reprint of 1,000 both of which sold out in a day….By November, 1921, sales had reached 8,500, 2,500 more than the undergraduate body at the time." Its cover, layout, artwork, and advertising set it apart and provided a professional look that made the whole package attractive.