The journal Critical Public Health started life as Radical Community Medicine, a partial honorific to Rudolf Virchow’s own century-earlier journal titled Radical Medicine. Edited in Liverpool in the UK by Alex Scott-Samuel and resembling more a newsletter than an academic serial, the publication gave first voice to what would become identified as ‘critical’ in public health. One issue of Radical Community Medicine, devoted to debate about the future of public health in the UK, illustrated well the demands of the critical public health movement of the time (RCM 1986). Contributors covered the debate about professional power in medicine; demands for participative democracy and active community engagement in public health; and calls for action on the determinants of health. Articles urged public health practitioners to become activists around those issues that are core to providing health for all, such as maternity rights, housing and tobacco control. A small selection of its covers, crafted in the woodblock tradition of activist artists by Cliff Harper (to some resembling at times, if still elegantly, the socialist realism then prominent in radical aesthetics), captures the headlines of many of these debates.