The Iconoclast, a widely read Texas magazine during the late 1890s, was first published in Austin in 1891 by William Cowper Brann. The first issue of the monthly appeared about August 1 and was funded in part by Texas newspaperman Charles A. Edwards. Because the paper was intended for national circulation, early press runs of each issue numbered 20,000, but the Austin venture failed in December when Edwards withdrew. The first issue of the quarterly Texas Iconoclast appeared in March 1892, and Brann turned the management of the publication over to Thomas M. Bowers, who directed the publication until its demise in 1894, when the name and the equipment of the publication reverted back to Brann. Brann sold the Iconoclast to William Sydney Porter (O. Henry) of Austin in March 1894. Porter reportedly published two numbers of the Iconoclast, although no copy of either issue is known to exist. Brann subsequently regained rights to the publication and reintroduced it in Waco in February 1895 as a monthly, Brann's Iconoclast. This latest venture was the most successful presentation of Brann's views on social, economic, political, and religious issues.
By 1897 national and foreign circulation had climbed to 98,000 copies. The Iconoclast was the only magazine of its type published west of the Mississippi River. It was the earliest and most successful of the small periodicals containing highly personalized opinion. Much of the popularity of the revised Iconoclast appeared to be directly attributable to the pugnacity of Brann, who received national publicity as a victim of physical attacks in October and November 1897, brought on by his outspoken commentary. Brann was fatally shot in April 1898, and editorial supervision of the May issue was assumed by W. H. Ward, Brann's business manager. He was succeeded as editor by G. B. Gerald. The publication was sold in July 1898 by Brann's widow, Carrie (Martin), to F. M. Marple and moved to Chicago in September 1898.