Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

305. Big “O” on Pedestal Cartoon

June 14, 2011

Q: Many years ago, in my youth, I saw a black and white cartoon that I wish I had saved. The cartoon showed a group of aboriginal types bowed down, worshipping a big “0” on a pedestal. There were two missionaries present and one said to the other, “Is nothing sacred?” Any idea if it was a NL cartoon? Gahan Wilson did s similar cartoon, but his was color and the people were more contemporary. On another website, someone commented that it may have been in the NL issue that had Che Guevara getting a pie in his face on the cover.

A: I can confirm that it wasn’t that issue. Other than that, I don’t know. If you, dear reader, know the answer, please post it in a comment.


Haven't found the cartoon in question (I swear it's a B. Kliban; we'll see) but I thought I'd pop in with a comment that I hope is sufficiently on-topic: there is, in fact, a cartoon in the "Is Nothing Sacred?" issue with that particular caption. I refer to Stan Mack's drawing of a young man discovered by his mother fornicating with an enormous apple pie. One wonders if Mack was the first to depict this sexual act, which later earned others so much money.


July 9, 2011 6:34 pm

Perhaps I can shed a little more darkness on this matter. Natlamp's January '73 (Is Nothing Sacred?) issue contains several uses of the title phrase, ie Benny David says it in Son-o-God Comics, but not Gahan Wilson's drawing. The Wilson cartoon appeared in Playboy in "the early seventies" (according to the April 2003 issue of Comic Book Artist, which reprints it in black 'n' white on page 60, apparently from the artist's original.) Costumes appear ancient, and pedestal is empty (no 0). A black 'n' white paperback collection of GW's work came out in '82 titled "Is Nothing Sacred?". It contains the same cartoon, but this time it looks murkier as tho shot from the printed Playboy page, which was probably in colour. I've never seen any other version of this joke.

—Poonmate of the Month

July 15, 2011 4:56 am

Thanks for the info, Poonmate. Sounds like the questioner may be misremembering.


August 3, 2011 10:37 pm

I'm pretty sure I've seen this one as a Far Side cartoon -- exactly as described, except I thought the two spectators were more like explorers / anthropologists than missionaries.


February 2, 2013 7:04 pm

I've been looking for this cartoon for years. It was the early 70's, but I could swear I saw it in either Look or Life Magazines. NOTHING was spelled out as a monolith and there were two explores in the rear asking that famous question.


February 17, 2013 12:18 pm

I recall this cartoon, pretty much as you describe it. This big O was like a roughly carved rock. I subscribed to both Mad Magazine and National Lampoon in the late 60's and early 70's, but recall this as having been in Mad Magazine.

—Dennis Corgiat

November 1, 2015 11:45 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Original material (excluding quoted material) © 1997-2024 Mark Simonson.
Mark's Very Large National Lampoon Site is not affiliated with National Lampoon or National Lampoon Inc.
Click here for the real thing.