Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

Stack o' NatLamps

Is Your Name Tim Murphy?

November 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments: 1 »

I tried answering the question you emailed me recently, but your email address is no good, so my reply could not be delivered. If you want the answer, try again from a valid email address.

If your name is not Tim Murphy, never mind.

Matty Simmons, R.I.P.

May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments: 2 »

Former publisher of the National Lampoon Matty Simmons has died at the age of 93. Besides helping to found the magazine with editors Henry Beard, Doug Kenney, and Rob Hoffman, Simmons was responsible for taking National Lampoon to Hollywood with the hit comedy Animal House and the Vacation movie series.

New York Times Obituary

LA Times Obituary

New York magazine

Happy 50th, National Lampoon!

April 4, 2020 | Permalink | Comments: 2 »

I can’t believe I forgot about this, but someone in one of the comment threads reminded me. Fifty years ago this month, the first issue of National Lampoon hit the stands. (Read the inside story of that first cover here.)

National Lampoon number 1, April 1970 "Sexy Cover" issue

So far, I haven’t seen any notice of this in the media. But it’s not surprising since, as a brand, National Lampoon is practically dead, and the magazine has not been published since the embarrassing November 1998 (Failure) issue over twenty years ago.

There have been a few events in recent years, such as the National Lampoon documentary and the Doug Kenney biopic, not to mention the impending release of anthologies of Trots & Bonnie and B.K. Taylor’s NatLamp comics this year, but no “gala” events that I know of.

National Lampoon actually did celebrate their 50th anniversary once before with issue number 50 in May 1974, with the cover printed in metallic gold ink. Too bad the magazine isn’t around to celebrate fifty years.

Anyway, happy 50th, National Lampoon, wherever you are!

NatLamp Subscription Promos

April 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments: None »

Reader Cullum Rogers, who runs the amazing Magazine Parody website, recently did a detailed post about a NatLamp subscription promo from the late seventies that was probably not widely seen. It’s a parody of the typical Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes offer that was so ubiquitous back then. As a NatLamp subscriber at the time, I probably never saw this (that I can recall anyway), so I found the post pretty interesting—and informative beyond the promo itself.

National Lampoon’s subscription promos were usually funny (or meant to be). One renewal promo I remember from around 1974 took the form of a series of ransom letters, one of which I happen to still have:

Subscription renewal "ransom" note

Trots & Bonnie Collection to be Published

February 13, 2020 | Permalink | Comments: 3 »

A collection of Shary Flenniken’s Trots and Bonnie strips is coming out in September. More info at Amazon and Penguin/Random House.

(Thanks to Joseph for the tip.)

Gahan Wilson, R.I.P.

November 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments: 2 »

Cartoonist Gahan Wilson, who was a frequent contributor to National Lampoon, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. The announcement appeared this morning on the fundraising site set up by his stepson Paul Winters to help pay for his memory care.

Update: Gahan’s New York Times obituary.

B.K. Taylor Book to Be Published

November 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments: None »

At long last, a collection of B.K. Taylor’s National Lampoon comics will be published. For years, readers of my site have asked about such a collection and it’s finally happening.

Taylor created both “The Appletons” and “Timberland Tales” comic strips which appeared for over a decade in the Funny Pages section of National Lampoon, generally alternating between the two from issue to issue.

The book will be published by Fantagraphics Books in March 2020 but is available for pre-order now.

Michael Gross Tribute

November 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments: None »

Reader David Beckham sent me a link to a nice video tribute he made about Michael Gross. (Gross died in 2015 of cancer.)

Gahan Wilson Interview from 2011

May 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments: None »

I’ve been on the email list for the Gahan Wilson Fundraiser (see below or here), and today the guy running it, Gahan’s step-son Paul, posted a link to an interview with Gahan from back in 2011 for the Mr. Media podcast. It’s mostly about his relationship with Playboy magazine, but National Lampoon comes up a few times. You can listen to the interview on YouTube.

Randall Enos on the Origin of Chicken Gutz

May 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments: 1 »

A drawing of Chicken Gutz by Randy Enos.

Randall Enos is a regular contributor to cartoonist Daryl Cagle’s website. Recently, he told the story of the origin and development of his Chicken Gutz comic strip (a personal favorite of mine), which appeared in the Funny Pages section of National Lampoon starting in the early ’70s.

Thanks to reader Michael Simmons for the link.

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