National Lampoon

Not So Stupid

When Mad magazine grew too tame for me I ended up reading National Lampoon, which grew out of the Harvard Lampoon and became a powerhouse of intelligent satire at a time when the USA needed an opposing voice. NatLamp parodied the presidencies through Vietnam, Kent State, Spiro Agnew, Watergate and every other social/ political disaster […]

Ink Is Ammunition!

Humour magazines once proliferated throughout the western world, from Le Canard Enchaine to Punch, Lilliput and Spy, they scored points with erudition, wit and yes, cruelty. There has pretty much always been a ‘journal bête et méchant‘ in France, and the same in the UK. I’ve written before about America’s National Lampoon, which had grown out […]

Anatomy Of A Comic Tale

Stories tend to reflect the times in which they were written, whether you mean them to or not. Before John Hughes became a film director, he was a creative director at the Leo Burnett ad agency’s Chicago branch. In 1979 he got snowed in and was stuck at home, so he wrote a short story for […]

It Came From Behind The Shelf No.5

I tend to get billed as the most English of writers, but there’s another side to this. From a very early age I was utterly immersed in US culture. I knew the rules of baseball and what a ‘rain check’ was. I could name most American cars and movie stars. I read Huck Finn and […]

Neglected Films No.4: “Savages”

Here’s a really lost movie. I remember seeing it at the Curzon Mayfair and being unable to get it out of my head for ages, even though it didn’t seem to make a shred of sense to me at the time. What I didn’t realise then is that it was in part an homage to […]

Weird Belated Easter Story Of The Week

Papers are reporting that the body of a man with his hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross and a crown of thorns on his head has been found in an abandoned South Korean stone quarry. The body had a wound to the side of the torso and nylon strings tied around the neck, […]

Early Influences 2: National Lampoon

When Mad grew tame I went to DC comics, then Marvel Comics (tougher), then underground comix (darker, ruder), then National Lampoon, which grew out of the Harvard Lampoon and became a powerhouse of intelligent satire at a time when the USA needed an opposing voice. National Lampoon parodied the presidencies through Vietnam, Kent State, Spiro […]