When NATIONAL LAMPOON magazine first hit the stands back in the 70s, I was a regular reader. Admittedly, some of the jokes were a little over this teenager's head, but for the most part it was miles more "sophisticated" than say, MAD or CRACKED (which were and are my first two favorites, SICK being 4th on the list after NL). Also, PLAYBOY cartoonist Gahan Wilson and Frank Frazetta were contributors, and Catherine nee Jeffrey Jones debuted her (back then, "his") "Idyll" character in its pages.
There was also a sprinkling of nudity and horror once in a while. Illustrating the latter is this example from an auction that was held just recently. It is a page of original art by cartoonist and humorist, Drew Friedman (the son of Bruce Jay Friedman, author and editor who contributed fiction to PLAYBOY and other men's magazines) that satirizes Bela Lugosi's morphine addiction. While one may think a humorous view of this topic to be in the worst of bad taste, it is actually done with a concurrently sympathetic tone.
When the gavel dropped, the piece sold for $6,572.50.
Here are the details from the auction lot:
Drew Friedman National Lampoon #1/1986 "Bela Lugosi's Scariest Role" Complete 1-Page Story Original Art (National Lampoon, Inc., 1986). A benchmark in the long collaborative stretch of brothers Josh Alan and Drew Friedman, respectively writer and artist. This stellar page chronicles the troubled career of Hollywood actor Bela "Dracula" Lugosi in satiric yet compassionate terms. Amazing to consider how many of millions of tiny dots of ink go into just one of these incredibly detailed panels. Signed at lower margin. Ink (pointillism, or stipple, technique) over graphite on Bristol board, with Zipatone shading film and typeset lettering. Image area, 7.5" x 11.5", framed out to 17" x 20". Excellent condition.