National Lampoon: 52¢ on the dollar
October 5, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Fans of National Lampoon Magazine circa 1970 might remember the iconic Trots and Bonnie comic strip. Recently Jeff Kay (previously) asked the cartoonist, Shary Flenniken for an email interview. She unexpectedly answered his questions in a 4 part video response. PT1 PT2 PT3 PT4

Mentioned: Her start at underground cartooning via Air Pirates Funnies leading to a famous lawsuit by The Walt Disney Company.
Her comic that ran in the Johns Hopkins Nursing Magazine.
Fondly mentioned while reminiscing about working at National Lampoon Magazine:
Michel Choquette and Doug Kenney
posted by TangerineGurl (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
This is excellent. A chum has an endearing obsession with Nat Lamp that I never really got, but I'm trying.
posted by subbes at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2011

I had never heard of Trots & Bonnie before. That's some good shit. From your link:

Celebration of Birth

Playing Doctor

Air Pirates itself deserves its own comprehensive FPP. (Prior ones are not so comprehensive.)
posted by jabberjaw at 5:21 PM on October 5, 2011

I loved Trots n Bonnie. This soooo cool!
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can't find it but there was a color episode where the gym teacher's dildo is stolen. So wrong, so funny.
posted by Ber at 6:15 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Got my dads collection as a kid. Loved getting more and more of the jokes as I got through junior high, high school, then college. Still search out old issues for the collection.

Trots and Bonnie was always a fave.
posted by sourwookie at 6:20 PM on October 5, 2011

And Pepsi made me feel funny like climbing the rope in gym class.
posted by sourwookie at 6:25 PM on October 5, 2011

"And Pepsi made me feel funny like climbing the rope in gym class."

We are still trying to figure out if Pepsi was a character based on the 4' dynamo that Shary admired. She became verklemmt discussing the loss of both in the interview.
It was touching. AN email for clarification has been sent.
posted by TangerineGurl at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2011

For a few years in the early-to-mid 1970s, NatLamp was essential reading. It had a comic sensibility that was part period-countercultural, part Mad-magazine-grows-up, and part pre-cursor to "Saturday Night Live."

A lot of the material seems unremarkable now, but the boundaries of comedy were being stretched pretty far and fast in those days. Remember, in the early and mid-1960s, Lenny Bruce went to jail simply for saying various "obscenities" on a nightclub stage, in front of consenting adults who had paid to be there. Just ten years later, George Carlin, Richard Pryor and others were packing concert halls and selling many, many records using those very same "dirty" words, and some of the same transgressive ideas, that got Lenny Bruce busted and hounded to his death.

If you've only seen the crummy later issues, or one or more of the many bad movies released under the NatLamp trademark, it may be hard to imagine, but the mag really was kind of an influential thing for a short while.

I remember "Trots and Bonnie" from back then, and it's good to know that their creator is alive and well, she seems like an interesting woman. Never have seen an actual copy of "Air Pirates Funnies," though, just some scans of parts of it online...
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:27 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Now I'm glad I have the French Trots & Bonnie collection, as it seems to be the only collection ever made!
posted by zompist at 2:08 AM on October 6, 2011

National Lampoon was the best thing going in American comedy during the 1970s and even a bit of the 80s. Seriously. There was nothing else like it. And at these prices, you won't get many more.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:27 AM on October 6, 2011

That was good. But I would have liked to hear more about the Air Pirates days. I take it from this (and a few other places) that Flenniken felt like an outsider in that group.
posted by CCBC at 4:53 AM on October 6, 2011

Great post! Thanks for this. I loved Trots and Bonnie and it's great to hear her speak. I need to get my old magazines out.
posted by readery at 7:43 AM on October 6, 2011

Does anyone else remember another NatLamp cartoon, with two guys in space and one of them was named "The All-Beef Weiner"? Am I hallucinating?
posted by tommasz at 8:24 AM on October 6, 2011

I love Trots and Bonnie and I love Shary Fleniken. She is incredibly witty and wise, a great stylist and a great writer.

Trots and Bonnie paired a child with speaking animal (not a toy, in her case) well before Calvin and Hobbes. I have often wondered where that trope began. It seems timeless.
posted by y2karl at 9:35 AM on October 6, 2011

« Older A peak behind the curtain: the making of Disney...   |   Steve Jobs, RIP Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments