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Note: This discussion was first posted to the Ephemera and Collectibles group.  It has been reposted here.

National Geographic as One of Many Contemporary Magazines

In my collecting of parodies of, and articles about, the NGM I have come across seven items that strike a very similar theme: that of the NGM as one of several contemporary magazines.  I have touched on two of them already, one in the Parodies discussion, the other in the “How Others See Us” post. I’ve listed them in chronological order.

The first is in the Time/Life book “This Fabulous Century 1920-1930”. In 1929, Life Magazine printed a series of cartoon depictions of the editorial rooms of it competitors. The book displays nine of them including the NGM. The nine in this set are:

The Detective Story Magazine

Popular Mechanics

Good Housekeeping

College Humor

True Confessions

Atlantic Monthly

The Country Gentlemen

The National Geographic

The New Yorker

The second is from the 1967 Lithopinion #8 in an article titled “Eight Magazine Covers: A Graphic Exploration”. The National Geographic “cover” is a highly stylized, multilayer work of art. The eight magazines in this group are:


The New York Times Magazine

Ladies Home Journal

The National Geographic




Better Homes and Gardens

The third is from the February 1970 Playboy Magazine in the article “How Other Magazines would Photograph a Playmate”. The ten magazines parodied include:

True Detective


Family Circle



Consumer Reports

The National Geographic

Sports Illustrated



The fourth list is from the 1981 "Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar".  Each month has Miss Piggy as the cover girl on a contemporary magazine.  August was National Geographic's turn.  Here they are listed from January through December:

Time Magazine

Popular Mechanics

Harper's Bazaar


Life Magazine

Modern Bride

Field & Stream

The National Geographic


Omni Magazine

Sports Illustrated

The Saturday Evening Post

The fifth is from the 1992 Vol. 11, No. 4 issue of Nude & Natural, a nudist magazine.  The cover contains a "What If" parody of three main stream magazines as nude-centric.  They include:

The National Geographic


U.S. News and World Report

The sixth one is from the March 2009 Vanity Fair and is a small parody of impending magazine mergers with a more serious monthly merging with a fashion/Hollywood publication.  The three mergers include:

The Atlantic and


The National Geographic and


Harvard and

Entertainment Weekly

The seventh and final list is from an episode of the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher" which aired February 12, 2016.  In it he spoofed how the media was treating Donald Trump.  The list of parody publications included:




National Enquirer



The National Geographic

Tom Wilson

Views: 199


Replies to This Discussion

Images for the first and third of these National Geographic nods are here:


These are the original comments: Copied 03/30/2015 7:55 pm est


And number three...


yeah, she's real shy !! haha


Now, is your "This Fabulous Century" collection the original set of hardcovers, or the abbreviated softcover (5 issues) box set re-issue from 1988? Or do you only have the one vol. you mentioned? Anyway it got my attention. I, and my family, have several of the Time Life book series, but this is not one they ever had nor do I. I do have 3 vol's. from the latter similar series from circa 1999, "The (20th) Century". 

I gotta say I just adore those vintage Time-Life or just Life book series. Actually a little tidbit, John Fahey came from the (presidency of) Time-Life Books division (he was there in the 80's and 90's) from whence NGS recruited him in '95. It's no coincidence how Time-Life Books took a dive under his magical leadership, and then, he became CEO of our Society...

I digress. This is a neat angle to highlight and thanks for laying it out! I would have hoped that American Heritage might have figured into the 2 later list examples, but alas. However, there were some editorial cartoons done about them from others too. I do have a 2013 New Yorker article that was about the 125th of NGS last year, but its buried now in my storage and so I can't scan the pages and add it to your other semi-recent post where you elaborated and listed the "news-y" mentions of NGM/NGS in other periodicals over the decades.

When I find it again I'll 'show' it to you.

       - Scott  



It is the softcover and just the one volume.  I found it interesting that among the 3 lists there was only 1 repeat (Vogue) other than the NGM



The 1967 Lithopinion "Cover" is multi-layered with a Matador/Map as the base and a Bull on a transparent overlay.  The opposite page from the base is all white and can have the Bull "facing" the Matador.


Note: This discussion has been reposted in the Outside Looking In group.

Note: I have just added a fourth entry to this list.  This one is for the March 2009 Vanity Fair "merger parody".  See attached image:


Note: I just added a fifth entry to this list.  This one for the February 12, 2016 episode of the HBO show "Real Time with Bill Maher".  See attached image:


Note: I just added a sixth entry to this list.  This one for the cover of the 1992 Vol 11. No. issue of Nude & Natural.

See attached image:


Note: I just added a seventh entry to this list of lists.  This one for the 1981 "Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar".  Each month is a different publication.  August is National Geographic.




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