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The Saturday Comics: The Addams Family

8 Oct

October 8, 2011

A few weeks back, JRD Skinner, raconteur, auteur, provocateur, and amateur connoisseur of the farceur, wrote in with the amazing idea of doing an installment on what happens to be one of my favorite all-time panels, The Addams Family.

You may have heard of them.

Allow me to go off on a tangent for a second, would you?

I LOVE John Astin. No, not in the little girl who loves Justin Bieber way, in the he makes me laugh out loud every time I see his face kind of way. Look at him! You can see the mania in his eyes. And that grin just says “some kind of crazy.” I wouldn’t cast him as the head of NORAD but he embodied Gomez Addams. He WAS Gomez Addams. (Raul Julia? Feh.)

Sorry about the commercials there, but wasn’t it worth it to see beautiful Carolyn Jones in digital clarity?

And here is Astin in his other genre role of note:

OK, he was no Frank Gorshin, but who is?

But back to The Addams Family.

I assume you know them: The Addamses are a satirical inversion of the ideal American family; an eccentric, wealthy clan who delight in the macabre and are unaware that people find them bizarre or frightening. They originally appeared as a series of single panel cartoons, published in The New Yorker between 1938 and Addams’s 1988 death. They have since been adapted to other media, including television series, films, video games, and a musical.

They are the most famous creations of Charles Addams, but by no means the only ones.

Charles “Chas” Samuel Addams (January 7, 1912 – September 29, 1988) was an American cartoonist known for his particularly black humor and macabre characters.

His cartoons regularly appeared in The New Yorker, and he also created a syndicated comic strip, Out of This World, which ran in 1956. There are many collections of his work, including Drawn and Quartered (1942) and Monster Rally (1950), the latter with a foreword by John O’Hara. Typical of Addams’s work, one cartoon shows two men standing in a room labeled “Patent Attorney.” One is pointing a bizarre gun out the window toward the street and saying, “Death ray, fiddlesticks! Why, it doesn’t even slow them up!”

With apologies to and I hope the blessing of Mr. Skinner, here is a selection of his lesser-known but just as funny non-Addams Family panels. Consider these cousins and extended family members.


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