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.



6 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: The Addams Family”

  1. Thomas Stazyk October 8, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    Great stuff! I love those comics and the TV show was a classic.

    A wonderful John Astin movie is Evil Roy Slade. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.


    • bmj2k October 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      Not only have I not seen it, I have not even heard of it. I just checked Netflix and it sounds good but it isn’t available streaming. I’ll add it to my Best Buy list.


  2. Daniel October 8, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    I remember some of these from when I was knee – high to a newt ! The closest thing we have to an Addams Family series in recent years is ” The Oblongs ” ( A family of mutants who were poor as posts & had all kinds of congenital & toxin – induced malformations, but were otherwise a happy family 😉 ).

    John Astin is older, balder but still seemed quite the character when I saw him on YouTube. The last I saw him in anything regularly / semi – regularly, he played ” Buddy ” in the ” Night Court ” series, who was supposedly Judge Harry T. Stone’s mentally – ” tetched ” dad.


    • bmj2k October 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      He played the “tectched in the head” thing to the hilt on Night Court. He has one of those very expressive sets of eyes. You believe he is nuts.


      • Daniel October 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

        He was GREAT in that, with his catch – phrase ” but I’m feeling MUCH better now “, especially after another judge in another episode of ” Night Court ” lists some of the crazy things he’s done during a competency hearing.

        He WAS believable, indeed so.

        ” If what they’re saying about Santa is true, then I’ve got a LOT of thinking to do “. Then an episode where he claimed to KNOW Santa Claus. 😉


  3. bmj2k October 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    WhenI was young I had a small paperback book called Laugh In. It had nothing to do with the tv show but was a collection of Addams-like cartoons. I don’t think he wrote any of them but they were all in that style. This was back in the 70’s and I still distinctly remember some of the cartoons but I’ve never been able to track down the book.


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