Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charles Addams

Written 21 December, 2010

Charles Addams

In my previous post, dear reader, I said I would talk about three more cartoonists I liked.

When I was in high school I spent long hours in the library at the air force base near my parents' home in Tennessee. There I discovered science fiction, and there I discovered the macabre work of Mr. Addams.

I loved the tone of the Addams books. They were full of sinister characters and creatures, blended seamlessly into modern life.

Many of the single-panel cartoons had been published in The New Yorker, a magazine with which I was then unfamiliar. His work appeared regularly in that magazine from 1932 until his death. His cartoons also appeared in Colliers and Reader's Digest.

Addams was born in 1912 and died in 1988. He was a descendant of the family that begot U.S. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and was first cousin twice removed to social reformer Jane Addams. 

In 1964 the signature family in Addams' works came to live on the American television show The Addams Family. Later, of course, there were movies.

Addams' work had a strong effect on my young mind. It was perhaps my first exposure to someone with a sense of humor that matched mine.

Well, there had been Mad magazine, of course, but even at age nine or ten I found its humor horribly juvenile.  In a good way, but still...

Had it not been for Addams, I might not have been prepared for the work of Gahan Wilson.

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