This volume looks at Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Lurch and the rest of the recurring characters that Charles Addams used in his single-panel cartoons primarily appearing in the New Yorker. This book gives us some idea of the artist's character development and thoughts about this rogues gallery and the book includes some previously unpublished material. Although much of this material was previously published in Addams' collections it is still worth it to me, as someone who admires his work, to have this all in one place along with previously unseen material.
on May 1, 2010
Chuck Addams, as he was known to friends, shares with us his joy in the wierdness present in daily life. His cartoons aren't violent, just pregnant with ideas that nudge along your own imagination. PoIsed to greet Christmas carollers by pouring boiling oil from the manse's roof, one cartoon prompts a chuckle from it's perverse perspective alone. You aren't drawn to ponder the ugly effect of an actual cascade of boiling oil on the people below. I like this innocennce in Addams' work. His characters are twisted, yet credible exaggerations of somewhat 'normal' wife, father, kids, and family monster in the attic. Many cartoons tease you, appearing straightforward until close examination finds the funny small detail that makes the whole scene a kick.
Among my favorites are the boy's report card detailing his teacher's warning that his anti-social behavior seems deliberately devious and malicious, prompting Morticia to proudly pat him on the head. Another shows the arrival of two animal carrier cages at the mansion, with Morticia exclaiming, "The children are back from camp, dear."
This book appreciates Addams's work, and made me laugh and think. That is a home run.
on April 16, 2013
I didn't realize that this book was hardcover - my fault for not reading the details of the description. I was pleasantly surprised when it was! This book is made very well and has a premium feel. The pages are semi-gloss, thick stock. Nice.
All of the Addams family drawings are here, including rough sketches that were never released. Each character has a bio, written by Charles. It's all very informative and gives great insight on the characters.
The only thing I don't like about the book, and it's nit-picky, I know: the font they chose for the captions of the drawings, headers and the book title is ridiculously ugly. It cheapens the feel of the book and, especially on the drawings, is difficult to read. Something simpler would have been pleasing and easier on the eyes. It reminds me of those weird fonts that you'd see on a flyer for a Halloween party - a bit tacky.
I bought my book new though the "other sellers" option in Amazon (from a local shop in NY listed under the amazon seller name bookcultureny) and their price, brand new, was half the price as normal Amazon. The book arrived before I even had time to think about where it was and the process was painless. Awesome!
For a change I actually bought this book with my own money. Am I glad I did.... mostly.
So on the positive side this book is exceptionally high quality printing. The pages are good heavy stock and the printing is exceptional. Even the dust jacket is expertly executed though the font chosen for the title is a bit cheesy.
The negative comes because I just expected there to be more of it. This isn't a cheap book by any means and I was done with it in the span of 30 minutes or so. Of the 221 pages in this book about 20 of them are printed material, such as the background for each character or the book's introduction, and the rest are full-page reprints of the original comics. Maybe this is all there actually *IS* to be printed but it felt like there had to be more. I honestly don't know if there *IS* more or not but it just doesn't feel like everything.
In summary, this is a great book in many ways but it leaves me wanting something else. More back-story, more comics, more anything. It's on the bloody edge of being worth what I paid for it.
on May 3, 2010
this is a great book of the Addams Family drawings, that the tv show was based on. it collects most of the drawings of the characters as they evolved in print. it is a wow of a book. Lurch for instance started out bearded, and Mortishia didn't wear any shoes early on. Uncle Fester always was drawn to look like Charles Addams himself. Seeing the personalities written down by Charles Addams is nice, i have not seen that before in any of his books. the older Chas Addams art books always have some pages of the Family as well as just odd ball drawings. but this book is all Addams Family.
on August 5, 2012
I remember my surprise when I first discovered that the Addams Family did not originate as a live action TV show, but was actually a single panel comic written by Charles Addams. This book focuses on those original single panel comics and how the members of the family were created and evolved. The Addams family did not spring fully formed from Addams' head but actually slowly developed with various different characters Addams drew eventually ending up in a large dilapidated mansion as a family. As someone who grew up with the Raul Julia films, seeing this background was very interesting. In particular, Thing was not just a hand in the comics but was actually a full person hanging out in the background of the house. There are some good chuckles and a lot of interesting development in this book.
on November 26, 2012
Your one-stop shopping source for ALL the cartoons Charles Addams ever drew featuring Morticia, Gomez, Fester, Grandmama, Lurch, Pugsley, Wednesday, and Cousin Itt. If that's what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. It should be pointed out that the cartoonist never really set out to create a macabre family of creepy and kooky eccentrics. The television producers of the 1960s Addams Family TV show noticed a set of reoccurring characters among Chas Addams' body of cartoons and were interested in making a TV series based upon his work. At that point, Addams gave the characters names, and defined them beyond the somewhat sketchy existing relationships in his cartoons by providing the TV producers with a series of short biographical outlines (also included in this book). And the TV producers, writers, and actors then developed the characters further, taking particular liberties with such characters as Thing and Cousin Itt. When you're finished reading this book, you may well ask (as I did), "How did they get a TV series out of THIS?"
That's not to say the cartoons aren't funny. They are. And more often than not, they have that "delayed reaction" effect of having to look twice (or three times) to "get the joke". I was left with a couple of impressions, since this is the first book of Chas Addams' work that I have purchased. Firstly, I get the impression that of the couple of thousand cartoons that Addams drew from the 1930s to the 1980s, the "Addams Family" cartoons are not necessarily representative (other than typifying the wickedly morbid sense of humor) of the entire oeuvre of Addams' work. I was surprised to find that of the couple of thousand cartoons he drew, a relatively paltry number of them feature The Family, and some of those only in retrospect, as developmental phases of characters who later became members of the family. The Thing familiar to television viewers and moviegoers is almost entirely an invention of the TV producers. There are a great number of unpublished cartoons in this collection -- this is a good thing, because they are needed to beef up the number of Family cartoons that were actually published (in THE NEW YORKER and elsewhere). The unpublished cartoons are readily identifiable by the rough, unfinished and un-inked nature of the drawings. Which isn't to say they aren't funny anyway.
To reiterate, it's nice to have, for the first time ever, ALL of Addams' Family cartoons in one complete collection. Still, it leaves me longing to read the rest of Chas Addams' body of work, published over the decades while he was still alive, by Simon & Shuster. Some of these are still available from z-shop sellers on Amazon, but they can be quite pricey indeed. It would be nice if Simon & Shuster reissued the ten collections of his work that were published when he was living in new, reasonably-priced reprint editions.
on January 21, 2013
I gave this to my boyfriend, who like me was raised on Addams. Had fun leafing through. Addams was so ahead of his time. This is a very nice, big hardcover collection and the cartoons are large and crisp. Addams is still edgy, all's right with the world.