Winter, Spring, Summer, Addams

My friend over at Attempted Bloggery recently emailed me: “It’s that time of year.”  I knew exactly what he was talking about before I opened the link he attached. In this New Yorker cartoon-centric world of the Spill, “that time of year,” mid-way through October, could only belong to Charles Addams.

Addams is one of a dozen New Yorker cartoonists I place in the Cartoon God category.  We are so fortunate his work has been well collected — all of his anthologies are easily available (Abebooks is an excellent place to search for them.  Chris Wheeler’s site is a good place to see the covers all at once).

    

We are also fortunate that Linda Davis gave us a biography of Addams: Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life (also easily found online).

When I began contributing to The New Yorker in the late 1970s, Addams was very much a presence in the office. (Ms. Davis’s book includes my account of riding the elevator with him. Comparable, I suppose, to a rookie ballplayer walking into the clubhouse and spotting Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays).  But of course it was Addams’s work that really inspired. It was a gift to open the magazine in those days and turn to a full page Addams drawing.  Not only did it entertain, but it inspired. I learned more than I’ll ever know from examining his drawings — the care put into details; his characters’ perfect expressions; the obvious joy he took drawing whatever he was drawing; the drawing as a whole, caption — if there was one — and art, scoring a near perfect 10 every time. Yes, he had help in the idea department (and here again, I intersected with him, supplying an idea, as did a number of colleagues), but the supplied ideas were elevated through his art.  

As we close in on Halloween there will definitely be an increased Addamsy feel around here; I’ll miss not seeing one of his covers grace the magazine as they often did around now, but the work remains available 24/7. Pounce on it. 

Link here to the official Addams website.   

Here’s Mr. Addams’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

 

 

 

 

Charles Addams (above) Born in Westfield, New Jersey, January  7, 1912. Died September 29, 1988, New York City. New Yorker work: 1932 – 1988 * the New Yorker has published his work posthumously. One of the giants of The New Yorker’s  stable of artists.  Key cartoon collections: While all of Addams’ collections are worthwhile, here are three that are particular favorites; Homebodies (Simon & Schuster, 1954), The Groaning Board (Simon & Schuster, 1964), Creature Comforts (Simon & Schuster, 1981). In 1991 Knopf published The World of Chas Addams, a retrospective collection.

 

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