A long-time contributor of cartoons to The New Yorker magazine, Charles Addams (1912-1988) specialized in whimsically grotesque scenes, which was evidently something of a case of Drawing What He Knew.One set of his recurring characters became the basis for the television series (and later movies) The Addams Family. Addams also drew such classic one-off cartoons as a skier somehow going around a tree on both sides at once; a moustachioed villain with a young damsel slung over his shoulder heading down into a subway, presumably to tie her to the tracks; and a banana peel lying on a busy city sidewalk, cordoned off by "caution" signs.
This creator provides examples of the following tropes:
- Awful Wedded Life: Numerous examples of husbands and wives either fantasizing about or actively plotting to do each other in. Interestingly, the reoccurring tribe who became The Addams Family is a very notable exception to this."Are you unhappy, darling?""Oh, yes. Yes! Completely."
- Bald of Evil: The guy who became Uncle Fester.
- Black Comedy: It's basically his trademark.
- Chained to a Railway: Used as a gag more than once.
- Christmas Carolers: A classic cartoon (replicated at the start of The Addams Family movie) has the Family preparing to drop boiling oil onto a group of carolers in front of their house.
- Collector of the Strange: Addams himself. He died (peacefully) seated behind the wheel of one of his classic automobiles.
- Death as Comedy: One cartoon has a woman inviting her husband to enter the house, while she has a gun aimed at the door.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Most cartoons are in black-and-white and take place in dark settings.
- Droste Image: Subverted in one cartoon, where an ordinary-looking man is reflected in a pair of barbershop mirrors to this effect... but one of the reflections shows a demonic-looking horned monster in his place.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: One cartoon depicts an Alien Invasion, with one of the invaders being greeted by a homeowner and told, "I'm sorry, sonny. We've run out of candy."
- Fur Is Clothing: One cartoon depicts a bear leaving a fur-storage place in boxer shorts and sunglasses.
- The Nameless: In his original cartoons the Addams Family characters remained nameless. Only for the tv sitcom The Addams Family the script writers asked him to invent names for the individual family members.
- Nightmare Fetishist: The man was openly into the dark and macabre.
- Noodle People: The gal who became Morticia.
- Unholy Matrimony: As noted, the couple who became known as Gomez and Morticia Addams are a sort of borderline example; they are very creepy and eccentric, but calling them overtly "evil" might not be entirely fair.
- Sibling Rivalry: Carried to an extreme by the little dark-haired girl (eventually named 'Wednesday') and her bulbous brother ('Pugsley'). Attempted assassination was the theme of several of their cartoons.