"Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly."A long-time contributor of cartoons to The New Yorker magazine, Charles Samuel Addamsnote (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.
Works by Charles Addams with their own pages:
- The Addams Family cartoons
Other works by Charles Addams provide examples of the following tropes:
- Artistic Title: Addams provided these for the films The Old Dark House (1963) and Murder by Death (1976).
- Awful Wedded Life: Pretty much any depiction of a husband and wife involves one or the other either fantasizing about, actively plotting to, or cleaning up after doing their spouse in.
- Black Comedy: It's basically his trademark.
- Chained to a Railway: Used as a gag more than once.
- Collector of the Strange: Addams himself. He died (peacefully) seated behind the wheel of one of his classic automobiles.
- Conjoined Twins: Sometimes showed up.
- Dada Comics: Occasionally ventures into this territory.
- Death as Comedy: Again, done numerous times. One typical example 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.
- Enfant Terrible: Shows up often, even besides the Addams family kids.
- 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.
- Human Head on the Wall: An unusual divorce settlement.
- Multiple Head Case: Pretty common.
- Nightmare Fetishist: The man was openly into the dark and macabre.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: They show up on occasion.
- Rule of Funny: Bizarre situations without explanation are common.
- Slave Galley: A recurring setting for gags.
- Surreal Humor / Surreal Horror: Go hand in hand in his cartoons.
- Urban Fantasy: Many of his cartoons had this feel, with the strange and supernatural happening amidst crowded cities.