Suspended Animation Review
Comics Legend Chas Addams
He is best known for something he never created. He is best remembered for wildly original single-panel cartoons in New Yorker magazine. He would have thought that odd because he thought in very odd ways.
Ergo: “He’s in the garden.” said the plain Jane blonde into the telephone. Through the open doorway behind her was a new grave and a shovel stuck in upturned earth.
As musicians enter a stage prepared for their orchestra, a violinist gawks at a row of squeeze horns, a stool and a bucket of fish.
Three angry bears in auditorium seats try to pick a perpetrator from a lineup of little golden-haired girls.
The genius behind these dark and thought-provoking scenes actually had four names. One was Subtle. One was Macabre. Two were well known and much beloved: Chas Addams.
The something that Chas never created was The Addams Family. The tongue-in-cheek television series and movies were based on the style of Chas’ dark humor, and several characters extrapolated from individual cartoons.
Sort of the same way Gary Larson extrapolated his famous The Far Side comic strip from Chas Addams’ work as well. Not copied. Not plagiarized. Extrapolated. Larson was as original as Chas.
Regrettably, Chas is not well represented in comic books. The Addams Family (’74-’76; Gold Key) is not a collection of his cartoons, but a continuation a Hanna-Barbera animated TV series that was, in turn, a spin-off of the television show.
Among the collections of his work, Random House published hardback editions including Creature Comforts, Chas Addams’ Favorite Haunts, My Crowd, The Groaning Board, Drawn and Quartered, Chas Addams’ Black Maria, Night Crawlers, Homebodies, Monster Rally, Addams and Evil and The Dear Dead Days.
The work of Chas Addams is highly recommended.
Review by Michael Vance