Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Book! The Addams Family- America's Favorite Gothic Family

Addams Family fans! There is a wonderful new book out about America's Favorite Gothic family from Pomegranate Communications entitled The Addams Family: An Evilution.

 If you are anything like me, you watched the T.V. Show The Addams Family faithfully. But did you ever wonder where the Addams Family started?  I did, and  I really enjoyed learning more about this creepy, kooky family, how each character came to be, and the man behind the pencil! There are 10 chapters, one for each main character- including the house, which is a character unto itself! 

“Why can’t you just spank us like the other mommies?”

 If you are expecting to already know all about Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Thing, Lurch and the extended family because you watched the T.V. show, you will be in for a few surprises. They are even more delightfully morbid than you imagined! And if you were fortunate enough to be familiar with the cartoon series then this book will be an extra treat for you since there are 50 images in this book that are in print for the first time!

A few of the Addams Family cartoon characters had their debut in a 1938 issue of the New Yorker magazine,  but they were not know as the Addams Family at the time.  Their creepy, spooky humor caught on, later moving to television and even the silver screen.
This is a nice book, beautifully printed, interesting and full of pictures (over 200 of Charles Addams illustrations) I have included a few of my favorites here- used with permission. This book would make a great gift as well, so pick one up for yourself and for the darkling in your life. I highly enjoyed it and will covet it for years to come. 

“Just the kind of day that makes you feel good to be alive!”

Here is a little wikihistory on Charles Addams:

Charles Samuel Addams ( January 7, 1912 – September 29, 1988) was an American cartoonist known for his particularly black humor and macabre characters. Some of the recurring characters, who became known as The Addams Family, became the basis for two live-action television series, two cartoon series, three motion pictures, and a play.

His cartoons regularly appeared in The New Yorker, and he also created a syndicated comic strip, Out of This World, which ran in 1956. There are many collections of his work, including Drawn and Quartered(1942) and Monster Rally (1950), the latter with a foreword by John O'Hara. Typical of Addams's work, one cartoon shows two men standing in a room labeled "Patent Attorney." One is pointing a bizarre gun out the window toward the street and saying, "Death ray, fiddlesticks! Why, it doesn't even slow them up!"

“The little dears! They still believe in Santa Claus.”

Dear Dead Days (1959), one of the rarest Addams books, is not a collection of his cartoons (although it reprints a few from previous collections); it is a bizarre scrapbook-like compendium of vintage images (and occasional pieces of text) that appealed to Addams's sense of the grotesque, including Victorian woodcuts, vintage medicine-show advertisements, and a boyhood photograph of Francesco Lentini, who had three legs.

Addams kept a collection of crossbows on the wall of his study and used a little girl's tombstone for a coffee table, but Janet Maslin, in a review of an Addams biography for The New York Times, wrote, "Addams's persona sounds cooked up for the benefit of feature writers ... was at least partly a character contrived for the public eye," noting that one outré publicity photo showed the humorist wearing a suit of armor at home, "but the shelves behind him hold books about painting and antiques, as well as a novel by John Updike."

Addams's popularity is reflected in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest; Cary Grant references Charles Addams in the auction scene. Discovering Eve with Mr. Vandamm and Leonard, he says, "The three of you together. Now that's a picture only Charles Addams could draw." He is also mentioned as "Chas Addams" (how he usually signed his cartoons) in Edward Eager's fantasy novel Knight's Castle.

After his death a cartoon ran depicting his Addams Family standing vigil before his grave while Addams crawled out the other side. A Charles Addams Art Scholarship was founded in 1991.

Addams died September 29, 1988, at St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center in New York City, having suffered a heart attack while parked in his car. An ambulance brought him from his apartment to the hospital, where he died in the emergency room. As he had requested, a wake was held; he had wished to be remembered as a "good cartoonist."

All images © Tee and Charles Addams Foundation / Courtesy Pomegranate Communications.

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