I grew up with a strange book in my father's den: Homebodies by Charles Addams. It was macabre, gothic, and grotesque before Gorey, before Buffy. The ninety pages of this 1954 Simon & Schuster book are filled with the black humor of The New Yorker cartoonist, Charles Addams. It's said that as a child Addams would on ocassion wander into a graveyard, but he grew up in suburban New Jersey. I got to meet Mr. Addams in the yellow-walled New Yorker offices when I did cartoons for them in the late 1970's. He would sometimes give me a critique of my sketches before I went in to see Lee Lorenz, the cartoon editor. This only lasted a few weeks as I had mistakenly gone to the offices on Wednesdays, when the veteran cartoonists were there, and I was soon shuffled off to Tuesdays, when the "young Turks", such as Roz Chast and Robert Mankoff, were there. Speaking of Wednesday, his Addams family was later spun off into a not so grotesque TV comedy with Wednesday as the little girl and Pugsly as the pudgy little boy. Click on the picture to see the dreary detail, such as the pet alligator.
The caption reads: "Just the kind of day that makes you feel good to be alive!"
He always signed his work Chas Addams in dark script. Happy Birthday, Chas.
Cartoon Copyright 1954 Charles Addams