Monday, May 25, 2009

Chas. Addams Cartoons

In the 2006 biography, A Cartoonist's Life: Chas Addams, by Linda E. Davis, I was surprised to learn that Addams didn't write a lot of the gags for his New Yorker cartoons.
"Most of the magazine's cartoon gags…were cooked up by various writers and artists, who flooded the magazine with as many as two thousand sketches and written ideas a week." (chapter 5, pg. 49)

One theme you saw Charles Addams use often in his cartoons was "getting rid of the wife." He either was given these ideas because of his reputation and history of having trouble with many of the women in his life (including a manipulative lawyer ex-wife and dating Garbo, Joan Fontaine and even Jacqueline Kennedy). Another way he had of finding gags was to personally go through the "slush pile" of rejected ideas at the New Yorker. I think these gags may have worked as fantasies to help him release frustrations over some of his relationships.

To show that Addams wasn't a complete misogynist, he did occasionally give women and wives equal time in the "offing the spouse" fantasies. It may be a matter of, "I'll get him before he gets me."

The example of a man at an arcade shooting gallery is from the 1950 collection, Chas Addams': Monster Rally. Golden Age Comic Book Stories has some more scans from the book. I scanned the last two cartoons, the husband training an attack dog and a woman making up a lunch box, from my copy of an 11th printing of the book.


digital.engagement said...

Any chance of your scanning the one from Monster Rally of the woman looking on as someone's tied to the rr tracks and observing "It may be none of my business, but there hasn't been a train on these tracks in over 30 years."?

Would appreciate that!

Uncle Ernie said...

Take a look at today's post, Aug, 8, 2009.