Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The World of Charles Addams

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death. Today: a review, of sorts, of The World of Charles Addams (Knopf, 1991).

I've been in a New Yorker mood for many months now. I've been slowly working my way through that mammoth Complete Cartoons book and CD-ROM collection that Marie gave me since Christmas, and I'm saving myself the treat of looking at all of the great, underrated Jack Ziegler work on the disk for when I'm finished with the book itself. But seeing some of Charles Addams's earliest material - not that there was any apparent learning curve, he arrived, fully formed, as one of America's greatest cartoonists - reminded me that I had been meaning for years to get myself a copy of this brilliant Addams coffeetable book.

It's a huge, wonderful collection and while I'm sure it could prompt any number of long dissertations about Addams and the macabre and bizarre settings of his weird, funny cartoons, I think those essays have already been written. What I can tell you is that this giant book is more than 300 pages long, with two color sections and a fascinating little biographical essay. The reproduction of all this old material is very nice, and it's a great package which should have been kept in print. That said, you should be able to find a secondhand copy for not too much money, and I recommend you do so. Also, the one about the husband snatched from his picnic by a giant bird is the funniest comic panel ever.

No comments: