COVER STORIES for 04/15/2007
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #101
Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 105th installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme (unless I'm doing an installment of one of the sub-series of Cover Stories, 1-10 or this week's installment)!
This time around, it's time once again for...
This time around, it's back to a Dell comic they never made... three issues of the Addams Family!
They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're altogether ooky, the Addams Family... and they were featured in three issues of this Dell comic, based (naturally) on the then-current live-action show.
A real effort was made in the three issues of this title to have the artwork resemble the actors on the show, and a similar effort was made to try to capture the feel of the show as well... but you can decide for yourself!
The first story in this issue is titled, "Fester's Gold Mine," and the story opens with Uncle Fester poking around Grandmama's room looking for something (he never says what it is he's looking for, just "It's got to be here somewhere!"). He bumps against a bookshelf, and one of the books on it falls to the floor, conveniently opening to a page entitled, "How to turn base metals into gold." Well, Fester's very excited about this, and he starts reading immediately.
Meanwhile, in the Addams' drawing room, the remainder of the family is relaxing... Lurch is playing the organ, Morticia is dutifully cutting the blossoms off the roses she's arranging in a macabre vase, Wednesday is playing with her toy guillotine, and Pugsley is watching Gomez crash his toy trains. Morticia says something about Grandmama being away at the Alchemist's Convention, which explains her absence.
Fester comes running into the room, exclaiming, "I've done it! I've done it!" He explains that he's able to turn base metals, such as lead, into gold. Gomez shouts triumphantly, "We'll be rich!" Morticia points out they're already rich, and Gomez replies, "Well, we'll be richer, then!"
We then see a series of dream sequences concerning what the members of the family plan to do with their additional wealth... Gomez dreams of a new bed of nails - gold-plated nails, that is... Fester figures he'll use his money for a warehouse full of lightbulbs, etc. (Thing's thoughts are of rings, by the way)
Fester then gets to work transforming everything made of base metals in the Addams household into gold, while Wednesday and Pugsley help him find all the items.
Soon, the entire Addams' living room is filled with brightly shining golden objects ("How dreadfully bright and cheery!" Morticia moans, to which Gomez replies, "It's only temporary, my dear!") Grandmama arrives home from the convention and sees all this, and soon discovers what has happened. She starts laughing, and explains the potion doesn't work permanently, and that by sundown, all the transformed items will return to their original forms.
"Easy come, easy go!" Gomez shrugs. "Cie la vie," Morticia chimes in. "Tish! You spoke French!" Gomez says, beginning to kiss her arm.
This is followed by a one-page gag featuring Cousin Itt's misadventures when he tries to visit the zoo and is mistaken for one of the animals.
The second story in this issue focuses on Wednesday and Pugsley, as they go exploring some caves nearby with their classmates as part of a field trip. Naturally, there are bats galore in this cave, which scare the other children, but of course the two Addams' kids are unfazed by them. Deeper in the cave, they also find a few skeletons, as well as a large bear, which Wednesday and Pugsley naturally befriend, and is soon trotting behind them like a dutiful puppy. And that's about it for that story!
The second issue of Dell's Addams Family comic book is devoted to a full-length story, entitled "The Good Old Days." The tale opens with the Addamses gathered around a photo album (well, obviously, not all the pictures are photos, as you'll see) with pictures of the Addams' illustrious ancestors. The basic premise behind this story is, as Gomez tells of one of the older Addams clan members, one of the family pictures themselves in that role.
The first family member whose history they read is "Wild Bill Addams," who, predictably enough, lived in the Wild West days. However, Wild Bill Addams wasn't exactly a typical western hero... no, he was the mortician for the town of Vulture Gulch, and he had a busy time of it, for there were always gunfights in Vulture Gulch, and always someone new to plan on Boot Hill. Pugsley sees himself in this role, as a wanted badman comes into the town to rob the townspeople blind. Wild Bill finds his workload increasing to the point where he's not able to keep up with it (for such a small town, a LOT of people lived there, apparently), and decides to do something about it. However, Wild Bill is completely inept when it comes to guns, and with the help of his pet vulture, Lucretia, he manages to win the gunfight anyway.
Second in the photo album is Demonica Addams, who was a witch in Old Salem. Morticia sees herself in this role, as Demonica Addams uses her powers to protect those falsely accused of being witches (not for any altruistic reasons, mind you - she just doesn't want to see the good name of witches bespoiled by having non-witches identified as witches!).
Next in the family history is Mildew Addams, who lived in Europe during the Black Plague. Mildew Addams was a strong, tall man (making it easy for Lurch to imagine himself in the role)... a strong, silent type, if you will. Given his strength, he was often employed digging mass graves, and there's not a whole lot to that little story.
Then, there's Mario Addami, who lived during the Renaissance (and portrayed by Gomez), who was the "real" inventor and inspiration to Leonardo Da Vinci. His story is followed by that of Carlita Addamez (imagined by Wednesday in dream sequence), who lived in Spain and accompanied Ponce De Leon on his search for the Fountain of Youth, but preferred the swamps.
Finally, there's Ka-ra-ad-dam, who lived in ancient Egypt, and was considered the most beautiful woman in Egypt (Grandmama sees herself in this role). Ka-ra-ad-dam was a snake keeper, and it's implied here that she provided the asp that Cleopatra used to kill herself.
Thing, unfortunately, is left out of the family history portrayals!
"The Anniversary" is the name of the first tale in this issue, as Gomez and Morticia are making plans for their wedding anniversary. However, there's a bit of a disagreement between them as to where to go for their anniversary trip... Gomez has his heart set on Transylvania, while Morticia wants to go to Stonehenge.
Meanwhile, the rest of the family is trying to come up with ideas for anniversary presents... the problem is, what do you get for the man and woman who have everything they could ever want or need? Fester, Grandmama, Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley and Thing brainstorm as much as they can, trying to come up with ideas... but everything they can think of, it's revealed that Gomez and Morticia already have it (anything not on display is in "the basement," which is apparently much vaster than we could've imagined).
The debate goes on, interrupted only when Gomez and Morticia pass through the room, arguing between Transylvania and Stonehenge.
Finally, the rest of the family has it: The perfect gift. But we don't find out what it is right away... nope, we have to wait for the anniversary party, which is attended by all family members introduced on the show.
Gomez and Morticia, still arguing over plans between opening presents (but nicely, mind you), finally get to the present from their family, which is an all-expenses paid trip to both locations.
Yeah, I think they were running out of story ideas, too.
The second story in this final issue of the series (entitled "Bat-Lurch and Pugsley") opens with the family leaving the local movie theatre, which had been showing a monster movie festival. They make comments about how amusing the movies were, until the end when it turned to tragedy as the vampires, werewolves, etc. were dispatched.
Suddenly, a masked man confronts the family holding a gun, and demands all their money. Gomez, naturally, explains that he can't keep all his money on his person, and probably only has a few thousand in mad money on him. Lurch takes advantage of the would-be robber's confusion to reach forward and take the gun (well, and the robber's hand, as well as the rest of the robber) and tosses him aside.
Pugsley looks at Lurch and says, "You're a hero, just like in the comic books!" Pugsley then spends the rest of the trip back to the Addams home trying to convince Lurch that he should be a super-hero... and this is followed by a dream sequence in which Pugsley imagines Lurch as "Bat-Lurch," and himself as sidekick "Pugsley, the Boy Wonder." In this sequence, the entire Addams clan is pretty much re-imagined as Batman-related characters... Gomez is the commissioner, Morticia is a Catwoman-type character named Pantherwoman, Wednesday is a super-hero wanna-be (calling herself "Girl-Bat"), and Fester is the Laugher. The story pokes a little fun at the Batman mythos, but putting an Addams twist on things here and there (the Laugher's villainy consists of making things cheerful, for example).
So that's the four issues of this title for this edition of "Comics They Never Made," so let's shut down the Kurtzberg Alternate Reality device, and get ready to look at comics you can actually find at a local convention... next time around!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," when the topic will be "Sports," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !