Robert Mankoff answering the question "What influence has Charles Addams’s work had on cartooning and American humor?":
"I think his influence is, like the man, largish. He tapped into that vein of American gothic that has a touch of paranoia about it, seeing behind every comforting façade the uncomfortable truth about the duality of human nature. But where Gothic literature usually combined these themes with romance, Addams made the horror hilarious: disturbing, but at the same time friendly, identifiable, and acceptable. In cartooning, you can see the direct influence of his work in someone like Gahan Wilson, and in many other cartoonists. Horror films that combine humor with horror, such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” with its wise-cracking Freddy Krueger, are also in his debt. And, of course, Addams’s humor was “black” and “sick” before those terms applied.
But I think his influence extends beyond the horror genre, to humor not as a comforting “laughter is the best medicine” anodyne but as something deeply skeptical of the purported values of middle-class American life. By making us laugh at, and with, his fiendish protagonists, he makes us temporarily share their values, and doubt our own."
“....The mix, in Charles Addams's world, of virtue and "evil"—of love and sadism, of the grotesque and the homespun—makes his drawings, taken as a whole, much richer than cartoons aimed at simple gags and artistically more nuanced—if unsettlingly incomplete. Addams furnishes a perspective on our own world, too: a world in which the average human has learned to be physically nonviolent in light of our physical fragility and emotionally intact (more or less) in the face of the emotional abuse that life regularly hurls our way.