Spectickles is a single panel cartoon centered primarily around a married couple who personifies dysfunction. The male character, inspired in part by Walter Matthau with his drooping features and perpetual scowl, never quite figures out the right path to take, the right thing to say, or the smarter move to make. Just the opposite.
The female character, inspired largely by Ethel Merman, is forceful, loud, and as equally inept as her husband at choosing positive over negative. Together they are the Yin and Yang of perfect disharmony.
Spectickles developed over a number of years in terms of tone and appearance. The characters were originally much simpler with oval-shaped heads and no glasses. The horn-rimmed glasses of the 1950’s and '60s were inspired by Bill Abbott’s great-grandparents and slowly made their way onto all of the characters in Spectickles, human and otherwise.
Creator Bill Abbott is an avid fan of cartoon art and was inspired by the great cartoonists of The New Yorker, past and present, as well as the giants of the comics pages, Herman by Jim Unger, The Far Side by Gary Larson, and Peanuts by Charles Schulz.