March 30, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: The Flintstones Volume 1

The Flintstones got a new comic series in 2016 that made them a Postmodern Stone Age Family.

DC Comics started putting out comics based on the old Hanna-Barbera animated cartoons, but not in the more traditional way.  They series were updated and altered to varying degrees of success.

One of the first rounds, and one of the most acclaimed, was The Flintstones.  And now I’ve read it and have seen why.

By the by, this series is not really for kids.


This version of The Flintstones posits a world where Fred Flintstone, his family, and their friends the Rubbles are new to the whole “civilization” thing.  To be fair, so is everybody.  Bedrock is an experimental community where the cavemen who live there are tying to live in something akin to modern life.  Yes, Flintstones staple comedy is there with talking animal appliances and rock-based pun names everywhere, but there’s a lot more going on here as well.  As I said above, this isn’t for kids, not because it’s full of sex, extreme violence, and profanity (though there is some light profanity and some cartoon violence with lethal results) as all that stuff is still there, but because the of the other material.

Case in point, the first issue recounts, among other things, Fred introducing a trio of Neanderthals to the concept of civilization on behalf of Mr, Slate (here portrayed as a greedy, egotistical capitalist).  One of the three dies, and the other two decide to leave Bedrock.  Why?  According to one, “It seems like the whole point of civilization is to get someone else to do your killing for you.”

See?  That’s not a joke for kids.

The rest of the book deals with such topics as marriage, rowdy teenagers, domestication of people and animals, war, democracy, organized religion, and the treatment of veterans by society.  Fred and Barney are veterans of a war against “the tree people” and one reoccurring veteran from their unit has what looks like PTSD.  That much of this is played effectively for humor by writer Mark Russell and artist Steve Pugh is just amazing.  The series even takes time to show a developing friendship between the two loneliest members of the Flintstones’ household:  the small elephant vacuum cleaner and Fred’s armadillo bowling ball.

The series only ran for 12 issues, and the first volume only covers half of them.  For now, 9.5 out of 10 expressions of disgust from the appliances towards Dino.

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