The Flintstones comic book

Issue 1 just out from DC: writing by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh artist.

Luscious art style; this isn’t done in a Hanna-Barbera style, but richer, much more naturalistic or realistic. Here’s part of the cover art.

Just as the art is more sophisticated, so is the writing. Sure, there are all the lithological puns you could ever want, but there is a strange depth to the story. Wilma is searching for self-expression, and tells a very touching story about her girlhood in another tribe. Fred goes to a Veterans Group meeting, to help war-shocked vets get past the events of the war they were in. Racism is explored via three Neanderthal guests whom Mr. Slate wants Fred to recruit for work at the quarry…because they don’t understand what “money” is.

And, yeah, it’s funny, too! You won’t fall out of your chair laughing, but you’ll get a good grin at some of the goings on. But this comic book is thoughtful, in a way that the TV Flintstones (and the movies) never quite dared to approach.

It’s as if The Flintstones had halfway grown up.

Best comic book of the week. Take a look.

I strongly disagree.

Flintstones is the only one of the Hanna Barbera books I haven’t liked, so far (I can’t remember if there’s another to come out).

I agree that the art’s lovely, and there’s some good stuff in the writing.

In fact, I’d say pretty much every element could work, on its own. (I actually particularly liked the framing sequence’s punchline of theorizing about ‘Lorenzo’.)

But it doesn’t work together.

It doesn’t know what it wants to be, and that works to its detriment.

It’s not bad enough that I’m not going to give it another issue or two to gel, but unlike Scooby Apocalypse or Wacky Raceland, it didn’t really seem to have a solid idea of where it was going to diverge thematically and atmospherically from the original (Future Quest, of course, diverges very little from Johnny Quest in feel, though I can’t speak to the other series involved in the crossover).

Yeah, that was a little odd. I didn’t dislike it; some parts were great. (Pretty sure I spotted Bedrock’s first gay bar in that big splash panel, and Mr. Slate was delightfully hate-able.) But the tone whipsawed all over the place. Goofy talking animal jokes! Horrific war flashback! Rock-themed puns! Guy gets eaten alive by pteranodons! Bedrock itself still feels very much out of the late 1950s/early '60s, which gives an added layer of weirdness. The original concept using a fanciful prehistoric setting to satirizing contemporary society. This one is using a prehistoric setting to satirize… society from sixty years ago? It changes the underlying theme of the work from, “We haven’t really changed all that much,” to, “The mid-20th century was basically the stone age, compared to us now.” But I’m not sure you could remove the Flintstones from their mid-century milieu any more than you could remove it from the stone age.

I’m in for the second issue, at least. I can’t say it’s not an interesting book.

One of the problems (in addition to what’s already been mentioned) is that the writer doesn’t seem to get that he’s writing a comic book as opposed to a bunch of individual panels. The dialogue and action don’t flow from one panel or scene to the next. For example, after the veteran’s group when Fred and Barney take the neathderthals out to dinner, there’s a gag about wanting to eat the buffalo that powers the air-conditioner followed by a neanderthal sobbing over a burst animal shaped balloon because “he never had to deal with the concept of death before.” and the panel that follows that is Fred at home with Wilma. There is absolutely no feeling of time passing, it’s like a series of Far Side cartoons that are in a vaguely sequential order. (For the best example of integrating dialogue and time, look at Gulacy and Moench’s Master of Kung Fu. It felt like you were watching a movie the way each panel/word balloon flowed into the next. This was the opposite)

There are also weird non-1960s references: Slate’s mansion is like “a skymall”. I thought Skymall went out of business and there’s no rock-based pun. A “Pterodactyl-Mall” or something maybe.

It wasn’t…bad…but it was amaturish. That said, I did love the art.

Man, I remember Steve Pugh when he was just starting out on Slaine lo these many years past.

Strangely enough, as much as I loved it, I won’t be buying further issues…because I think this one ought to have been a one-shot. It’s brilliant (my opinion) as it is, and will be almost impossible to follow.

The Hannah Barbera reimaginations have all been pretty good despite so many people rolling their eyes when they were first announced.

My mistake, that was David Pugh, not Steve Pugh.

Everything about that “new” take on The Flintstones is wrong.

If DC wanted tomato a “realistic” look at a society of characters living in prehistoric times why not, you know, CREATE SOMETHING NEW.

This whole “reimaginations” make no sense? What’s the point?
I often hear people bitch or read people complain that Hollywood sucks because they can’t come up with anything new, all they do are sequels or remakes. How are these pointless HB reimaginations any different?

I liked when comics had flat colors, not that airbrushed looking shit. Off my lawn.

Looking at the links provided in the OP, I’m reminded of Archie Comics’ attempts to create a “more realistic” style some years ago. The stories were fine, but the art just wasn’t right somehow. As far as I can tell, the PTB at Archie abandoned the idea, and the comics went back to their usual style.

To me, the Flintstones art style will always be defined by the TV cartoon and by the Gold Key comics I read as a child (yep, the Flintstones had a comic book forty to fifty years ago), which used the TV cartoon’s style

I agree with Richard John Marcej: if DC wanted to put modern suburban life in a prehistoric setting, then DC should create something new.


I’ve got no beef with re-treatments of the classics (laughingly so-called.) That’s one of the things that happens a lot in art and drama. We re-invent Robin Hood, for instance, every fifteen years or so. It combines the novel with the familiar.

This particular bit of re-imaging was clever. It took familiar tropes – rock puns and animal labor – and explored a little into human morality, in places the original Flintstones never would have had the courage to go.

Also, Wilma’s freckles are so damn cute!

Yes, that’s a total win.

That totally wouldn’t result in being accused of ripping off The Flintstones, and having Warner Brothers pissed off at them for not using (and thus defending) their trademark, as well as the fact that they’re not going with the whole goddamned ‘Hanna-Barbera line’ idea.

It’s about time.

It’s about space.

It’s about two men in the strangest place.

Exit, humming.

Warner Brothers wouldn’t care. They own DC Comics. Hell, they’d end up loving the new concept if it became a hit. All they’d pay is the money to the creative team on the comic, then WB would take all those characters and concepts and milk the hell out of them making millions.

The Archie reboot was last year, and they’ve been hugely successful. They never completely abandoned their old house style comics, but the new look stuff has been expanding over the last year and a half of so.

Yeah, “more realistic” Archie has been kind of a smash. Also it’s pretty good.

I think the point was, Warner Brothers owns the trademark to the Flintstones. Unlike a copyright, a trademark has to be used in order to be renewed. Nothing new has been done with the Flintstones in the past several years. If DC had created an all-new property, then WB would have to do something else with the Flintstones, or lose the trademark.

I think that’s pretty much the impetus behind this whole new Hanna-Barbera comics line.

It was certainly a consideration, but if it were the whole impetus, presumably the fourth title wouldn’t have been Scooby Doo, since that’s the only HB property not lying fallow in other media - Be Cool, Scooby Doo is currently running, and there’s been at least one DTV movie coming out every year for a while (the last time there wasn’t was 1997).

That is exactly why they would care, as I quite clearly stated in the post that you quoted.

They own the trademark, and the company that you’re proposing should do a clone of the property, but not use, and thus defend, the trademark.

Even if this had started bottom up as ‘I want to do a prehistoric sitcom’ instead of top down as ‘we’re going to do a bunch of HB titles, do you have any ideas?’, this would be called Flintstones, because the only way WB would let DC do a Flintstones riff and not call it Flintstones is if they had other plans for a Flintstones series. (And even then, if the other idea wasn’t a comic book, they’d probably insist on it.)