Alibi V.26 No.33 • Aug 17-23, 2017 

Comic Reviews

The Flintstones Vol. 1

The Flintstones

The Flintstones Vol. 1

Steve Pugh and Mark Russell
DC Comics
168 pages
$16.99

Fred Flintstone sits with a group of like-minded monogamists. While sex-cave loving traditionalists rage against this rising trend, Fred bares his soul to the group. He loves his wife and knows in his heart that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, but fears that marriage provides only the illusion of security, and may be little more than an attempt to prevent Wilma from finding someone better. Battered by a dead-end job for a narcissist and an ongoing struggle with PTSD, Fred Flintstone makes the jump from Saturday morning to comic shop shelves with style and no lack of commentary for modern civilization.

Mark Russell and Steve Pugh work together to make one of the most interesting and biting satires of the year, with volume one of The Flintstones. Without sporting any sort of obvious agenda, The Flintstones spoofs civilization itself in each issue. Topics range from science to God to consumerism to doomsday scares, with each story guaranteed to leave the reader with some new perspective.

The appliances are still talking animals, but their quick wit and “it’s a living” jokes have been replaced by a sense of existential dread. The bowling ball armadillo faces a truly Sisyphean lifestyle, thrown down a lane by its cruel master, swept into the darkness, then delivered again, only to be thrown once more. It pontificates on its tragic existence with its only friend: a vacuum cleaner, whom just two issues prior, the entirety of Bedrock was worshipping as a god. Not a detail of the original cartoon goes unnoticed by the creative team, who lovingly weave the classic Hanna-Barbera tropes into modern day comedic nihilism.

Even Pebbles and Bam-Bam are present, as tweenaged social stragglers, burdened with tomorrow’s Bedrock. Pebbles reads books on the merits of cannibalism while Bam-Bam mostly hits things. (Some things never change.) Pebbles’ t-shirts change with each issue, promising some new visual pun with each appearance. The “nothing left behind” ethos of this comic leaves the reader entrenched in both nostalgia and intellectual thought, as themes of legacy, mortality and morality propel readers through the book in a series of casually resolved 20 page issues.

The Flintstones is a media property long thought dead, designated only to vitamin and cereal packaging, with the occasional straight to DVD WWE crossover film. With DC’s recent acquisition of Hanna-Barbera characters, Saturday morning delights are in the news again, with inventive creators putting their own spin on the beloved cartoon absurdity of yesteryear. The Hanna-Barbera experiment has proven to be a worthwhile one, with some of the year’s best books emerging from the new line, and The Flintstones is leading the pack.