Thursday, August 24, 2017



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Mark Russell
ARTIST: Steve Pugh
COLORS: Chris Chuckry
LETTERS: Dave Sharpe
COVER: Steve Pugh
VARIANT COVERS: Ivan Reis with Marcelo Maiolo; Walter Simonson with Steve Buccellato; Dustin Nguyen; Dan Hipp
40pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2016)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“A Clean Slate”

The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time animated television series, produced by American animation studio, Hanna-Barbera Productions.  When it debuted on ABC September 30, 1960, it was the first American animated prime-time TV series.  A situation comedy, “The Flintstones” is an anachronistic and fantastic depiction of a working-class, Stone Age family, led by patriarch, Fred Flintstone, who has a wife, Wilma, and eventually a daughter, Pebbles.

The series juxtaposes what was then modern life (the late 1950s to mid-1960s) with a faux Stone Age setting.  Modern technology (such as cars and home appliances) have fanciful Stone Age versions, which sometimes involve animals and creatures that did not live in the Stone Age (like dinosaurs).

DC Comics has reinvented “The Flintstones” as part of its line of comic books that are reinvented and re-imagined versions of Hanna-Barber animated television series.  The Flintstones is written by Mark Russell; drawn by Steve Pugh, colored by Chris Chuckry, and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

The Flintstones #1 (“A Clean Slate”) is set 100,000 years ago in the town of Bedrock.  The story's focus is on Fred Flintstone, a brawny and muscular veteran of the “Paleolithic Wars.”  He is an employee of Slate's Quarry, where he has just been named “Employee of the Month.”  His boss, Mr. Slate, the owner of Slate's Quarry, has recently hired three male Neanderthals.  [Fred, Mr. Slate, and the people of Bedrock are Homo Sapiens.]  Mr. Slate wants Fred to train them, but each man has a different outlook on life, which may cause problems in their approach to dealing with the Neanderthals.

The inspiration for the 1960s TV series, “The Flintstones,” is the 1950s television comedy, “The Honeymooners.”  After reading The Flintstones #1, I believe the influence for the re-imagined Flintstones, at least in part, may be the 21st century television series, “Mad Men” (2007-2015), which is set during the early 1960s, when “The Flintstones” aired.  I also found a few scenes in this first issue that reminded me of similar scenes in the Oscar-winning film, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).

I think “The Flintstones” comic book focuses on a military combat veteran trying to make his way in a post-war society in which there is a business boom and a rise in consumerism.  People are less about “us” and more about “me,” and I will paraphrase a character in this first issue.  People want others to do their killing and their dirty work.  In that vein, I think The Flintstones comic book also makes allusions to the post-war lives of Vietnam veterans (such as was done in the films, The Deer Hunter and Coming Home).  You can even throw in the veterans of the 21st century “Middle East” wars and the nebulous “(Global) War on Terror.”

I am intrigued because the writer of The Flintstones comic book is Mark Russell, the writer of the deadly sharp satirical comic book, Prez (2015), from DC Comics.  “The Flintstones” animated series was a comedy, but The Flintstones comic book re-imagining is like a period workplace and domestic drama.  I am comfortable with grading this first issue, and I want more.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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