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Comic Book / The Flintstones

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The modern Stone Age family are modern once again!

"There's edgy on purpose, and then there's edgy for a purpose."
Pan Pizza, RebelTaxi

The Flintstones is a comic adaptation of the cartoon of the same name, written in 2016 by Mark Russell with interior art by Steve Pugh and published by DC Comics as part of their Hanna-Barbera Beyond initiative. While there have been Flintstones comics in the past, this adaptation is more adult than past comics and generally does not try to mimic Hanna-Barbera's art style. It ran for 12 issues.

Like in the cartoon, the comic follows Fred Flintstone as he tries to navigate a stone age life analogous to modern day. Joining him are his patient wife Wilma, teenage daughter Pebbles, and friends & neighbors Barney, Betty, and Bam-Bam Rubble. Issues are episodic, but with plenty of world building and recurring minor characters.

Note that in this comic Fred gets Dino when Pebbles is a teenager, setting it into its own continuity and thus not acting as a sequel to the cartoon.


The Flintstones comic provides examples of:

  • 555: A newspaper ad at Issue #9 reads "Call 555-cave - cave renovations!".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Rather than just being fat, Fred, Barney and most cavemen have fairly muscular builds due to their primitive lifestyle. Russell stated he wanted Fred to resemble a former high school jock.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: With the more serious tone, several characters have undergone this. Notably, Fred and Barney still carry lingering regrets about the war and Barney had a difficult time when he learned he was infertile.
  • Adaptational Curves: A given since the entire cast are reimagined from simply and cartoony drawings to more realistic figures. It's especially noticeable with Mr. Slate who's got an especially muscular stocky build compared to his original look.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Fred was a Nice Guy in the cartoon but also an ill tempered schemer that verged on Jerk with a Heart of Gold levels even on a good day. Here he is much more altruistic, to the point of being a de facto Token Good Teammate to the citizens of Bedrock.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Fred and Wilma lose much of their marital antagonism (a cornerstone for a number of the original show's episodic plot lines) in favour of making them a united everyman front against greater societal dysfunction.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mr. Slate is changed from an occasionally mean but not particularly evil boss, to a greedy, oppressive, genocidal bastard who happily murders thousands to make a profit.
    • He does take a few levels of kindness as the comic goes on, culminating in the final issue, despite being angry at Fred for losing a bowling tournament for their team, he still gives Fred the promotion he promised as an incentive for him to win the game for them.
  • Age Lift: Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are middle-schoolers instead of babies.
  • Alien Invasion: Alien teens invade Bedrock for Spring Break.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Prior to this, the first (adult) aliens who visit Bedrock claim their galactic code prohibits them from interfering in any way.
  • Art Shift: The comic goes for a more realistic art style and the classic cartoon style is only used for visual gags like photos and Imagine Spot sketches. Dino is about halfway between the two.
  • Authority in Name Only: The people of Bedrock finally get fed up with their mayor Clod the Destroyer's Warhawk tendencies and mismanagement of funds, but they don't have a way to remove him from office. So Wilma and Clod's secretary work together to trick Clod into spending all his time in a fake office with no connection to the outside, while actually competent people run the town.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When the residents are about to homage one of their fallen heroes, Fred and Barney think their fellow veteran Joe is about to get the respect he deserves. A monkey is being homaged.
    • When Vacuum Cleaner asks if Bowling Ball would like to hear a joke and Bowling Ball says "Sure", Vacuum Cleaner says "Yeah. So would I".
  • Black Comedy: While this comics still retains some humor, some of the jokes are really dark, like the war veteran who calls a suicide prevention hotline and is put on hold.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: It leads to genocides disguised as wars of self-defense, and it will fill your home with useless crap. Hey, but maybe you'll have a television to distract you from it.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Some of these make explicit stuff that was only implied in the cartoon, while some are just... darker.
    • The iconic Buffalo Lodge hats were part of military uniform in this version, as Fred and Barney fought in the Paleolithic Wars. The Lodge is now explicitly a veterans' support group.
    • Barney and Betty cannot have their own children as in the cartoon. Here Barney explicitly suffers from low sperm count. The cartoon didn't (and couldn't/wouldn't) get this graphic, of course.
    • Fred's iconic Catchphrase "Yabba-Dabba-Doo" is a nonsense word taught in his veterans' support group to help people calm down. It is a variation of what they yelled while charging into battle against the Tree People.
    • The Great Gazoo is an alien "game warden" stationed on Earth to prevent their teens from causing havoc again.
    • Bamm-Bamm wasn't abandoned, he was born into the Tree People tribe that Fred and Barney's tribe were tricked into destroying.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Professor Sargon is very clearly based on Carl Sagan.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the original cartoon, this comic tackles issues that the cartoon would have never touched, like gay marriage and PTSD.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's school has the "Fighting Tree People" as the name of its sports team, just like how American schools used Native American imagery.
    • The issue about monogamy versus polygamy is very obviously supposed to parallel to the gay marriage debate, until the issue explicitly becomes about gay marriage.
    • The backstory about the genocide of the Tree People doesn't make any secret of it being about the War on Terror, to the point that one background character uses the term "No blood for trees", and Mr Slate using rhetoric very similar to anti-Muslim sentiments to incite Fred and Barney's tribe to join the army.
    • The sentient animals that act as appliances are basically slaves. When Dino is brought back as a pet the other animals treat him like a house slave or an "Uncle Tom".
    • The Neanderthals are hired as cheap labor.
  • Dying Alone: When Bedrock believes the world is going to end, Mr. Slate reflects that he's put so much of his life into the quarry he doesn't have any loved ones, and invites any of his employees to spend their last days being cared for at his mansion. Everyone instead goes back to their families and Slate realizes he's more scared of being forgotten when he dies than he is of dying. All he can hope for is that the quarry's sign with his name on it will survive, since nobody will want to remember him otherwise.
  • Election Day Episode: The fifth issue is about it. The issue hit newsstands the day after the US's 2016 election.
  • Flintstone Theming: But of course. The puns made here get a bit saucier, like a gay bar called "Homo Erectus" or more cerebral, like "Plato's Cave"
  • Gold Digger: Mr. Slate's girlfriend in Issue #9 "traded up" by leaving him for a richer guy.
  • Has Two Mommies: Fred was raised by his mother but two male hunters in his tribe would pitch in to help when she was busy, which is part of the reason he opposes monogamy being exclusive to men and women.
  • Heel Realization: After his girlfriend and pet hawk both leave him for a richer and more powerful man, Slate realizes his mistake in firing all his workers for cheaper replacements, and worshipping strength instead of mercy.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Almost every scene that focuses on Fred shows how much more there is to him than there is to the rest of Bedrock. He's shown as rather philosophical about the events going on around him and espouses progressive views about the various situations that crop up.
    • The priest is for the most part a comedic character often coming across as something of a Snake Oil Salesman for religion. In his first issue he tries to get everyone to worship a vacuum cleaner (an elephant) and tries to justify himself by saying it doesn't matter what form god takes so long as he brings meaning to your life. The final issue shows he sincerely believes this when speaking to Pebbles. To him humans are born incomplete and that its up to them to find meaning for themselves. For him faith can fill that void and help convince people that their existence matters.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Since the appliances don't even register as sentient to the cavemen, their names become whatever their function is. Fred's armadillo is named Bowling Ball, and his tiny elephant is named Vacuum Cleaner.
  • Insistent Terminology: "When you trick somebody into participating in a small-time fraud, it's called a 'scam'. But when the scam is so big that people have no choice but to participate, it's called 'economics'."
  • Ironic Echo: Issue #7: is a Captain's Log from Gazoo's perspective, reporting how humanity is terrible and doesn't think they will survive for long as a species because he doesn't see them changing — cue the last pages where Fred and his coworkers, against orders from Mr. Slate risk everything to rescue a fellow coworker that became trapped when part of the quarry collapsed, exactly as Gazoo's report is the grimmest.
  • Kent Brockman News: Barney gets a television starting in the second issue (which Fred mistakes for a wall demon and almost destroys). Since the news is supposed to be the first news broadcasts ever, they are refreshingly honest about their opinions.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fred's tribe used fire against the Tree People because it was the easiest way to get them out in the open.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The final page of the comic book depicts the citizens of Bedrock waving goodbye to Gazoo, who is returning to his home planet. The way they're drawn makes it seem like they're waving to the reader.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: The end of the first issue. Specifically: Slate makes a big deal about how, as the owner of the quarry and one of the men who orchestrated the founding of Bedrock, he'll be remembered for eternity. Flash forward to the present day, and the Neanderthal who died trying to impress him, "Lorenzo," is taken for the leader... in part because of the necklace Slate gave him.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Monogamy is a relatively new concept in this comic and one of its defenders says it serves to end doubts on fathers' identities.
  • Meteor of Doom: One threatens the earth in issue 6.
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: On issue 6, Dr. Sargon has trouble calculating the trajectory of the Meteor of Doom. A couple of moths breeding on his abacus led him to the wrong conclusion.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Fred and Barney try to raise some money by selling vitamin supplements that do nothing.
    • Issue 1 has a page where Fred and Wilma pose for a selfie. In the photograph, they look like their cartoon counterparts.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Fred and Barney when they realize they participated in a genocide, not a legitimate war of defense.
    • The local religious leader has this when his scheme to let people pay to absolve their sins (to fund the church and encourage people to do good) blatantly becomes people paying him to avoid their guilt. It all culminates in Slate asking him how much it'll cost for him to be absolved of wanting to leave a worker to die.
  • Never My Fault: In the first issue, a Neanderthal who would join the quarry's work force dies because Mr. Slate goads him into trying to kill a mammoth and the other two Neanderthals who were about to join decide to leave because of this. Mr. Slate blames Fred for this and punishes the latter by denying him the promotion he promised in return for Fred convincing the Neanderthals to join in the first place.
  • New Media Are Evil: Fred's first reaction on seeing a television for the first time is to try to kill it, thinking it's a wall demon.
  • The New Rock & Roll: Both monogamy and the concept of owning things is this. The newscasters make it clear that the reason these things are wrong is the fact that they weren't around when they were a kid.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bedrock's resident all-purpose outer space expert Professor Sargon is clearly modeled after Carl Sagan. There's also a director called Werner Herzrock.
  • Oh, Crap!: Professor Sargon, upon realizing his calculations regarding the end of the world were altered by a pair of moths, exclaims "Oh, fudge".
  • Only Sane Man: Fred, oddly enough. Instead of engaging in zany schemes he usually just reacts to the weirdness going around him with befuddlement.
  • Obviously Evil: The tribe's original leader Mordak the Destroyer, a massive giant of a man who wears a bull's skull over his head. He led the tribe in wiping out the Tree People. His son tries to emulate him, but hasn't actually destroyed anyone.
  • Outranking Your Job: Professor Sargon fires his old PhD lab partner in favor of two unpaid interns, reasoning that their tech-savviness is more important than his actual knowledge.
  • Pardon My Klingon: The animal appliances use the word "appliance" like the N-word.
  • Practical Currency: Rocks, since they make up bedrock and can be formed into tools.
  • The Quisling: Mr. Slate once the aliens arrive at Bedrock.
    Mr. Slate: The people of Earth are honored by your visit. And should you ever need a puppet dictator to rule on your behalf... well, I am the richest guy in town.
  • Recursive Reality: When Pebbles asks Professor Sargon what the giant turtle that carries the Earth around the Sun rests on, he says that the turtle orbits the Sun, obviously.
  • The Reveal: Bamm-Bamm is one of the few surviving Tree People, who Barney found and adopted after the last battle. That's why he's got Super Strength; all Tree People were like that.
  • The Rule of First Adopters: The first questions most people ask when faced with new technology is "Can I have sex with it or kill people with it?"
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After a careless worker gets caught in a cave-in, Mr. Slate orders the rest of his men to ignore him and move on. All of them refuse and continue with their rescue efforts.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In spite of Fred's warnings, a newbie decides to use dynamite inside the quarry. Upon seeing how short the dynamite's fuse is, the pterodactyl carrying the newbie decides his chances to escape the explosion are better off if he leaves the newbie behind.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Fred and Barney were in a war with the Tree People and are still traumatized by it. They're part of a support group for similar war veterans.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Pebbles' shirts reference musicians with modified rock-related punny names such as Nick Caveman.
    • Prof. Sargon's test subject for his rocketship and the dinosaur operating the launch quote "Space Oddity".
    • A chapter is titled "A Space Oddity".
    • At the end of the first issue when the Neanderthals that Slate has hired as cheap labor decide to go back to where they came from. One of them notes: "It seems the point of civilization is to get someone else to do your killing for you." Which sounds a lot like something Conan the Barbarian would say.
    • Members of Wilma's birth tribe left hand prints on the walls of their ancestral cave as a rite of passage. The hand prints look very similar to those found in Cueva de las Manos in Argentina.
    • In the bowling match in Issue #12, Slate gets a 7-10 split and shouts, “FRAGGLE ROCK!”, to which the announcer responds by telling him to refrain from bad language.
    • A silly, nonsensical catchphrase turns out to have painful, depressing origins. Are we talking about "Yabba Dabba Doo" or "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub?"
    • When Slate's pet hawk Brutus abandons him, he says "You too, Brutus?"
    • The "Neighborhood Association" mentions another alien species called the Green Man Group. The same panel also has what seems to be a reference to the "Crab Rave" music video.
    • The art gallery contains several shout-outs to modern artists, like Damien Hirst's jewel-encrusted skull, and David Hockney's Pool with Two Figures.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Being a satire, this book is very cynical, but also the Flintstones, as a family, are actually pretty idealistic, always trying to do the right thing in a Crapsack World.
  • Spiritual Sequel: To Prez (2015), given that it's written by the same writer.
  • Student Council President: Pebbles becomes this for being the only student to even try to run against the school bully, who intimidated everyone else into backing out so he would be the only person to vote for.
  • Take a Third Option: Some people believe the Earth is round and orbits the sun, while others believe it's flat and rests on a giant turtle. Prof. Sargon asserts that the turtle orbits the sun.
  • Visual Pun: Sargon's calculation of a meteor's trajectory had an error in it because two moths were copulating in his Applecus. His computer had a bug in it.
  • Wham Line/Wham Shot:
    • After the attack against the Tree People's invasion, Fred finds a child's doll. And asks himself, "Who brings their children to an invasion?!"
    • The meaning of "Yabba-Dabba-Doo" in this continuity.
    • After some failed starts, the local church has success with an invisible god named Gerald. Near the end of the book they have trouble finding room to write a church sign saying and decide to just abbreviate it G-d.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A variation occurs in Issue 6 where the people of Bedrock believe that the world is about to end. With no consequences many devolve into violence and fighting and the day after they must all come to terms with their actions as the world hadn't ended. Though of them it was Mr. Slate, of all people, who was able to show compassion at such a time by choosing to send everyone home in the disaster and even inviting them to his house.