Taking a property as iconic as the Flintstones and bringing it into the modern era is always a challenging endeavor, yet that is exactly what writer Mark Russell and artists Steve Pugh and Chris Chuckry seek to do with The Flinstones #1. Is it good?
The Flintstones #1 (DC Comics)
What will first jump out at readers is the artwork by Steve Pugh and colorist Chris Chuckry. Pugh’s design work captures the innate silliness of the world of Bedrock. Here long-necked sauropods are cranes, Triceratops are bulldozers, and aurochs run in hamster-wheel machines to crush boulders. The restaurant of choice is Outback Snakehouse. Pugh never shies away from the goofiness of the cartoon, and while there are certainly stylistic differences, this book feels appropriate for prehistoric world Hanna-Barbera introduced audiences to in 1960.
Pugh does make some interesting choices when it comes to the character design, however. Fred Flintstone is still a barrel of a man, but now that barrel is made of chiseled marble. It’s an interesting decision that Pugh applies to all of the male characters, making half the cast appear like strongman competitors. It’s not necessarily a bad decision, but it is a little jarring upon first glance.
The colors of The Flintstones #1 are handled by Chris Chuckry. Like Pugh, Cuckry doesn’t shy away from the colors of the show, using the grays and more muted colors for the buildings, while making the clothing and animals pop off the page. Of particular fun are the outfits that Fred and Wilma wear to her art showing.
While the majority of Mark Russell’s script focuses on Fred’s attempts to show the new employees at Slate’s Quarry a good time (with added pressure from Mr. Slate, of course), Russell is able to channel some emotional depth out of the subplot of Wilma displaying her artwork. And at the same time, Russell doesn’t get mired in self-seriousness. This isn’t a grim reboot, this is The Flintstones and Russell’s script ensures that the story has the fun shenanigans that one would expect.
The tight focus on Fred and Wilma does however mean that much of the cartoon’s supporting cast is missing from the issue. Barney and Betty are relegated to minor appearances, and Dino, Pebbles and Bam-Bam are nowhere to be seen. While future issues are sure to include the supporting cast more significantly, their absence in the debut is a bit of an oddity.
The bookends to the main story in The Flintstones #1 are an interesting choice. These present a “modern-day” version of Bedrock, in which a museum staffer discusses one of their specimens. It’s a funny gag that centers around the events in the issue, and it opens up the possibility that future issues might further explore this present-day location.
Is It Good?
The Flintstones #1 is a great debut, backed by a creative team that seems to understand the property and what made it endearing to so many. Avoiding the pitfalls that plague many reboots, Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, and Chris Chuckry all use their talents to bring the Flintstone family into a modern aesthetic without going “dark” with it. For readers seeking a fun book to sink their sabre-teeth into, look no further than The Flintstones.