So, the first issue of The Flintstones seems to be a proof on concept. Can writer Mark Russell use a grim and gritty version of “The Flintstones” socially relevant to today? Sure? Of course? Anyone could. “The Flintstones,” “The Honeymooners,” whichever. A person, their spouse, their friend, their friend’s spouse. Throw in a couple pets and a kid each and you can make just about any social commentary you want.
It’s not a high bar, which is what I think bugs me so much about The Flintstones. It’s bragging about doing a good job at something easy. Steve Pugh’s art is key, no question. It brings a level of significant quality to a rather mercenary concept. Pugh knocks it out of the park on the art. You believe in this idealized sixties version of the past, even though the frame says it’s real, which ties into the social relevancy angle. Russell has a lot of pop culture references and they’re all really, really careful.
It’s a good comic. It’s got beautiful art. But I’m not sure I like it. I’m not sure the point of The Flintstones is to like it. Beyond buying it, which is fine because Pugh’s art is glorious and Russell’s writing is fine–it’s tedious, but it’s fine. It’s worth the time and money to read it, which just seems a little light as far as ambition goes. It’s The Flintstones after all. We all want to have a yabba dabba do time.
A Clean Slate; writer, Mark Russell; artist, Steve Pugh; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Brittany Holzherr and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.