Yabba Dabba Doo! This satirical look at the iconic Flinstones is a treat.
I recently read Not All Robots by Mark Russell which had some social commentary about a futuristic society, and on Goodreads, I noticed several reviewers mentioned this earlier work, which goes back in time to offer more biting wit. We drop in on the town on Bedrock 100,000 years ago and meet Fred & Wilma with their tween Pebbles, along with their best friends Barney & Betty and their son Bamm-Bamm. While these Hanna-Barbera characters are similar to the cartoon, the creative team takes them in new directions.
Each chapter/issue is self-contained telling a new story, similar in a way to episodic television. Russell ties in wry commentary on society, into what we remember about the Flintstones, with a not surprisingly liberal bent. In this narrative, Fred and Barney are veterans of the Paleolithic Wars and we get a look at how the Bedrock community came to be after soldiers destroyed the prior tree-living inhabitants, mirroring how America was colonized after killing off Native American tribes. This sad chapter also explains how Bamm-Bamm came to join Barney and Betty, as he is the last survivor of a tree-dwelling tribe after an unjustified raid. We also have chapters on materialistic society, with riffs on Flinstones vitamins and the animals that are used by the Bedrock community as appliances. These animals that serve as sight gags actually get some bittersweet dialogue about their lives as pawns. Religion and the sanctity of marriage are also addressed.
Artist Steve Pugh has created a clever universe, that honors the original, but has fun poking fun at it. The men aren’t drawn quite as crudely as their cartoon counterparts, giving them a slightly more realistic look. The women are still hotties, as many sitcoms from the Honeymooners to King of Queens, pair a buffoon with a beautiful woman. As I said earlier there are many sight gags, plus there are caricatures of famous people and situations. I’m sure the artist had fun creating many of the jokes found throughout.
For fans of satire and for those with fond memories of The Flintstones, this is an amusing book that will make you chuckle and as a bonus, think!