Graphic Novel Review
The Flintstones Volume 1: Modern Satire at its Finest
Remember The Flintstones? Of course, you do. It’s a classic. And like most classics, it’s been rebooted with a modern sensibility. DC released Volume 1 of Mark Russell’s graphic novel Flintstones series in 2016. Spoiler alert – it was a huge hit! And for good reason.
Rather than simply rebooting a series that has been engrained in popular culture since the 60s, Russell uses the characters and universe as a jumping off point for some serious social satire. Volume 1 collects the first six issues, ploughing through themes of:
- Slave labour and art
- Capitalism and excess
- War and colonization
- Marriage, sexuality and LGBTQ rights
Moreover, stories of war, PTSD, family, community and gender expectations are meticulously woven throughout the entire volume.
This storyline explores how greed can lead to unethical labour practices, justified by racism and classism.
Meanwhile, Wilma struggles to get people to appreciate her very personal art. It takes diving into her past, but when Fred learns more about who she is, it make him love her more.
Capitalism and Excess
This HILARIOUS storyline calls out society’s obsession with stuff…
… pushing Fred (and us all?) to the absolute breaking point.
War and Colonization
When an advanced alien race “discovers” Bedrock, the community is left fearing what might happen next…
… And war vets like Fred and Barney are confronted by the unsettling memories of a war that became the genocide of the “tree people.”
In this issue, Fred and Wilma face discrimination for being some of the early adopters of marriage and monogamy. It really highlights the absurdity of judging people for the way they choose to live their lives and express their sexuality.
Sexuality and LGBTQ Rights
The storyline even touches on the topic of LGBTQ rights, setting the stage for Fred to explain why he believes a community needs to be made up of all kinds of people, including his gay friends, Adam and Steve.
In this storyline, the shady side of politics gets explored.
Amidst the campaign chaos, Fred finds himself revisiting the pain of having participated in an unfair war that led to the wiping out of the “tree people.”
All but one, anyways. But that’s a twist I’ll let you read for yourself.
In the final issue of the volume, the Flintstones and their fellow Bedrock-ians consider what it means to be civilized – and learn just how fragile their civilization really is.
A sub-plot starring Pebbles and Bam-Bam also explores the concept of modernity and forward progress. Hilarity ensues.
Final Thoughts: Praises and Criticisms
I really enjoyed this volume. Without a doubt, I have far more praises than criticisms. It’s witty with lots of laugh out loud moments, while still asking you to think about the world around you. My minor criticisms are that it’s a little message-heavy (I dig that, but some people will find it overbearing) and it’s still pretty devoid of diversity. That might change with volume 2, which I will be reading and reviewing shortly 🙂
Any thoughts on this Flintstones update? Is it just what you needed, or tainting your childhood? Let me know in the comments!