cover image The Flintstones, Vol. 1

The Flintstones, Vol. 1

Mark Russell and Steve Pugh. DC, $16.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-4012-6837-4

In what is probably the most unexpected achievement in current comics, writer Russell (God Is Disappointed in You) manages to make the Flintstones relevant by being topical and candid. Though the characters inhabit an absurd reality that isn’t much different from the original TV series—cartoon cavepeople living with prehistoric versions of modern technology—Pugh’s (Animal Man) art presents it all matter-of-factly, just the right way to drive Russell’s topical humor home. This is the same Stone Age family as ever, but now they tackle progressive concepts such as the falseness of religion, the emptiness of consumerism, and, in one of the book’s best stories, marriage equality. Russell also isn’t afraid to go to very serious places, with one story taking on Trumpism, bullying, war, genocide, and historical amnesia. Broad satire like this can risk a level of smarminess, but this is avoided through some sweet characterizations that present Fred and Barney as lovable lunkheads whose sincerity often sets them apart from the rest of Stone Age society. (Mar.)