Any comic book nerd needs a hookup – a trusted advisor on new and interesting books. Like a counselor, best friend, or record store employee, the a nerd’s comic book expert has to know their client and know the lay of the land. What will the nerd like, what will the nerd hate, and, perhaps most importantly, what will expand the nerd’s horizons?
The people of Titan Moon Comics have never steered me wrong, so when they told me that the new DC/Hanna-Barbera mashups were worth reading, I didn’t blink an eye. While the DC/HB mashup of Future Quest has a 1970s aesthetic that many of us will recognize from classic cartoons, Russell and Pugh’s Flintstones has a look all of its own. The Flintstones characters are more or less instantly recognizable, as is Bedrock, but the content may not be what the casual reader is expecting.
Writer Mark Russell’s Flintstones is an insightful, on the nose cultural satire tackling several of the issues you would expect to see on the news or Pajiba. Through the lens of the modern Stone Age family, Russell sends up consumerism, war and nationalism, religion, the institution of marriage, science, and the meaning of life. If it sounds like a lot to take on in a comic book, you are right. However, Russell and Pugh generally wield the comic medium well by using text and silent panels to make the case for their worldview in an entertaining yet thought-provoking way.
I gave the book 4/5 stars because the book is entertaining and also made me think. It really made me think (well done, Titan Moon Comics!). That being said, I don’t know if I would say I enjoyed it. It is closer to reading well-written nonfiction than reading Jon Stewart’s America, meaning entertainment may not be the main goal. Comics have always been and always will be socially conscious. I’m glad that is the case and I intend on using the medium to help teach my kids lessons about courage, the dangers of fear and good intentions gone wrong, etc. However, this one skewed a little too heavy for me to give five stars.