Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flintstones Weekend Comics, May 1963

Comic books and comic strips have, on occasion, gone off in different directions than the animated series which gave birth to them. The Roadrunner comics had the Roadrunner talking… and in rhyme. Mickey Mouse had marvellous adventures in Floyd Gottfredson’s comic pages while the on-screen Mickey became fairly lacklustre.

And Gene Hazelton, or whoever came up with stories for the Flintstones comics, thought it’d be a great idea for Dino and Pebbles to talk. Well, they talk to themselves. The concept of thought balloons greatly increases the opportunities for observational humour but the purist in me just isn’t comfortable with it (and don’t ask me about the several lame post-Flintstones cartoon series).

So it is we get to hear Dino’s innermost thoughts beginning this month 50 years ago in the weekend colour comics (whether it happened in the daily strips by this time, I don’t know). Dino and Pebbles actually appear in all four comics in May 1963, though they don’t drive the plot in all of them. As a fan of Baby Puss, I regret to point out the cat doesn’t appear in any of them again this month.



The final panel of the May 5th comic has an imaginative, slightly-overhead layout. I like Dino peeking around the back of the house, with a question mark over his head. Dino’s pretty comical; look at him covering his head in the opener. We get a silhouette panel, and snow-capped volcanoes in the end panel.



Ouch! Bad pun in the May 12th comic. Like the mole drawing though. The exterior of the hospital is nice, too. Nice shape to the title in the opening panel; very ‘60s. Dr. Rockwell has a half cocoanut shell ashtray. I wonder if 100 years from now, people won’t be able to understand there was a time no one gave a second thought about smoking and there was virtually no anti-tobacco lobby. Say, is that hospital receptionist writing on a stone . . . with a pencil?



A great gizmo highlights the comic from May 19th. A dinosaur is overtop of a mountain in the second panel of the second row. Looks like a different artist from the week before.



Dino’s wonderfully expressive in the May 26th comic. Check out the last row. Nice expression on Fred, too. The triceratops toy shows up for a second time in the opening panel. And Wilma comes down with a case of Instant Watch Syndrome, where a cartoon character wears a watch whenever required to by the plot, before and after which it mysteriously disappears.

As usual, you can click on each comic to enlarge it for better viewing.

4 comments:

  1. It looks like Pebbles is becoming a steady fixture by now. There's quite a bit of evidence that she's still a new arrival, as in Fred's attempt to get her to settle down in her crib, and Dino's twinge of jealousy in the last panel of the fourth strip. Later on in the comic strip, of course, she becomes a commentator on the actions of the others via thought balloons. I wonder how long it is before Pops becomes part of the scene? I have to admit I like these early to mid sixties strips better than those of the seventies, because the artwork is so much more detailed and the characters are on-model for the most part. I love the contrast between panels four and five of the first strip, Fred tiptoeing with Pebbles and then frustrated at her outburst. The nurse and doctor in strip two look like many of the medical personnel that appeared in the TV show. This really looks like The Flintstones, unlike several of the strips from later years that I've seen, and we're still very much in the Stone Age milieu instead of in the everyman/everyday world that gradually evolved in the comic strip.

    These are a delight. And it's fun to see how the strip evolved over the years. Still thoroughly enjoying this month-to-month romp--and the Yogis, too! Thanks once again, Yowp!

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  2. SC, yeah, Gene Hazelton had an odd way of drawing the characters after awhile, especially the eyes. They didn't look like the TV cartoons.
    As for the blog, I've got posts to the end of July and it's only because I had time off work last November and banged off a bunch.

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  3. The May 12th strip may have been inspired by a Don Martin cartoon, "At The Dentist," in MAD Magazine #66. The dentist sees a gentleman in obvious pain and says, "Teeth bothering you, huh?" He throws the gent on the chair and after a long scream-filled struggle extracts the tooth. "What's this you say? Teeth still bothering you?! You only had one and I just pulled it!" Turns out a dog is clinging to the gent's rear.

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  4. Has anything ever illustrated the differences between Seasons 1-2 and what soon followed better than that final strip? …Poor old Dino!

    BTW, I really liked the “Thinking Pebbles” strips that came later. Her thoughts were every bit as insightful and entertaining as, oh say… Snoopy’s. At least, to my recollection. In the comic books her thoughts were sometimes conveyed, not in thought balloons, but in POV captions – for occasional stories that “saw things” from her POV.

    And Yowp is right about Hazleton’s drawings of eyes. In the late sixties and very early seventies, when I last saw the strip, he did this thing (for a look of what I can best describe as “annoyed bemusement”) where he’d draw a SINGLE LINE running through the slightly upper portion of BOTH EYES (the same line through the pair of eyes, and whatever space there might have been between them) – acting, I suppose, as eyelids.

    Anyone who’s seen it might remember what I mean. I liked that, and incorporated it into my junior-high era drawing style (even for other characters like Donald Duck and Woody Woodpecker, as well as the Flintstones), back when I had youthful dreams of working for Gold Key Comics. (Imagine that, silly me!)

    Yowp, I really hope you’re not going to “retire” in July, because I’ll miss this Blog more than Johnny Carson and LOST put together!

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