Pebbles took an awful lot of the spotlight in the Flintstones newspaper comics, but the Sunday colour ones from 50 years ago this month revolve around Fred (with one exception). Frankly, that’s the way I prefer it. The cartoon series originally revolved around the grouchy, occasionally-scheming Fred barking at his wife and his best friend and I wouldn’t have minded if it had stayed that way.
Fred reading a girly magazine? That’s what it appears in the opening panel of the June 5th comic (Cave Boy instead of Playboy). He’s also maintained his subscription to Golf magazine, I see. There are jagged expression lines around the annoyed Betty in the first panel of the middle column. The final panel has not only a run-down Christmas tree, but birds nesting in it. Fred has a nice weary expression.
The idea of Dino and Pebbles “talking” in the newspaper comics isn’t something I’m taken with, but it opened more story possibilities, such as the one in the June 12th comic. And a dinosaur that shaves? (third panel, top row). The last panel is my favourite with the full moon, the dark clouds, Dino in silhouette and the volcanoes in the background.
Fred’s got great expressions in the June 19th comic. I like the composition of the opening panel, with a good use of foreground and background space to avoid making it look cluttered. This two-tone comic is from the Richard Holliss collection, as is the full-colour one above. I guess some papers wanted to save money. Bill Hanna would appreciate that.
Fred’s swearing in the opening panel of the June 26th comic is creatively lettered. Same goes for the SLAM! in the rare round panel in the middle row. The foreman not only smokes a cigar, but has a watch chain, like someone out of the 1900s.
Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.