Thursday, 24 January 2013

Flintstones Weekend Comics, January 1963

It was kind of a blah month in the Sunday pages for the Bedrock gang 50 years ago this month. There are echoes of the TV cartoons in spots.

Dino’s on a leash in the January 6th comic. Notice the Dino surprise take in the final panel. The first panel has two incidental women in the foreground. The work of Harvey Eisenberg? The people at Hanna-Barbera hadn’t gotten lazy yet by putting “rock” or “stone” at the end of every name, as if that was funny in and of itself. So the store is called “Rumbles,” which I guess is a play on “Gimbles,” but it’s really a stretch. The store’s on “Rocky Road.” Sigh. Nice silhouette in the middle row. Note the smoking volcanoes in the background of the last panel on the middle row.

We get another bullet-nosed car on January 13th except the nose is brown instead of (off) white like the previous week. Grouchy Fred turns out to be Hero Fred. The middle row has the most interesting panel with the bird and turtle in the foreground and Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty in silhouette in the background, along with another smoking volcano.

The fire truck/dinosaur’s reactions are the most interesting thing in the January 20th comic. He goes from content to confused to one of those reaction lines that you’d find in the animated show. The sabre-tooth cat siren is a nice touch. And Barney does his little Barney laugh like on TV. One of the neat things is the bit of action in the top row that has nothing to do with the plot. The story could simply had Fred and Barney walking. Instead, there’s a bit of business with Barney walking into Fred and Fred bowling over Barney. It adds something. Today, some artists seem obsessed with having the same drawing in every panel.

My decidedly untrained eye thinks the January 27th comic was drawn by someone different than the others. The setting is a company event but Mr. Slate hasn’t been invented yet.

Unfortunately, Baby Puss gets the month off.

As usual, click on each of the drawing for a blown up version, courtesy of the Google archive of the Palm Beach Post.


  1. Wow - how did they not catch the error of Wilma calling Betty "Wilma" in the fourth panel of the January 6 strip?

  2. I can really "hear" the voice of Bea Benaderet as Betty in the two strips in which she appears. Betty's appearances, as well as Barney's, evidently became less frequent in the later years of the strip, from what I have been able to observe. The characters also developed a comic strip look that was different from their appearances in animation or comic books. That's part of the charm of these early strips, which capture so much of the flavor of the earliest Flintstones shows. The January 20th strip seems to be a follow-up to the Volunteer Firemen episode from Season One.