It was something we talked about before the first issue of Mark Russell and Steve Pugh‘s new take on The Flintstones was published. The rumour that this comic would run a parallel with slavery and the use of animals in the cartoon series as domestic or industrial tools.
And it seems that’s finally making itself clear. Last month’s issue given the harrowing life of a bowling ball contrasts with this very throwaway attitude.
Wilma is talking about Fred. But it ties dramatically into the appliances discussions from previous issues. Something must be done. And there’s something about the way the animals talk to each other, only using their “appliance” names – bowling ball, vacuum cleaner, coat rack that echoes the slave concept of having a “slave name”. The names seem so artificial, as much as taking a young girl from 17th century Ghana to America and calling her “Alice” might.
“Appliance, you crazy” and Dino as an “Uncle Tom” figure also underline the historical parallel.
And, yes, it may seem a ridiculous thing to run a parallel to the experience of slavery with a bunch of cartoon animals from a 50s cartoon being used as household tools. But when you get scenes like this…
From the same Steve Pugh hand that drew such harrowing scenes in Animal Man and Hellblazer, it starts to get a little less ridiculous.
The Flintstones #9 is out today from DC Comics.