Intro to Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Mike Deodato Jr, Flintstones, and Not All Robots

This is a big one! Not only do we dive deep into the work and themes of Mark Russell, we also examine the art of Steve Pugh (Flintstones) and the storied career of Mike Deodato Jr. (Not All Robots.) This zero episode serves as an intro for both Flintstones and Not All Robots which are written by Mark Russell. The two books may seem like a strange juxtaposition, but Russell’s salient commentary on society spans from pre-human to post-human. The books are quite different, but the themes are similar.

We’ll also look at the great partnership between Russell and Steve Pugh which began on Flintstones and has continued into books like Billionaire Island. Finally, we’ll look at Mike Deodato Jr., who, if you read comics, you have likely seen before.   The particular challenges associated with Not All Robots was something that only a talented and veteran artist could make the most of.

The Flintstones Volume 01 by Mark Russell & Steve Pugh

The Storied Arcs podcast logo overlaying the cover image from Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh

“No offense, but it seems like the whole point of civilization is to get someone else to do your killing for you.”

Welcome to Bedrock and a new season of Storied Arcs! Mike and Alex travel back to the Stone Age to discuss Volume 1 (issues 1-6) of Mark Russell and Steve Pugh’s cutting satire of modern-day life, The Flintstones. What does a 60-year-old cartoon have to say about our 21st century world? Quite a bit, it turns out. Rampant consumerism, colonization, PTSD, marriage equality, voting issues, doomsday prophecies; does any of this sounds familiar? The guys try and cover it all and not lose themselves in cynicism as they look into the mirror Russell and Pugh are holding up to our own society.  And a moment between a bowling ball and a vacuum cleaner just might bring you to tears. Yabba-dabba-do.

This isn’t necessarily a comic that can be “spoiled” in a traditional way, but regardless, we’re not covering any issues beyond #6 in this episode. Be sure to grab Volume 2 from your local comic shop or public library and join us next week as we continue our deep-dive into this modern-take on the modern Stone Age family.

The Flintstones Volume 02 by Mark Russell & Steve Pugh

The Storied Arcs podcast logo overlaying the cover image from Flintstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh Volume 02

“If civilization is going to last, if it’s going to amount to anything more than must a place to watch TV and get cheap snake meat, it will only be because we’ve learned to do one thing… To care for people who mean nothing to us.”

In this episode, Mike and Alex continue their discussion of The Flintstones and focus in on the main theme of Volume 2 (issues 7-12): does humanity deserve to exist? Are we even worthy of our place in the universe? Russell and Pugh lay out plenty of strikes against us in this volume- classism and the increasing wealth gap, the religious industrial complex, the military industrial complex, gentrification, pretentious art critics, etc.- but they also offer us some hope. Things might be bad now but maybe, just maybe, we can turn things around and make a better life for all of us by just having a little faith in one another. We learned that from a bowling ball and and vacuum cleaner.

While this is the end of our time in Bedrock, we aren’t finished with the Mark Russell Extended Comic Universe (the MRECU?). Join us next week as we jump into the future with Mark Russell and Mike Deodato, Jr.’s Not All Robots. Find it wherever you get your comic books!