We wished a happy Fiftieth Anniversary to THE JETSONS (HERE), and discussed some JETSONS Gold Key Comics HERE.
We’ll wrap up by giving some props to DC Comics for their version – and note a “very special” recent animated appearance – the latter being an original addition to this series of posts, and not reproduced from my decade-old APA and fanzine writings.
As our own technology advanced to new heights, it may have become more and more challenging to create stories about The Jetsons. Here’s an example of how DC Comics rose to that challenge.
The Issue at Hand is: THE FLINTSTONES AND THE JETSONS # 15
(November, 1998) Published by DC Comics.
|Hey! No Jetsons on the COVER? What gives?|
Despite the unusually provocative title (…especially for a magazine ostensibly aimed at the “younger set”), this is simply a story about the travails George experiences in merely attempting to purchase a pair of socks online!
As many of us have become accustomed to “shopping over the Internet”, we find George Jetson doing the same in his time. There, however, it has taken on an added dimension… one of virtual reality.
And so it is that George dons a “VR” helmet, suit, and gloves, in an attempt to secure some socks by entering that limitless realm of retailing known as “The Virtual Mall”.
Intimidated by the many “shop-options” offered by the Virtual Mall’s vast Access Menu, the uneasy George presses the wrong buttons (…you’d THINK he’d be more computer literate by this time!) and finds himself in one erroneous situation after another.
George’s misdirected mall-surfing leads him to a music store (…where he is zapped into a “virtual demo” of a hard rock hologram), an art gallery (…featuring sculptures of socks), and the “Virtual Mall Chat Room”, occupied by his grumbling boss Mr. Spacely.
|Virtual Mall... You're FIRED!|
After a visit to the “Virtual Complaint Department”, George is finally digitally deposited at the V-Mall’s “Sockworld”, where he is techno-talked into buying a pair of “Voice Controlled Computerized Socks”. Once home, the “Cybersox” abruptly walk out of George’s life after he issues a series of invalid voice commands. Wiser for his experience, he resolves to leave all future “virtual shopping” to wife Jane – who’s probably STILL taking his whole wallet!
Quick digression: On the subject of Jane still taking George’s whole wallet, we flash forward from 1962 (…or, if you’re in The Jetsons’ time – flash backward) to 2007, and the FAMILY GUY episode “Meet the Quagmires”.
In one of FAMILY GUY’s trademark “cutaway” gags, we see the wallet bit play out – only with George finally deciding to do something about it!
Funny thing is, the Jetson characters are drawn and animated in their ORIGINAL style – and not in typical “Family Guy fashion”, as The Flintstones have been on several occasions.
|The Jetsons - as seen on Family Guy!|
…And, there’s an amazing “call-back” to this gag that factors into the episode later on!
“Meet the Quagmires” can be found on the DVD set FAMILY GUY Volume Six.
But, back to “Cybersox”… Though clever and entertaining, this story just might reveal the inherent difficulties involved in coming up with new ideas for The Jestons from the perspective of the early 21st Century – vs. the early 1960s, when the characters were first imagined.
Humorous exaggeration aside, is the core concept of the “Virtual Mall” so vastly different from the online shopping capabilities we possess today? An incorrectly entered “Google Search” can take you to as many unintended destinations as George’s fumbling at the VM’s Access Menu Board.
(…And you DON’T WANNA SEE half the stuff that comes up under “The Jetsons” on a Google “Images” search! Trust me on that… )
Have we, as a society, moved close enough to The Jetsons as to render them irrelevant? Or, to paraphrase POGO creator Walt Kelly: “Have we met ‘The Future’, only to find that it is US?”
…I hope not, and would like to see The Jetsons continue to push our imaginations further and further into the realm of the “someday possible”!
Happy fiftieth to THE JETSONS! And, thank you for all the futuristic fun!