Monday, November 10, 2014

‘Stone-Gold Scooby!



Much has been written at this Blog on my comic book mini-renaissance that began in MARCH, 2014, primarily centered on two titles: BATMAN '66 and SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP, both from DC Comics. 


Indeed, I’m probably enjoying these TWO comic titles far more than when I used to bring home more than a dozen titles each New Comics Wednesday. 


As undeniably great as BATMAN ’66 has been, SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 7 – guest starring The Flintstones (released on November 05, 2014, and previewed HERE), just might be the single best comic book of 2014 – at least per my particular sensibilities. 


A hallmark of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP, and its gifted writer Sholly Fisch, is that it doesn’t sidestep or ignore character version disparities or quirks, but REVELS in them!




This book says exactly what we obsessive fans are thinking.  One of my favorite examples (…and you’ve seen it LOTS of times already) is again illustrated below. 




But now, try a few of these magnificent Flintstones gags on for size – and let’s also offer BIG PROPS to artist Scott Jeralds for his right-on renditions of all of the characters and general ambiance of Bedrock!  Click on all comic images to enlarge!

Oh, YES!  BIG PROPS to Scott Jeralds!


Say, didn't *I* do that bit in a Donald Duck comic once?  


Yep, I sure did!  


Of course, we're ALL just tributing this classic scene! 

Back to Our Story: The scientists' Stone Age time machine plucks Scoob and the gang out of the 21st Century.

"Scooby-Doo WHEN are you?"  Gotta love that! 

Velma’s observation was a laugh-out-loud line for me.  And doesn’t the scientist really look like an incidental Hanna-Barbera character? 


And, of course, Shaggy is “scared of cavemen”! 


Judging by the upper-floor view that looks down upon the Flintstone and Rubble domiciles, are the scientists housed in the huge spooky old house next to Fred’s (never seen before The Flintstones Season Five) that was once occupied by The Gruesomes?  What else could offer such a view? 


What’s a good Flintstones story without a few “modern convenience” gags?


...Or, the old standard "talking animal device" gag?  Even the best of the older Flintstones comics rarely, if ever, did those! 



And, here’s an utterly amazing reference (in Fred Flintstone's aside comment to Fred Jones), and the type of thing that has put Scholly Fisch in my personal “Writer’s Hall of Fame”!
Everyone who has read one of my Disney comic book scripts knows how much I love to gag-up a story – but, I am truly in awe of this bit!  (Click to Enlarge!) 

See!  Barney's AT IT again!   

In my previous post on the upcoming SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8 with The Jetsons, I anticipated a conversation encounter between Scooby and Astro.  Here, we get one between Scooby and DINO…and it appears to be the converse of what I predicted for Scooby and Astro.  Magnificent!




As I had hoped, The Gruesomes turn up (…where are THEY living, if the scientists are working in their huge spooky old house?), and we get a reference to THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES encounters with THE ADDAMS FAMILY!   


Finally, even the continuity of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP itself is referenced by Fred (Jones, not Flintstone) recalling the gang’s encounter with Bat-Mite in the now-legendary (at least at this Blog) SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 3, when they meet The Great Gazoo!



"MITE" he be remembering SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 3? 
That’s the absolute maximum I can show without spoiling, or otherwise compromising, the plot – so I’ll stop here.  But, I think I’ve made my point!   

Now, all I can say is “Yabba-Dabba… er, Doo!”  


If there is only one "nit to pick" it would be that, in a story that goes so far as to include both The Great Gazoo and The Gruesomes, Hoppy the Hopperoo is nowhere to be found -- not even pictured as a background character in a group shot! 



This is in keeping with his general invisibility in comic books, going back to when he had ONE appearance in the entire Gold Key run as as (all together now) "background character" in this Gold Key Comics Film adaptation.



Perhaps, by the time of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 7, he'd hopped back to "Australia-rock", or something!  ...Or, maybe some Sabre-Tooth Tiger, with incessantly-blabbing kitten in tow, though he was a giant mouse-a-saurus.  


Naaaah!  That's just plain SILLY!  

Despite that singular demerit, this might (not "Mite") very well be the best comic book appearance of The Flintstones since the Dell and Gold Key days – and better than quite a few of THOSE too.  …Yes, I’m THAT impressed!  


If you get only one issue of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP, let it be this one.  Then, you’ll wanna collect ‘em all!  

25 comments:

Comicbookrehab said...

I wonder if a team-up with "The Mike Tyson Mysteries" gang is possible...all bets are off, now, because for a time, it looked like it was just going to be DCU superhero team-ups, but NOW...my wish list includes Harvey Birdman, Dick Dastardly and The Wacky Racers, Vincent Van Ghoul & that 13th ghost they didn't catch...and a reunion with Johnny Bravo. :)

scarecrow33 said...

It seems so simple...all it takes is someone with knowledge of the characters and their history to write it, someone who knows how to draw the characters on-model, and someone who can get it into print, and VOILA! You've got a winner!

The Flintstones have been subjected to so many comics writers and artists who just didn't get it, it's refreshing to know at long last that they have been vindicated! May this artist and writer continue to thrive and prosper!

It's a little like the feeling when I got my first Marvel issue of The Flintstones...at last, here was someone doing justice to the characters! The Marvel stint was short but rich...I'm surprised it didn't last longer, except perhaps maybe the previous publishers had sort of over-saturated the market with poor quality, off-model renditions? But that first Marvel Flintstones was and is a treasure. Such, I'm sure, will prove to be the case with this latest from DC.

Thanks for sharing this one, Joe! I still have a week to wait!

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

Great review! One additional potential reference that may have slipped past you: Dino's flowery speech may have been a tribute to that weird "Snorkasaurus Hunt" episode, the one that purported to give Dino's "origin." Which, of course, was promptly forgotten for the balance of the series. If Fisch really was thinking along those lines, then that might be an even better reference than the Pebbles cereal one!

We seem to be in something of a renaissance period for all-ages, cartoon-based comics. IDW, DC, even the post-Disney Boom! have contributed their share. And now that IDW is getting the Disney comics AND the mysterious Joe Books is contributing the DARKWING... um, reimagining... things are about to get even better.

Chris

Joe Torcivia said...

Let’s take all these great comments in order…

‘Rehab

You may recall, from that “Bat-Backsliding” post I linked-back to in the first paragraph of this post, that I was told from the get-go that SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP was to feature characters from all over DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Bros. But, by the time we got to issue # 6 and the Super Friends (after three Bat-related team-ups, Teen Titans Go, and Wonder Woman) I was wondering just how true that statement actually was.

Now, comes The Flintstones in this issue and The Jetsons in the next, and I AM confident that “anything goes” – and I’d consider your entire wish list to be “on the table”, if the book runs long enough! That’s also why I keep hyping Freakazoid!

The real “slippery slope”, as we’ve noted previously in comments about SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP, would be if they were to extend the team-ups beyond “primarily human characters with animal pets or mascots” (as would include Ace the Bat-Hound, Dino, and Astro), and get into Yogi Bear, Top Cat, the Looney Tunes, and… (dare I commit this wish to bits and bytes) Pinky and The Brain!

Actually, Pinky and The Brain might not be THAT out of the question, because they DO live in a human world and perhaps it is their generic enhancements (“…Their genes HAVE been spliced”, after all – or so goes the theme song) that would allow them to communicate with our mystery-solving heroes.

And, heck, if Ranger Smith, Officer Dibble, Elmer Fudd, and Yosemite Sam can communicate and co-exist with a bunch of wise-guy funny animals, why can’t Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby!

I say, BRING ‘EM ALL ON! …Maybe, by now, Johnny Bravo has realized that “Jinkies” is NOT some kind of breakfast cereal? Naaaah!

Joe Torcivia said...

Scarecrow:

You write: “It seems so simple...all it takes is someone with knowledge of the characters and their history to write it, someone who knows how to draw the characters on-model, and someone who can get it into print, and VOILA! You've got a winner!”

Yep, you’d THINK it was soooo simple that it should happen more often but, historically, it has not! Even in relatively “recent history”. The SIMPSONS comics being a remarkable and consistent exception to this for their entire existence. That, of course, is very likely because the boss is the series creator…

Though, I feel it might occur more often today, simply because most anyone working in such comics these days is probably already a “fan” of the property they’re working on. It’s certainly true of myself, and anyone I’ve met involved with Disney comics in this modern era. So, ironically, let’s hear it for fannish-inbreeding!

But, I believe that SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP goes way beyond even the modern-norm in that regard. You can see it in every example that I post! It’s a special – I hesitate to use the word, due to its unfortunate “sugary connotations”, but “magic” – title, and you ARE going to enjoy every issue! Do let us know!

top_cat_james said...

...just might be the single best comic book of 2014 – at least per my particular sensibilities.

BARNEY:"Did you mean particular or peculiar? Ah hoo hoo hoo hoo"
FRED:(holding up his fist) How'd you like a four color lip, wise guy?"

Allow me to add a nit to pick (no, not "pick-a-nit", we'll save that for the Yogi team-up issue) to your caveman caveat, and express my minor disappointment that Mr. Jeralds did not use the time machine design from (duh) "The Time Machine" episode. That would have added another level to the "callback and self-referential gags" that appear to be sprinkled throughout the story.

On a happier note - and tying in with one of the images in your post - I am pleased to inform you that Hoppy is back in the public eye, via the latest version of the Post Pebbles cereal boxes. And as you can see, even Baby Puss is featured on the back. Can a appearance by Doozy the dodo bird be far behind? Fingers crossed.

...the huge spooky old house next to Fred’s (never seen before The Flintstones Season Five).

I seem to recall a certain spouse murdering Brit residing briefly in that particular domicile a few years before the Gruesomes arrived.

Joe Torcivia said...

Chris:

Fer gosh sakes, you might very well be onto something, concerning Dino! Given the amazing character bits and references that Fisch routinely spices his stories with, it is not beyond comprehension that he thought of the “gregarious trickster Snorkasaurus Dino” – and this was the best and closest way he could come to an actual reference to same!

In fact, I can’t imagine how he could have done it differently either, “…or, is it “EYE-ther”… Oh, oh… It’s NEITHER!”, if I may paraphrase that great first line of Dino’s from the episode teaser!

An aside: Funny, I originally read Dino’s line in the comic (the panel pictured in the post) as “Ronald Coleman-esque”, but now, after your observation, I hear it in the "Snorkasaurus Dino voice”.

And, yes, as you say: “We seem to be in something of a renaissance period for all-ages, cartoon-based comics.” You could even stretch and count the superb BATMAN ‘66 title as part of this “renaissance”, coming on the heels of what was a recent fallow period. Also, if I may offer (AHEM!) a prediction, I expect the IDW Disney comics to be superb, elevating the “renaissance period” all the more.

I’ve now come to realize and accept that such comics, and particularly rich and fertile periods for such, seem to come in cycles of boom (not the publisher) and bust – and up and down. The years prove this over and over. How often have we said, we’ll never see stuff like this again… and then we do! We’re now in one of those “good places”, so let’s enjoy it to the fullest while it lasts!

I don’t know if you regularly purchase SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP but, even if you don’t, you should get THIS ONE! And, once you do, I’ll request that you review it on your own Blog. I’d enjoy your perspective on it.

Joe Torcivia said...

TCJ:

Believe it or not (…and I think you WILL believe it, because great fannish-minds think alike), I also considered the Bedrock World’s Fair Time Machine – because I also believe that Sholly Fisch’s “great fannish-mind” thinks like “ours”. ..Or, WE think like HIS, or some-such!

But, that would mean that our “Scooby-Friends” would have to walk, or stumble, out of a great rock cabinet, and that would be less visually effective than their abrupt splash-appearance.

Also, in a way I can’t fully articulate at this hour, it would be a “less visually effective” object for Velma to comment on! I think Scott Jeralds got this one right… but, we’ll still ding him on Hoppy AND Baby Puss! …What’s he got against the other pets anyway, huh? We even got Schneider the Spider, for cryin’ out loud! I’m glad Hoppy’s back, at least cereal-box-wise.

He also could have drawn the same scientist as in the Season Five episode but, as noted in the post, I like the look of the character we DID get. (Maybe it’s the same guy, older and with a toupee!) No matter, Scott Jeralds MUST draw future Flintstones comics, if there ever are any! He’s perfect for it!

“I seem to recall a certain spouse murdering Brit residing briefly in that particular domicile a few years before the Gruesomes arrived.”

And, that is clearly a favorite episode of both yours and mine – but was Alvin Brickrock’s house really that “huge, spooky, and old”? On the OUTSIDE, that is. Inside, sure enough! I’ll have to break out the DVDs and check!

And, hey… If Barney and Betty lived on one side, and the “huge, spooky, old house” of Alvin Brickrock’s (later possibly EXPANDED in renovation for The Gruesomes) was on the other… where did Mr. Loudrock live? Maybe BEHIND Fred’s house? Maybe it was the same house as “the guy who couldn’t sleep and called the cops” in “The Swimming Pool”!

And, to bring this late-night rambling of mine full-circle, the memorable Police Paddy Wagon from “The Swimming Pool” is also seen in SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 7! …How ‘bout that!

Rusty said...

I was surprised and thrilled to see Scott Jeralds' name in the credits for this issue. He's a great artist and his long history with Hanna-Barbera comics made his illustrating this first meeting/The Flintstones' return to print just... perfect.

If I have a complaint about Scooby Team-Up, it's that I would love to see more change-ups in the art like this, with different artists being brought in to accommodate each issue's guest stars. Similar to how one of my favorite things about Batman '66 has been seeing all the different artists interpret the world of the TV show.

Joe Torcivia said...

Rusty:

I’m all for seeing more of Scott Jeralds’ H-B comic art. He really does capture it perfectly. More to the point, I’d like to see MORE GOOD H-B COMICS PERIOD, that could showcase Jeralds’ H-B comic art.

In truth, what do we have? SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU which is more than half reprints these days (which is why I don’t have it on my pull list) and SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP (which is only a bi-monthly). But, considering the number of other Warner Bros. “animated titles” from DC, TWO titles for Scooby-Doo is quite good. And, as long as the talent on SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP remains there, I’ll take that and be happy with it.

…Still would really enjoy a Flintstones title – especially by these same creators. It could alternate as a bi-monthly with SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP.

In a way, you ARE getting that artistic “change-up” you mention, with Scott Jeralds being tapped for the Flintstones and Jetsons issues of SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP. An artist that specializes in the “more cartoony H-B human character look” that still works for the Scooby characters. I like the acknowledgement that there IS a difference in style between H-B and DC characters.

After the Flintstones and Jetsons, who knows! But, I can’t wait to find out!

Dan said...

Joe:

YABBA-SCOOBY-DOO!!! What an issue! What a post!

When I had e-mailed you some preliminary thoughts, I didn't want to give away all the good stuff... but I see the canny Chris Barat had the same suspicion I had considered: Dino's original speech pattern from "The Snorkasaurus Hunter!"

This story was so satisfying to any fan of the original series, you can really hear Alan Reed as you read Fred bellow "HOOOOOLLD IT!" So much in there, it's easy to understand why the page count simply couldn't leave room for the likes of Hoppy, Mr. Slate, Arnold the Paperboy, or the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes.

Oh, may the four-color powers that be grant Mr. Fisch creative duties of full-on Flintstones mini-series or graphic novel in the near future!

As for the spooky old house next door, my guess is Alvin Brickrock left behind something "in the garden" that's forever cursed mortal tenants from living there too long. Come to think of it... prior to the Gruesomes, didn't a stone-age Samantha and Darrin Stephens move into that house for a "spell?" – Dan

Joe Torcivia said...

Dan:

I really missed the boat (…named “NAU-SEA”? – One of my absolute favorite Flintstone gags of all time, as long as we’re all diving so deep!) on that Dino thing! But, yeah…

You write: “Oh, may the four-color powers that be grant Mr. Fisch creative duties of full-on Flintstones mini-series or graphic novel in the near future!”

I completely agree, but with one important amendment: “Mini-series or graphic novel, NUTHIN’!” I want an open-ended, ongoing Flintstones series by both Fisch and Scott Jeralds!

As I said before, make it a bi-monthly (No law says ALL comics must be monthlies – almost none of the Dells and Gold Keys were!), that alternates with SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP! Being bi-monthlies, gives both titles a longer period to sell-through and, hopefully as a result, a longer life.

Good gosh, yes! The Stone Age-Stephenses! That’s why the house may have had different looks. Why Sam probably even magically altered the house to make it more “un-Gruesome”, when she and Darrin moved in.

Of course it doesn’t explain why the Flintstone house itself “magically” had TWO FLOORS – and then it didn’t – in “The Hot Piano”! Whose nose twitched THAT ONE up?

Anonymous said...

Hold it! When I read the comic book, I thought Daphne mentioned the Creepleys from the Laff-A-Lympics. They look similar.

Joe Torcivia said...

…Could be!

That’s what SO GREAT about this stuff. My past viewing experiences might make me more prone to recall the Addams Family from THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, and yours The Creepleys from LAFF-A-LYMPICS.

Given the design similarities in The Gruesomes and The Creepleys, you may very well be closer to the truth. This is SUCH a wonderful effort, because there are SO MANY different ways you can look at it – with each view formed by your own uniquely fannish perspective!

Just look at the additional perspectives I've received from this series of COMMENTS alone!

Egad! First I fail to recognize the “Original Dino” connection, and now this! Next thing you know, the “breakfast cereal” Fred F. refers to in the comic will turn out to be something like Lucky Charms or Cap’n Crunch!

Or… “Silly Rabbit-saurus, T-ROX are for Cave Kids!”

scarecrow33 said...

Just got it! Just read it! It's absolutely spot-on with both sets of characters...and I love the not-altogether-unexpected cliffhanger ending!

Every character is drawn on-model--even Wilma when she goes into her hysterics over encountering the Phantom! (Just like the takes in the original series when her hair would extend in all directions!)

The two sets of characters worked well together, although I did notice a tendency for the Scooby characters to be clustered together and the Bedrock characters to be clustered together--even when they shared a scene, one group was closer to the front than the other. The scene of Daphne meeting Creepella was masterfully drawn and scripted, and was one of the few instances of characters from each world getting equal positioning in the same panel.

Great plot device with the Phantom of the Operock. The story bears a resemblance to the very first episode, where Fred and Barney wanted to go bowling and Wilma and Betty wanted to go to the opera, so adding the Phantom to the mix gives just the right twist--and with the Mystery, Inc gang on hand to investigate, you've got a first-class justification for their presence in the world of Bedrock. The two scientists were very typically from the Flintstones world--they bear a slight resemblance to the two doctors who appeared briefly in the birth of Pebbles episode.

I know what you mean about "hearing" the voices--I could clearly hear Alan Reed as Fred and Jean Van der Pyl as Wilma, as well as Don Messick's Scooby Doo voice. For the Phantom I was "hearing" Henry Corden in his "Loudrock" voice.

Did you notice that while Fred on the inside is definitely the Seasons 5 and 6 version, the Fred on the cover is one of the Season 1 designs?

Joe Torcivia said...

I knew this would be right up your (bowling) alley, Scarecrow!

I don’t think a better melding of nicely characterized story and well-executed art could be done! Kudos, I say, to all involved!

As for “character clustering” if you were two groups of closely knit personalities – particularly groups from different temporal frames of reference – wouldn’t you tend to hang just a tad closer to your own group, while attempting / achieving interaction with the others? …I don’t even like mixing at parties in my OWN century!

It’s just another subtle, but perfectly natural, thing this story delivers! So much so, I might add, that I didn’t really notice it until you pointed it out. Yes, I’d imagine the Scooby characters would have an easier time integrating with the Batman characters (given the commonality of detection and mystery solving) than a bunch of cave folk, no matter how affable the later might be.

…Opera, bowling, AND a phantom? What better setup could exist for these characters?!

The best such comics are the ones that naturally allow you to “hear” the voices – and this was a prime example of one! Though I heard Hal Smith’s “non-Texas tycoon” voice as the Phantom.

It’s definitely the Season 5-6 Flintstones inside (though why Hoppy is excluded is beyond me), so maybe the cover was prepared in advance of the story itself. DC DOES have a tradition of that, going back to at least Julius Schwartz and the Silver Age!

I’m really glad you enjoyed this – and you’ll have great fun with the rest of the run! Hey-hey-hey!

…Oops! Yogi just slipped in for a moment! Maybe he’ll slip into SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP as well!

rodineisilveira said...

"Cartoon-based comics..."
It seems that we're reviving that glorious years of the Dell/Gold Key comics, when predomiinated the cartoon-based comic books.

Joe Torcivia said...

I certainly HOPE SO, Rodin! I certainly HOPE SO!

Those were GREAT DAYS, and we could use many more of them!

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

I saw this in the store today (when I got MLP FRIENDS FOREVER 12) and scooped it up. So, you can expect a review in the not too distant future.

Chris

Joe Torcivia said...

Looking forward to it, Chris!

rodineisilveira said...

Very cool the dialogue between the two Freds (Fred Jones and the Flintstones' patriarch)!

Pan Miluś said...

I might be wrong but from what I read in the past Great Gazoo was in fact inspired by Superman villain Mr.Mxyzpyptlk... who was also inspiration for Bat-mite (in fact in modern comics/shows it is told they both come from 5'th dimension) So at least for me the dialog in that panel is a ironic reference to that.


P.S.
I also believe that Dino's speech is a reference to his first appearance here Dino did talk and in a very eloquent way.

Joe Torcivia said...

Pan:

I disagree that The Great Gazoo was inspired by Superman villain Mr.Mxyzpyptlk – not that we don’t love Mxy, around here.

The primary reasons are:

1: Gazoo is NOT a prankster. In his own odd way, he actually tries to HELP Fred and Barney – or teach them some valuable life lesson.

2: As I’ve said elsewhere on this Blog, I feel that Gazoo was inspired by the “Uncle Martin” character of the TV series MY FAVORITE MARTIAN (1963-1966). This would almost HAVE to be true, because of the great similarities between the two characters and their respective story situations – and that Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera took an incredible number of character ideas from other television shows, including The Flintstones themselves.

The reason that joke was in the story was as a fun reference back to SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 3, where the Scooby gang actually met Bat-Mite!

But, you are correct on Dino’s speech, as others have also pointed out.

Pan Miluś said...

I see your point. Still, with Gazoo and Mxy's power being very similar (plus both being small flying fellows from different words) I can see how somebody could come to this conclusion.


Joe Torcivia said...

It could honestly go either way, Pan. Both notions have merit.

But, put yourself in the shoes of 1965 era Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera…

MY FAVORITE MARTIAN was a huge TV hit, and no one “mined huge TV hits” like Bill and Joe… The Honeymooners, Sgt. Bilko, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and so many more.

Both Mxy and Bat-Mite, at the time, only existed buried deeply within the pages of DC comic magazines (which I seriously doubt Bill and Joe read) and not in any other media, where they might otherwise have been seen by B&J.

Add it up that way, and Gazoo owes to “Uncle Martin” – even if “Uncle Martin” was five-foot-something and didn’t fly! That’s how I see it, anyway.