Readers just got a brief, back-up preview of DC's new The Jetsons comic book series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner in last week's Booster Gold/Flintstones Annual 2017, and it's definitely not going to mimic the TV show.
The characters are all there - George Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy, Jane his wife - but they live in a world where things haven't been quite as rosy as one might assume in the once popular animated series.
While the cartoon made the robotics and gadgetry of the future seem awesome, the side effects of living in a machinery-dependent world are part of the comic book. In fact, in the back-up story that introduced the idea, the brain of George's mother is digitally imprinted into Rosie the Robot so she can live on…sort of.
Palmiotti and Conner have already put their own spin on Harley Quinn, taking the character to great popularity in her own title and several spin-offs since with their unique brand of pushing the envelope.
What other surprises can readers expect from the new series? Newsarama talked to Palmiotti and Conner to find out more.
Newsarama: Jimmy and Amanda, March saw the introduction of your approach to The Jetsons, as a back-up in the Booster Gold/Flintstones issue.
Amanda Conner: We were thinking, how do we make it… you know…
Conner: Right! Palmiotti and Conner-ize it. We didn't want it to be too safe.
I grew up watching The Jetsons. I don't know if Jimmy did as much…
Jimmy Palmiotti: Of course I watched it.
Conner: I thought you were a Flintstones guy?
Palmiotti: I watched everything!
Nrama: Didn't we all!
Palmiotti: Yeah. I was a child! I watched everything. I had nothing else to do.
Conner: I watched The Jetsons more than The Flintstones.
Palmiotti: OK, I watched Flintstones more.
Conner: See? I know that about you.
But yeah, this world was what I hoped that everything would be like when I grew up. And now I don't have a flying car at all - I'm a little disappointed.
We're trying to push the envelope in a way that would be just a little bit disturbing and really fun at the same time.
Nrama: The back-up story introduced all the main characters, but gave them a new twist.
Conner: Yeah, I don't know if everybody's read it yet, so I don't know if I want to, like, spoil something. But it's out already, so it doesn't matter.
We wanted George to be hapless, and one of the most hapless things that can happen to you is to have your mother come live with you.
And we thought, well, we want to have his mom come live with him - what's the best way to do it? We did some research, and we were trying to research George's mom, and there isn't a lot about her. So we were like, Rosie should be George's mom.
George's mom's brain should be inside of Rosie the Robot.
Palmiotti: We had Pier Brito as the artist on it, and Alex Sinclair coloring it. Pier was an artist that worked with me on a book called Denver that I did. It was a Kickstarter. And he had this very futuristic look - he can really do the technology and has a unique style.
The cartoon itself had a unique style, but we obviously didn't want to go the animated looking route, and Pier kind of brought his A-game to it. And we're so happy with what he did with the back-up.
In six pages, we establish what happened to the future, and where our family is right now.
Nrama: So does this set up the series that's going to come later?
Palmiotti: Yeah, it's a nice little preview in the back-up.
Nrama: But the background you've given to The Jetsons is sort of post-apocalyptic, isn't it?
Conner: It's post-apocalyptic without being tragic post-apocalyptic.
Palmiotti: At least for now.
Nrama: The characters seem pretty much the same - save the change you made to Rosie. Did you want to keep the essence of the characters while expanding the world and the background a little?
Palmiotti: [These are the characters] you're familiar with … but because on the artistic side, we're not going fully animated with them, they're familiar but…
Nrama: An example of a change?
Palmiotti: Like, George worked for Spacely Sprockets, right? And he would turn a screw, I think, once in a while, or press a button?
Conner: Something like that, yeah.
Palmiotti: I think he just pressed a button.
Conner: He's a futuristic Homer Simpson. He sits in his office and, like, waits for something to happen.
Palmiotti: Right. This one's a little different. George is working for Spacely Sprockets, but we're going to eventually see George as a repairman.
Conner: He's the analog guy in a completely futuristic world.
Palmiotti: He's the unseen repairman, though. So any business that Spacely Sprockets has, George is sent out to work on - to fix their machinery. So we're going to start seeing what Spacely Sprockets does in the future, beyond just sitting in an office. George is going to be hands-on. And he's going to be the only hands-on worker they have besides the computer.
We look at technology today, how much technology is doing, and then the threat of our future technology is, you know, my job is going to be replaced by a robot. (Not mine, I'm just saying - factory workers and stuff like this.)
Nrama: So this is post-apocalyptic, and it's pretty far in the future?
Palmiotti: We're looking maybe hundreds of years in the future, where this stuff is established and where men can kind of fit in.
And that's what we set up, and that's what we're going to hopefully push with the series when that starts.