Ruh-roh. Yet another cinematic crisis surrounds The Fantastic Four. Despite a big promotional push by 20th Century Fox (along with some vaguely passable trailers), the latest attempt to reboot the classic superteam seems destined for yet another awful box office showing. Director Josh Trank has his own excuses for the critical panning, and wasn’t shy about making his feelings known—he took to Twitter on Thursday to exclaim disappointment with the studio:

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.”

The tweet was quickly deleted, but to the dismay of Fox, hastily-snapped screen caps provided Trank’s outburst with Internet immortality.

Put bluntly, The Fantastic Four seem destined for travesty whenever represented on the big screen. But it could be worse. In fact, it could be way worse.

The FF films, though bloodcurdlingly-bad, look like awe-inspiring masterpieces compared to various animated offerings mustered over the years. None more so than (wait for it…) Fred and Barney Meet The Thing.

Yes. Fred and Barney. As in, those Flintstones guys.

Back in the late ‘70s, The Thing was an ultra-popular badass. This prompted Hanna-Barbera to (quite inexplicably) team up the rock-faced ruffian with two of the most beloved characters in cartoon history. (Well, sort of—I’ll get to that in a minute.) The unlikely pairing came as a result of Marvel Comics owning the rights to a number of Hanna-Barbera franchises; they published comics based on several of ‘em. Including The Flintstones!

A loose adaptation of the comic book character, teenager Benjy Grimm morphed himself into a rough and ready Thing after touching two magic rings together and uttering the words, "Thing Ring, do your thing!" It’s every bit as excruciating as it sounds. Difficult to watch, even.

The “stories” typically evolved around Centerville High School, where Benjy Grimm and his pals—an attractive brunette, her cash-lavished boyfriend, plus a blond tomboy—embark on Scooby-Doo-like mysteries and misadventure. However, a pesky mob of leather-clad bullies riding malformed motorcycles enjoy nothing more than making life difficult for the gang, leaving Benjy with no choice but to unleash his secret identity (that’d be The Thing) and protect his pals. No other Fantastic Four members appeared in the show; they were probably cowering under the nearest couch at the time.

NBC broadcast the abomination, with its first episode airing on September 8, 1979. To the astonishment of nobody (with the possible exclusion of the clodpate responsible for green-lighting the show), it was a massive failure; the final episode blemished airwaves on December 1st of the very same year. A total of twenty-six 11-minute episodes were produced, each of them proving about as popular among comic book/cartoon fans as Donald Trump fronting a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

“Wait, wait, wait. So where did The Flintstones come into all of this…?”

Well, they didn’t. Despite the suggestive title, the two properties remained totally separate in each episode aside from a brief meeting during the (apocalyptic) opening sequence.

To conclude, the Fantastic Four movies suck. We all know that. I’m sure The Thing is embarrassed by his involvement. But after revisiting animated adventures based on his stone-skinned character, Ben Grimm would likely look at them with the same piqued pride as Francis Ford Coppola unleashing The Godfather upon the movie-going world…

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