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EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #2 REVIEW/ANALYSIS


Mark Russell (Author) • Mike Feehan (Pencils)

Ben Caldwell (Cover Artist) • Steve Pugh (Variant Cover)

Paul Monts (Colorist) • DC Comics (Publisher)

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Synopsis - Heavy Spoilers

Snagglepuss #2 opens with Gigi Allen meeting with some of the countries leading playwrights. She tries to bring the writers onboard with her plan to infuse entertainment with nationalistic propaganda. She says that war was inevitable and "when lives are dependent on one man's decision to drop a bomb or not, you want that man's decision based on the wholesome ideal of America and not its dark underbelly."

The scene shifts to Snagglepuss in his normal element, dealing with producers and actors. Peter, Snagglepuss' lead actor, is struggling with his role and is laying in the middle of his dressing room trying to find motivation. SP tells him that he does not have time to help him at the moment but wants him to meet a friend later.

Snagglepuss leaves to volunteer at an elderly home. "The Florello La Guardia" - home of the old & friendless. In an interesting exchange, Snagglepuss speaks with an elderly gentleman with a pretty crap attitude. He inquires about SP's background to which he reveals that he's a playwright. The man says that theater is "just a bunch of boys and syphilitics getting back at the world for not accepting them." This raises Snagglepuss' eyebrows and he asks the man about his prior profession and he finds out that the old man was once a judge.

Later that evening Snagglepuss and Peter meet with Huckleberry Hound. SP asks Huck why he's suddenly back in town after being gone for a year. Huckleberry says that he and his wife have stopped seeing each other after she found out that he was having an affair with another man. She agreed to leave the police out of the situation if he left them.

What follows is one of the most awkward series of panels I've ever read in a comic. Huck attempts to pick up some random guy, gets beaten up, and called a deviant. Snagglepuss tells him that the scene was like watching a parachute fail to open to which Huckleberry responds that "to live is to suffer from one's appetites."

After leaving Huck, SP meets with a fellow playwright Lilly, who is leaving the country after she suspects that she has been blackballed. She refused to play ball with the government hearings and now no one will produce her plays or films. She notes that the rejection letters all have the same typo in the same spot. She tells Snagglepuss that the first hearing is to try to get you on board and if you refuse to comply, the second hearing is to ruin you.

In the climax of the issue, Snagglepuss meets with Gigi Allen. She tries to recruit SP for her plan to use entertainment for propaganda purposes. They go back and forth but SP denies the request stating that he cannot give up his pen because it is all that he has.

We follow-up with Peter. He has found his motivation after spending time with Snagglepuss and Huck. He gives a beautiful ad-lib performance that goes over well with SP and his producer. The issue ends as Snagglepuss receives a letter from the House Committee on Unamerican Activities.

Exit Stage Left #2 is a great issue that further establishes the world and atmosphere that Snagglepuss resides in. The inclusion of Huckleberry Hound is inspired. His pain is palpable and relatable, he seems to be punished whenever he allows himself to give in to his passions. At one point in the issue I wondered if Huck would commit suicide. His situation seems relentlessly depressing. Huckleberry Hound's plight is summed up at the end of the issue by Peter when he does the final scene of the play (quoted below). The writing is beautifully tragic but sums up the pressure that Huck and many of us in modern society deal with daily.

"The Life of a dog has to be more than this. A dog's life must be more than what can fit in his suitcase. I suppose I am a victim of my youth as we all are. But as the years have passed I have become a walking accumulation of regret. Nothing but a cheap vase for the life wasted on me. Even as life pushes me relentlessly forward, I find it impossible to live. I am trapped in a fascinated horror, like a rabbit in the jaws of a wolf. Unwilling to resist if only to feel what it is to be eaten by God. Do you see me lord?! This shattered vessel? Do you see your reflection in the shards of my brokenness."

Rating A

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