EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #1 Review/Analysis
Art by: Mike Feehan
Cover by: Ben Caldwell
Variant cover by: Evan "Doc" Shaner
Written by: Mark Russell
Hanna-Barbera was past it's prime even when I was a child growing up in the 80s. I would watch reruns of the The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Wacky races but I was never really a huge fan of any of them. The Barbara Cartoons were the ones that I would watch between the G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe and later Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
One of the Hanna Barbara characters that always stood out to me was Snagglepuss. He was a flamboyant pink cat creature. I don't remember any details regarding Snagglepuss. I certainly don't remember a backstory. I just remember he was pink. He was a mountain lion and he talked funny.
When I heard that Snagglepuss was being reimagined as a Homosexual playwright being investigated during the Mccarthy era. The premise was so strange that I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I didn't have any expectations but I was definitely interested, the story would either be amazing or a train-wreck of SJW nonsense.
We open up with Snagglepuss (SP for short) on the
red carpet. SP is with his wife Lila, doing press for the final showing of his hit play "Kennel of Thieves". The show is a success and we get s scene of SP riding in a limo with his wife. The plot subverts itself when he drops Mr's Puss off and we get the reveal that the marriage itself is an act. Snagglepuss directs his driver to drop him off at a LGBTQ friendly nightclub in the village called the Stonewall Inn, which was a real night club in New York. He goes to Stonewall to meet his real lover. A man named Pablo. While SP and Pablo enjoy each others company we see a television broadcast of the congressional hearing of playwright Lillian Hellman. She's stands in defense and is being grilled about possible communist ties.
Snagglepuss implores the barkeeper to change the station but Pablo says that Snagglepuss should watch. He tells SP that men come into power with the inherent need to flex their muscles with the populace. Pablo tells the story of Alberto, a revolutionary that stood up to that power only to be killed for it.
Snagglepuss tells Pablo that America is different but Pablo responds by telling SP that any country can become monstrous and will come for you whether you believe it or not.
Snagglepuss meet's with Lillian after her congressional hearing. He asks her if she gave up the names of the her associates during her affiliation with communism and she replies that the congressmen already have the names they are looking for and that they are shabby men who just want to make you shabby to. During this sequence we also get an unexpected cameo from Huckleberry Hound who has also been reimagined.
The scene shifts to the State Department. We learn that their plan is to bolster propaganda to undermine communists influences that may have infiltrated the entertainment industry, this sect is led by Gigi Allen, one of the few named characters not associated with a real person in this issue. She intends to win Snagglepuss over to her side and have him produce material that will promote the governments agenda. Her associates tell her that they have already reached out to Snagglepuss and it didn't go well. She then pulls out pictures of him entering the Stonewall inn. She says that there are plenty of ways to ruin a man as the issue ends.
Snagglepuss is a story set during a very real period of American history. The premise is interesting and comes from a real place. The dialogue is a bit pretentious but I'm willing to give it a pass because the characters is being setup for either a revelation or a fall. Snagglepuss being Gay isn't really a surprise but it's handled well and the relationship between he and Pablo comes off as mature and realistic in light of the setting.
The art is strange. It's not bad but some of the choices don't really make sense to me. There are humans wearing animal masks and animals walking around as if there is nothing out of the ordinary. I don't see the point unless what is being driven home thematically is that we all wear masks in come fashion. Overall I'm interested in the world that Mark Russell & Mike Feehan have created laid out in front of us