Review – Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes
The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 cover
A young lion making good in the big city. Image via DC Comics

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 – Mark Russell, Mike Feehan, Penciller; Mark Morales, Inker; Paul Mounts, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: Very Political

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, the third of the oddball backups from the DC/Hanna-Barbera crossovers to get its own miniseries, this may be the most unique and anticipated yet.

The short backup was more of a snapshot of this gay southern pink lion taking on McCarthy, but this miniseries has bigger ambitions – telling a story of old Hollywood, the closet, and the destruction of lives in the red scare through the filter of cartoon characters. There’s a lot of similarities with Ruff and Reddy here, in that you have humans and talking animals side by side in Hollywood, but there’s no reference to “Celimates” here, and talking animals are just a fact of life. To everyone else, Snagglepuss is a happily married and wildly successful playwright, but his wife is actually an actress he hired to play the role (a much better twist than having him cheat on her) and he’s secretly carrying on an affair with a Cuban refugee at a secret gay club.

What makes this comic stand out is the way, despite the absurdity of the situation, it takes everything surprisingly seriously. Snagglepuss is obviously inspired by Tennessee Williams, and the scenes we see of his play are hilariously overdramatic. This is all taking place as HUAC destroys the lives of his friends, forcing them to choose between their careers and their souls. The original short is in continuity, as it’s referenced that Snagglepuff was brought before HUAC before and totally humiliated them.

But the addition of a new antagonist named “Gigi Allen” brings a new focus on him. This story could have been done as an Image book starring all human characters, and it would have been very good, but that added absurdity of the lead character being a talking lion somehow makes it that much more intriguing. I would have loved to be in the room when this was first pitched, but I’m very glad someone was sold on it.

Corrina: “Every nation is a monster in the making. And monsters will come for you whether you believe in them or not.”

Yes as you can see from that quote, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles a political comic. Unlike Ruff and Reddy, which is more about the price of fame, this is about the price society exacts on those who don’t fit in and how those who are privileged–though that word is never used- don’t notice how things have gone downhill until it’s too late.

In case no one has noticed, Russell writes political comics. Add that to the political commentary inherent in some of the HB cartoons, and we have this story.

However, while Ray likes the melding of cartoon and human worlds, I was distracted by it. I guess I like my worlds either all cartoon (like the original HB shows) or all human. Mixing the two with no one raising an eyebrow strikes me as odd. For instance, there is prejudice simply for a difference in skin color or religion or national origin or in sexual orientation. Certainly, it seems like Snagglepuss being gay is more of a strike against him than being a lion. Where is the prejudice/tension between beings like Snagglepuss and regular humans?

Perhaps that will be addressed in future issues but right now, I’m having trouble reading the issue and dismissing those questions.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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