Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 – Mark Russell, Brandee Stilwell, Writers; Mike Feehan, Penciller; Mark Morales, Inker; Gustavo Vasquez, Backup Artist; Paul Mounts, Chris Sotomayor, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2, the second issue of Hanna-Barbera’s politically relevant reinvention of its famous southern cat, brings with it more showdowns, more unfortunate fates for funny animals, and a new backup.
It’s trying to do a lot with its concept, and while it doesn’t always land, it’s compelling more often than not. The issue opens with a rather broad segment featuring antagonist Gigi Allen, the staunch anti-communist obsessed with Snagglepuss, as she lays out her plan to seize control of the entertainment industry and turn it into a government puppet. She’s over the top, sure, but a lot of her rants are things the industry is still threatened by today. By contrast, Snagglepuss is riding relatively high – helping a young friend (Augie Doggie!) break into the industry and managing his temperamental theater director. But things aren’t going nearly as well for his friends.
Huckleberry Hound, another famous Hanna-Barbera character, has a lot of similarities to Snagglepuss here – they’re both closeted gay men struggling to keep their secret in a judgemental America – but while Snagglepuss knows how to play the game, Huckleberry tried to have it both ways, keeping a family and living a secret life, and it bit him back and cost him everything. Snagglepuss tries to find him new opportunities, but it’s clear that Huckleberry is a broken man. When Gigi tracks Snagglepuss down to try to force him into cooperating with her new agenda, he’s in no mood to play ball, something that will clearly bite him later in the series. There’s a sense of absurdity to the whole thing, but it works really well, in the vein of the previous Flintstones series by Russell. I wish I could say the same thing for the “Sasquatch Detective” backup, which mainly seems to be a one-joke series about old cop show tropes – with the punchline to each one being “Hey! That cop is a sasquatch!”.